Chateau Billerond - The Saint-Emilion Cooperative has been on my sh*tlist for many decades. But I wanted something with a simple lamb roast, wanted something unpretentious and really wanted something that wasn't my own import. John at Black Sheep Wine Shop in Harpswell recommended this. I gritted my teeth when I saw the dreaded 'Union de Producteurs de Saint-Emilion' in the fine print, but John's a friend with a good palate.
Medium dark garnet color. Aromas are simple and plummy, ripe, with nothing untoward. The palate follows through. Medium bodied, this offers classic red plums, nice balancing acidity, some hints of black fruit in the background, the tiniest herbal note speaking of Cabernet Sauvignon to accompany the Merlot rather than Cabernet Franc. If there's any oak, they've done a great job hiding it. This is a fine, foursquare example of Merlot-based Bordeaux with more pleasure than pretention. It's quite drinkable now, but if (like me) you like your tannins resolved, another 2 - 5 years should see this at its best. Rated 87.5, up to 2 points of improvement likely. I am going to buy another bottle, it's affordable and it will provide equal or better pleasure on another late winter evening in Maine in a few years.
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