Château Carignan Premières Côtes de Bordeaux Prima 2005

Initially, my impression is of a dark, sweet, rich wine with some maturity to it. There’s a bit more dirt and a little bit of barnyard with some aeration, but overall the impression is of a good quality French wine, pretty much the sort of thing you’d be served at the France Pavilion at EPCOT: pretty bottle, hints of what is more typically French, and yet not altogether different than a California wine at first.I had to be patient with this wine: it took quite some time before it opened up enough to be enjoyable. At first, it seemed to be an awkward mix of outsize acidity with nothing more than sweet red fruit and barnyard; however, after half an hour, it displayed some lovely notes of cocoa and sweet, toasty oak. Even so, the wine seems to be overly ambitious to me: yes, there’s fruit weight, ripeness, oak, money here… and yet it just doesn’t hang together. Instead of charm, minerality, and any semblance of terroir, all I get here is, well, California style merlot with a bit more barnyard than usual. The tannins are still kinda huge at this state, the acidity doesn’t seem to mesh well with the wine, and overall it’s tough going and not especially pleasurable, especially not at this (discounted) price.There are, as they say, better options. I’ve seen Northstar merlot from Washington state discounted to the $20 level recently, and that wine is in my opinion a much more successful attempt at Pahlmeyer (or what have you) than this wine is.Château Carignan
Price: $20
Closure: Cork
Source: Retail

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