Entre-Deux-Mers is a storied place in France. A sub-region of Bordeaux, it has its own appellation as a region whence we are blessed with many fine white wines. They make many reds there, too, and good ones at that, if the 2010 Château Rougi is any indication. But due to a quirk in a quirky system, Entre-Deux-Mers's appellation only applies to its whites, and therefore its reds are "relegated" to carrying the "generic" Bordeaux appellation. So, despite all the great red nectar flowing out of a unique, brand-name spot of terroir, we see naught but "Grand Vin de Bordeaux" and "Appellation Bordeaux Contrôlée" about the (quite lovely) label, and mere administrative mention of Entre-Deux-Mers among the fine print on the back. On the other hand, if ever there were a generic designation worth having, surely there is none better than Bordeaux AOC.
In any event, about the 2010 Château Rougi. It has a very deep, garnet color, hitting the eye with the luxurious glimmer of a gemstone. The wine opens with a very strong nose of strawberry and hibiscus, and maybe a touch of rhubarb. The pungency, in fact, hits the olfactory nerves quite like a brisk whiff of evergreen sap or mint, although those actual aromas are absent. This strength of the nose, furthermore, forms a striking contrast to the palate, which is exceedingly smooth and mellow. After the nose is so blitzed, the mouth is completely unprepared for the minimalist technique with which the notes of cherry and black plum softly glide about, leaving the taste buds pleasantly, if bewilderedly, awash in fruity delight. The finish is a slight note of rhubarb.
Perhaps, though, the mellowness is taken too far. That is definitely the thing about this wine: the extent to which it completely lacks any structure. It relies on the flavor to hold itself up, a task which it performs admirably, it must be admitted. But still, a hint of framework when the wine hits the tongue is always a nice thing, and is missed here.
After breathing for twenty minutes, the wine shows some improvement. The nose is sharp as ever, perhaps even more so, with the same aromas and also a touch of cedar. The feel of the wine in the mouth picks up just a slight kick, enough to notice, but not enough for much else. The flavor notes are the same, maybe a bit of prunes where there had been plums. One starts to notice tannins now. The wine, which is delicious right from the get-go, definitely continues to come into its own, slowly but surely, as it breathes on and on.
I thought to myself, after making notes on the tasting, "With what food would I drink this?" It is not a simple question in this case. My first thought, perhaps too easy because I had just eaten some earlier in the day, is grilled lamb chop, no frills. Yes, that would work. But, I did eventually come up with two better. The first is a chicken dish served in a local Greek restaurant, a breast of meat crusted in walnuts and completely engulfed with a very rich, delicious red fruit and berry sauce. The second - and perhaps this is easy, too, but I defy anyone to disagree - is chocolate. Magnifique!