My review of Château Laubès focussed on the question of whether Bordeaux can produce good reds without the ‘fine wine’ price tag. One good Château does not make the answer a resounding “yes!”, so I decided to explore the question further. It’s not like it’s ever going to be a hardship…
The first thing you notice on the nose is toasty, cedar-scented oak. But that’s not so much because it’s a particularly oaky wine, it isn’t. It’s more because there just isn’t a lot of fruit.
We shouldn’t be surprised by this though. The aromas and flavours of claret* are often restrained, with the aim of being suave, sophisticated and elegant rather than bombastic. But make no mistake, there is some fruit in there. I’m happy to agree with the label: raspberries, plums and blackcurrant, but they’re teasing, playful hints of fruit, not flavours that announce themselves with a fanfare.
Although the oak’s flavour is also quite subtle, it’s done a great job of rounding off any hard edges that there might have been. There’s a nice smooth texture, ripe, benign tannins and a considered, balancing level of acidity. As you would expect from a ‘Cru Bourgeois’, it’s a good, credit-worthy imitation of a genuine fine wine.
Despite the positives, it would be easy to argue that this wine is boring. It’s not, it’s just that it’s introverted in comparison to all the modern, ‘fruit-forward’ wines out there. And it needs plenty of time and air to bring out the best in it; I’d recommend 2-3 hours decanting before serving.
At £13.49, the usual price for this wine, I’m not sure I’m in a hurry to go back, although you might if you’re a big fan of the Bordeaux style. I bought it for £9.99 while it was on offer, and at that price, I’m happy.
*A generic team for red Bordeaux wines, but not used in France