All signs point to vin de terroir: little bits of unidentified crud on the cork, cheap glass, a label that looks like it was generated with Broderbund Print Shop circa 1992, and a Kermit Lynch importer’s sticker on the back.
Sure enough, the wine is noticeably light in color in the glass, and it doesn’t smell like a New World wine at all. There’s sort of a sweet, smoky, summer sausage smell (sorry for the alliteration, it just came out that way) here, balanced out with dusty closet and violets. In terms of feel, the wine is light in the mouth, fairly tannic, and leaves behind a noticeable whack of unresolved tannins; it’s presumably best eaten with something meaty to balance out the tannin. It’s not unpleasant, though; I remember the very first wines I ever tried as being somewhat similar.
Being a Californian, is it just possible that I’ve grown up with wines designed for American consumers? That is, wines that are designed to be as innocuous as possible? The surprise tannin onslaught is kind of enjoyable; it leaves a pleasant tobacco leaf taste behind, and it’s a nice change from the usual fruit bomb effect that leaves you with nothing but a hangover the next morning.
Over time, I came to the conclusion that this doesn’t taste like any wine I know of, and that’s a wonderful thing. I have no idea if this is typical for Bourgeuil; I’ve never had it before (only Chinon). Plus, at this price, c’mon, there are a million boring Californian wines for fifteen bucks out there – why not try something radically different for a change?
Domaine de la Chanteleuserie
Price: US $14.99
Date tasted: June 2008