So today is April 15, a day of infamy. In the United States it's tax day, the final deadline for everyone to file their income taxes and pay Uncle Sam for the great services he provides the nation...for people like me, with a more nuanced appreciation of history, this is a day known for one of the greatest sea tragedies in all of history, the sinking of the great White Star liner R.M.S. Titanic in the early hours of the morning of April 15, 1912 in the north Atlantic. It's been 101 years since that fateful night, and it's become my custom to open a nice bottle of wine in honor of the 1,514 people who lost their lives in the tragedy, as well as the 710 who survived, including the grandmother of a family friend who was just a baby when she was placed on a lifeboat in the freezing weather.
So, in honor of the Titanic, I am opening a bottle of 2005 Chateau Greysac Medoc, which reflects what would have been a rather common wine on board the ship, being a young claret, and this wine being primarily a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. Surprisingly very little is known about what exact wines the Titanic carried or served, but based on other White Star liners, there would likely have been a few younger "clarets" and more white and sparkling wines on board, as there was some concern that the vibrations from the ship's massive engines would act to dislodge the sediments common on older Bordeaux wines, rendering them unpalatable, if not undrinkable. So my selection tonight would have been considered a younger claret at the time (after all, in 1912, the main vintage of Champagne on the ship was 1907, so an 8-year-old red wine would be quite young). And to make it more of an honor, tonight I am drinking from a White Star Line reproduction wine glass that I bought at the Titanic exhibit which is visiting Grand Rapids until this summer.
The wine itself is a deep ruby in the glass, and the nose is just pure Bordeaux, with the classic "Bordeaux funk" as some people have called it, a somewhat musty, combination of black fruit, leather, anise and dried spices that combine create a very memorable aroma of funk! Though I'll admit, after a bit of air, or some decanting, the funk dissipates and you're left with great aromas of ripe black fruit, leather and anise. The taste is quite complex, with a rush or ripe fruit, particularly cherries at the front, then we transition to just the slightest bit of cedar and mint midpalate, which goes quite quickly. The finish is supported by some well structured tannins, as well as some notes of gravel and earth in the long, exceptionally dry finish.
Overall I would rate this wine a solid 8, as it's a nice example of the style and drinking quite nicely right now, and I bought this one a few years ago for only $14, making it a solid value Bordeaux. Tonight I am pairing this with some grilled flank steak tacos with black beans, but it would go very well with a broad spectrum of grilled, marinated meats, or some nice roast lamb or braised short ribs. So there you have it, my toast to honor a horrible date in history!