Château le Crock 1996

No doubt many have remarked that French wine labels often lose something in translation. This wine, a Cru Bourgeois from Saint-Estèphe, suffers more acutely than most from this phenomenon, especially in an Australian context. What’s in the bottle, thankfully, is anything but a crock.

Classic nose of varietal fruit (perhaps a little DMS-y, but not unpleasantly so), dusty leaf and cigar box. It’s clean and rings as clear as a bell in terms of its definition. Although still quite youthful, there’s just enough complexity and hints of tertiary development to draw you in and sniff more deeply each time.

The palate confirms this wine’s substance. I’m not sure what pleases me most on entry, the textured, fresh acidity or the fact that flavour fills out immediately the wine strikes the tongue. From this point, there’s no great crescendo or exaggerated dimension of line. No, this wine is about measured elegance and quietly spoken confidence. Medium bodied, the palate shows a firm yet gentle progression of flavours through the middle palate. More blackcurrant, cigar box, and hints of spicy cedar oak. Acidity injects some sourness, to me delicious, into this flavour profile. Flavours are very well integrated and the wine tastes more of a single, multi-dimensional note than separate strands. The after palate shows some lift, which helps the flavours to come into sharp focus just before things conclude in a long, slightly sweet finish. Tannins are soft and totally integrated — one isn’t prompted to consider them as a separate element.

Very moreish, this one. The only point of contention for me is the fruit character, which is perhaps slightly simple on the nose and teeters on the edge of being “too clean.” Taken as a whole, though, there’s plenty of complexity and interest on the palate, and it’s hard to argue with such a classically structured wine. Lovely.

Château le Crock
Price: $NA
Closure: Cork
Date tasted: September 2008