I love Bordeaux. I was wooed by the pomp and circumstance of the Cru Classé system as an impressionable twenty something and, arguably, it was Bordeaux that really got me into wine. However, one thing I don’t particularly like about this most French of regions is the price.
I’ve tried buying cheap Bordeaux and it’s a dangerous game, typically becoming a disastrous study in the effects of vegetal pyrazines and under ripeness. But, not so with this Château de Pitray. It’s $29.99 on special at the moment and, yes, I’m aware this might not be cheap to everyone, but it’s certainly cheap for a good glass of Bordeaux. And it really is quite good.
The nose is exactly what you’d hope for with ripe black currants and dark bramble fruit hitting you immediately. Then it’s a visit to the cedar humidor and the dried remnants of a cigar or two thanks to some nicely integrated oak, which also has the effect of pushing the earlier discovered fruits into the realms of a freshly baked blackcurrant and blueberry pie with a dollop of cream.
On the palate the oak shows itself with a bit more determination but, again, it’s kept in check with the judicious juggling of ripe fruit and savoury flavours; black currants, a capsicum or two or possibly even a subtle hint of brett perhaps (eek)?! Regardless of what's being thrown around, it works. The tannins are big, almost too big, but are fine grained, almost silty, and lend themselves to a perceived rusticity that one seldom finds in the new world but which this corner of the old world seems to exude. It's certainly not the perfect wine... but it’s an honest wine with a lot to give and and with a lot going on.
So, if uncut gems and the imperfectly perfect are your sort of thing… or you’re just searching for that elusive $30 Bordeaux hack, give Château de Pitray a whirl… I doubt you’ll be disappointed.
Buy Château de Pitray here