Bordeaux in the Summer: 2009 Chateau Massereau Cuvee K is way too good to be ignored

6/21/21 -

Mark my words, I will be drinking tons of Bordeaux this summer. Week after week, I’m being introduced to amazing bottles from all over the region. Even during the recent days of high-80 temps in New York City, the good ones are just as enjoyable as they’d be if it were 30 degrees cooler outside. Don’t miss delicious bottles because you think you aren’t “supposed” to be enjoying them in June, July, and August. Here are three wines from Château Massereau to help you squash that outrageous, in-the-box, concept. I’m not suggesting you pack them with your sunscreen and towel before heading to Brighton Beach for the afternoon. No, they’re for a comfortable evening dinner on the patio, or a chance to relax with your partner in a breezy living room, or a really nice picnic with friends that you’ve stretched past sunset. 
Speaking of sunset... the estate eclipsing the sun (producer's Instagram)

Ok, I lied - sorry! This one you definitely should bring to the beach. The 2020 Massereau Clairet Rouge is ready for immediate drinking, and should be served with a chill. That said, there is a core, aromatically and on the palate, of slightly concentrated red berries, an essential stuffing that gives it a lovely weight. This fruit combines beautifully with fresh, grassy aromas on the nose. It also anchors the bold dash of minerally graphite on the tongue. A long finish of firm black plum rides the wine’s moderate acidity and slim tannic structure. Camille Riviere, who imports Château Massereau into New York City, gushed over a previous vintage of the Clairet Rouge that she drank after it racked up a few years of bottle age… and having experienced this 2020 bottling, I’d anticipate it following that same path. I’ll be putting a few away, for summers to come.

Want a little more chew? The sans soufre bottling of Massereau’s 2019 Cuvée X Bordeaux Supérieur is here to fulfill your toothsome dreams. While we notch up the tannin (just a bit, don’t worry) and dark plummy fruit, the wine retains a fantastic stoniness similar to that of the lighter 2020 Clairet Rouge. The wine’s bouquet is youthful, strong with aromas of ripe blackberries, cherry leaves and red flowers. The nose has a delightful, mellow sweetness that is a treat to meditate on. I always appreciate a wine that has the ability to slow me down. Generous flavors of black cherry and earthy gravel are on the palate, eventually leading to a finish of spicy black pepper. In my opinion, the Cuvée X should show healthy development, if stored well (remember, zero added SO2), over the next decade. Or open today at cellar temp with grilled lamb and mint pesto… 

If you thought those last two wines were intriguing, this final bottle will floor you. Chambers’ Burgundy buyer, Sam, took one whiff of the Cuvée K Bordeaux Supérieur 2009 from my glass and suggested that I write an offer focused on it alone. If the wines above hadn’t turned out to be so tasty (Sam never got the chance to taste them), that’s definitely what I would have done. The Cuvée K 2009 from Massereau is balanced in a fantastic state of maturity. Dark stone fruits, pitted cherries, and dried blueberries form the wine’s aromatic base, while lighter accents of orange peel and clove add a lifted dimension. The palate is rich, with plum, blackberry, black currants, with a smoky hint of loamy minerality. The wine shows great tannic strength, with a beam of mouthwatering acidity. The finish is long, with a tender sweetness of fresh red berries on the tongue that wraps up each sip. This is a must-buy for Bordeaux drinkers looking for exceptional quality at a great price! Pop a bottle this weekend, you’ll see what I mean.

Massereau vine's in the village of Barsac, 40 miles south of the city of Bordeaux (producer's Instagram)

Château Massereau is located in Barsac, a village about an hour south of Bordeaux by car, and has been run by the Chaigneau family since 1999. Ann Marie, the matriarch, does the administrative work for the estate, while her sons, Phillippe and Jean Francois, split the day-to-day running of the property. It is Jean Francois who is in charge of the winemaking. Barsac is well-known for sweet wines, of which the Chaigneau’s produce a couple delicious examples. The 11 hectares belonging to the family are farmed organically, though not certified. In the cellar, the wines see zero additives, besides some bottlings receiving small doses of sulfur. Native yeasts are used for all fermentations. The family marches to the beat of their own drum, and you can taste the results in their incredible products.

Instead of blocking Bordeaux out of your mind, start to think of ways to incorporate the region into your summer dining routine. Wines like the Clairet Rouge are undeniably perfect for this season, while the Cuvée X is ready to jump in when the daytime heat subsides and you’re craving something with more texture and darker fruit. And the Cuvée K… that wine is simply a knock-out. It will impress whenever it is served.

-David Hatzopoulos

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