Château Vieux Manoir 2016: a supermarket sipper

Bordeaux is a place that I’ve never been to. To be honest, the impression I get of it is… stuffy. This is a completely uneducated impression as the only thing I am basing this on is the wine bottles I have seen. They always seem so old-fashioned and ‘serious’. In actual fact, I hear that Bordeaux is a beautiful place, lots of fun and Bordeaux city in particular is bustling with life and regarded as one of the best places in the world to live. So I clearly have no idea what I’m talking about.

Now, just because I’ve never been to Bordeaux doesn’t mean that I’ve never tried Bordeaux wine. I’ve had a lot of that. My favourite was a 2013 Pomerol from Cheateau Bel-Air, which I enjoyed on Christmas day with my brother and best friend. I used to drink a lot of Cotes-de-Bourg for €4 from Carrefour during my stint in Lille and to be honest if someone offered me a glass of Sainte Emillion Grand Cru then I wouldn’t exactly say “No, it’s too stuffy for me”. We used to sell a tremendous one at Merchant’s Tavern but for the life of me I can’t remember which winery it was from. Basically, my point is i’m no stranger to Bordeaux wine.

As 2018 draws to a close, I decided to convert my attic into an office so I can hit the ground running in 2019 developing the business side of ‘Wined Up’, so I bought a desk and an office chair, set the laptop up on the desk along with my iPad, took a step back to marvel at the new Wined Up global HQ, but something looked wrong. I hung a couple of paintings up but something still looked wrong, so I took and old bedside table, filled it with gin and vermouth, grabbed my spare wine rack, went to co-op, bought half a dozen bottles and filled the room with booze. Ah, everything looked right.

I consciously went to a supermarket as I remembered my vow/promise in a previous article. I wanted to start reviewing more affordable/accessible wines so I thought that a new office and a new wine rack full of supermarket wine would give me the inspiration I needed.

One of the bottles I bought was a 2016, Chateau Manoir from the Gironde area of Bordeaux. I got this bottle for £7. The label was a typical Bordeaux one; a big old house with a beautiful garden. It didn’t really excite me if I’m honest, but I try not to judge a book by its cover. I opened the bottle, poured myself a glass and gave it a good sniff. The first thing that hit me was the overwhelming smell of Cabernet Franc. There are two grapes that I can always pick out from aroma, the first one is Gamay and the second is Cab Franc but ironically they are both grapes that I’m not a huge fan of.

So, I was hit with the smell of Cab Franc, and according to the wine maker’s notes on Vivino there was a generic smell of cherry. I guess I could smell that too (thanks Vivino). I took a sip and it was pleasant. The wine itself was easy enough to drink but the finish was very very tannic. I looked up the grapes and apparently this wine had a bit of Malbec, which made sense. It was slightly smokey and you could definitely define this wine as being full bodied. It wasn’t mature in the sense that it wasn’t very well balanced. There wasn’t much acidity to it and the finish was really a bit too dry.

All this being said, I did enjoy this bottle. For £7 I am pleased with it. It’s got some potential, to mature but to be honest I’d just stick to having it on a Wednesday night, whilst watching ‘I’m a celebrity, get me out of here’ (which I’ve just started watching… I know. I’m ashamed of myself). It’s a wine that could mature but has its limitations. It’s a pleasant ‘drink me now’ kind of wine. It’s the kind of wine that someone would say “Oh this isn’t bad” and the person who bought it would reply, “Yeah, not bad for seven quid is it!”

Well there you have it, my first review of a supermarket wine since February 2017. I think as time has gone on, we have definitely matured in our thought process and this blog definitely has evolved into something more than just a couple of friends trying to made wine appealing for the everyday person. Truth be told, it wasn’t until I have had a bit of normality in my life that I really have actually begun to appreciate just how expensive being a wine enthusiast can be, however it is this normality, this ‘everydayness’ that has helped me afford three wine racks, a decent collection and new office furniture, so to be honest, I fully appreciate the fact that his Bordeaux was £7 and perfectly drinkable, as in the past I’ve drunk wine that has been valued at a lot more than £7, hated it but been too much of a pretentious twat to say anything else than “Oh my god, that’s amazing”.

And with that, I’m out.

– J A M E S

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