As I alluded to yesterday, summer is here, and I can go on and on about more white and rosé wines, but on the heels of the praise of Grüner Veltliner, I thought to change it up a bit. Why not? It’s probably no surprise that my thoughts are on Bordeaux, that’s just natural. The Bordelais just hosted VinExpo this past week, and though we were able to follow the festivities via social media, my inbox was unusually quiet this week. That’s all good, we all need time to catch up on things. As I was doing a little housecleaning this morning, I stumbled upon a fairly recent acquisition, the 2008 Château Gloria. I thought, “Here’s an outstanding bottle of red Bordeaux, with a little age on it, for a very fair price. Hey, people drink red wine during summer too.” Summer barbecues? But of course.
A couple of years ago, I wrote about another St. Julien chateau, and my very first experience with it. Back in those early days of exploration, I listened to a lot of people from various wine shops, and received a lot of good advice. Occasionally, I went off on my own and would try something on a hunch. One of these early hunches was Château Gloria. I liked the price and saw “St. Julien” on the label. That was enough to go on. It did not disappoint. I found it very enjoyable with a cedary, tobacco, forest floor element, with a good dose of concentrated dark fruit, all in balance. My fellow diners were equally impressed. Maybe it was the pomp of decanting the bottle, I don’t know, but my friends thought I paid double what I did for it. From that moment on, in my mind, filed under Château Gloria was this experience.
Things have only gotten better at the chateau over the past 20 years as quality has improved remarkably. The Wine Advocate’s Robert Parker remarked back in 1998 that, “Recent vintages of Gloria have pushed the level of quality even higher.” After revisiting the 2003 last summer, Parker declared, “Year in and year out, there is rarely a better wine for the money than this dark garnet Gloria.” If you think about the wild ride of Bordeaux pricing, you’ve got to love the fairness in pricing shown by the team at Château Gloria.
The 2008 Gloria is drinking very well. Still youthful, it can be enjoyed now or cellared for another 10 years easy. Probably more. You can take my word for it. Or, here’s what the folks at The Wine Advocate had to say:
First, Robert Parker: “A stunning sleeper of the vintage, this beautiful, already irresistible, plum/garnet-colored 2008 is a wine to purchase by the case. It possesses a dense plum/purple color, a glorious perfume of Christmas fruitcake, cedarwood, black currants, jammy cherries and licorice, medium to full body and a silky personality. It will provide both a hedonistic and intellectual turn-on over the next 10-15 years. 90 points”
And Neal Martin: “The Chateau Gloria 2008 has a fresh, well-defined bouquet with tobacco and graphite notes. It is very clean with well-integrated and judicious use of oak. The palate is medium-bodied with a rounded black cherry and spice-tinged entry leading to a plush, well-defined finish. This is a well-made Saint Julien that should age well over 10-15 years. 91 points”
So yeah, summer can call for lighter wines meant to be sipped chilled, but there are times when you might want a bold, elegant red too. The 2008 Château Gloria is that wine. I’m looking forward to the first barbecue of summer, because I will be packing one of these. An hour or two in the decanter, and voilà: instant decadence for a modest price. Looking for a belated Father’s Day gift? How about a couple of bottles of 2008 Gloria – one for this summer, one for a summer down the road. To all the Dads out there, we wish you a very Happy Fathers’ Day! And a very Happy Summer Solstice too! – Peter Zavialoff
Please feel free to email me with any questions or comments about Bordeaux, St. Julien in particular, or all of the transfer gossip that permeates the English media this time of year: peter@wineSF.com