2007 Chateau Pradeaux Bandol Rouge Cuvee XRosenthal
A first for the U.S. market. Neal Rosenthal describes it best "Even a producer you’ve visited hundreds of times before can sometimes cough forth a real surprise… During our visit at Pradeaux last spring, Etienne darted away to a far corner of the cellar and returned with a pitcher of something he refused to identify. Our eyes all widened upon nosing it: what was this wild, iron-drenched beast rising from our glasses? Etienne smiled wryly as we ventured a few guesses, but mostly scratched our heads. Apparently, way back when they were assembling the great 2007 Bandol Rouge, there was one stubborn 45-hectoliter foudre that tasted fine on its own but simply wouldn’t play well with the others in any blend permutation. Not sure what to do with it, Cyrille and Etienne simply let it rest—and rest, and rest. And that’s what we were tasting: a cask of Bandol from an epic vintage that had spent over nine years in barrel, developing a depth and intensity of character rare even for Pradeaux. Anyone who appreciates the feral, visceral nature of Pradeaux will revel in the “X”—a wine that, despite spending ten years in foudre, still feels youthful and vigorous, just beginning its doubtlessly near-immortal life. The aforementioned wild nose is both eager and brooding, a maelstrom of violets, unlit cigar, dried figs, and plums, all framed by an intense iron element. Super-concentrated on the palate (as befitting the quality of the vintage), its chewy tannins are just beginning to show mercy, and one can sense a secondary savory streak beginning to shine through the thick wall of fruit and spice."