1990 Chateau Rahoul, Graves – tasting note

Yesterday, my friend, Carlissa, and I travelled out of town to spend the day with our friend, John, at his country home.  Since the weather has finally started acting a bit more like summer, it was really good to get out into the fresh air and sunlight and soak up some much needed vitamin D.  John also happens to be an exceptional cook with a great talent for finding unusual and delicious wines to pair with the wonderful dishes he creates.  With the three of us being sommeliers, we were in gastronomic heaven and ate and drank to our hearts’ content.  We certainly consumed a great many fabulous things, but there is one particular wine that I would like to focus on right now.  It was a 1990 Chateau Rahoul from the Graves region in Bordeaux that my friend had found in his father’s cellar. 

Chateau Rahoul is a very old estate established in 1646 by Chevalier Guillaume Rahoul.  Throughout the centuries, it has passed through several different families before being purchased by Alain Thiénot in 1986.  Since then M. Thiénot has dedicated himself to producing wines of the highest quality.  The red wines are aged in barrel for 15 to 18 months, of which 20% are new.  The blend is Merlot dominant with Cabernet Sauvignon and small amounts of Petit Verdot and Cabernet Franc.  The estate also produces a white wine.

1990 was an excellent vintage for Bordeaux.  In fact, it’s regarded as the best vintage since 1961.  The weather in July and August was dry and hot and the rain that fell at the end of August was much needed and very welcomed.  September was cool but dry creating perfect harvesting conditions.

1990 Chateau Rahoul

1990 Chateau Rahoul

The wine I tasted yesterday was a very deep garnet colour with a bright ruby hue and a good deal of sediment left in the bottle after decanting.  It had enticing aromas of leather, cedar box, dried dark fruit, and pencil shavings.  The dark fruit and earthy flavours were supported by well-integrated oak and a balanced structure which ended with a long silky finish.  It was a very interesting and enjoyable wine, and although, yesterday,this wine was not paired with food, it would be an excellent match with grilled lamb chops, or a veal shank and mushroom stew.

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