The third and final installment of Single Malt aged in used wine barrels (the first is here and the second here) takes us to Bordeaux, the mother lode of fine wine and of oak barrels too! Oak barrels are a mainstay in fine wine, not only for the flavors and nuances they impart, but of equal importance, the introduction of oxygen into the wine through the porous oak. As oxygen makes its way through the wood, wine also makes its way into the wood and leaves its presence behind.
Glenmorangie Single Malt Highlands ‘Nectar d’Or’ is a 12 year single malt which spends most of its barrel life in traditional scotch barrels and is finished in Sauternes barrels. “The nose is full of dessert wine, a little fruitiness with a good barley sweetness. The palate is quite full with more dessert wine notes, but the cereal notes and barley, a touch of malty spice and berry fruits with good oaky tannins and little herbal notes. The finish is long with a good oaked note and more noble rot.” A footnote; as off-putting as noble rot sounds, it is in fact referring to the botrytis mold that attacked the grapes in the wines of Sauternes, as described below.
Those of you not familiar with Sauternes, it is perhaps the best known dessert wine in the world, a nectar in itself, that you really should try. Just south of the city of Bordeaux, the Sauternes vineyards, as well as neighboring Barsac, are renown for botrytis (noble rot) affecting the grapes, shriveling up the bunches and reducing them to basically moldy raisins! Ahhh, but the wine! Intensely sweet and unbelievably flavored, these wines have held a captive audience for a few hundred years, collected by the likes of Thomas Jefferson, and are able to age for what seems eternity! The recipe for these wines is basically a blend of Semillon, Sauvignon Blanc (for acidity and freshness) and Muscadelle, which have been botrytis affected.
The 2010 Ch. Doisy Daene Barsac is produced by Denis Dubourdieu, winemaker and professor of Enology at the University of Bordeaux. He owns and makes Château Reynon, Château Doisy Daëne, & Clos Floridène, among others, and also consults at Château Cheval Blanc. The 2010 Ch. Doisy Daene scored a respectable 94 points in Wine Spectator! They say “A juicy, compact style, with tangerine, apricot, toasted almond and heather notes all rolled together at the core, waiting to unfurl fully through the unctuous, passion fruit-filled finish. Plenty remains in reserve, but this is hard to resist now.”
Shayne Hebert, ABC Fine Wine & Spirits wine & spirits supervisor
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