Beguiled by Bourgueil 03/17/14

The phrase “fine dining” conjures certain images: fancy tablecloths, reusable plates, snooty waiters, stringent dress codes…

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Look, if you want me to wear pants, edit your damn sign.

But it should come as no surprise to you that as someone who likes to drink, I also like to eat, which occasionally motivates me to leave my abode in search of a meal that can really put the “nom” in “gastronomy.” And so it came to pass that my good friend and I found ourselves at Taco Bell, as we often do, to experience a bite or two of authentic Tex-Mex-esque cuisine. It happened to occur to us shortly thereafter that it was, in fact, probably a good idea to get our food to go, as Taco Bell is (puzzlingly) not a BYOB establishment, and alcohol is not permitted inside the premises. What’s more, it seems that many municipalities now consider wine to be a form of alcohol, which meant we were stuck.

So there we were, back at my domicile, tacos in hand, wine on the table. The anticipation, matched only by our hunger, was thicker than Fire Sauce. The wine? A Cabernet Franc – a Bourgueil to be precise – selected chiefly because of the subtle nuance for which Bourgueil wines and the Taco Bell fare are both renowned, but also because I already had it at my apartment and I really like Cabernet Franc. To be even more precise, the wine was the Domaine de la Chanteleuserie Bourgueil 2010, which I’d purchased for about $18 at my local, state-controlled liquor store – not exactly expensive, but enough to cover the evening’s food costs several times over.

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Here pictured is the new XXL Crispy Taco, with the traditional classic, the Doritos Locos Taco, presented for scale

In any case, it was time to get down to business: the business of drinking. Alas, when the cork was pulled and the wine was poured, I was not greeted by the symphony of scents I anticipated, but rather a faint whisper of something that might eventually become cherry, as well as some austere pepper notes that somehow failed to excite me the way Cabernet Franc generally does. On the palate, this wine was a tannin cannon, offering little in the way of fruit – which again came as something of a surprise. And even after breathing for two hours, the wine failed to open up significantly.

Look, I love tannins – probably more than you do. But tannins alone don’t make a wine. I don’t know if I drank this too soon, bought it from the wrong vendor or simply paired it with the wrong Taco Bell products, but in any case this was a disappointment, especially for something imported by Kermit Lynch, who prior to this day had never steered me wrong. On the plus side, the wine did still pair fairly well with my Doritos Locos Taco…but what wouldn’t? (Of course, ground beef is a logical pairing for something tannic, so even were it a typical taco, one not imbued with the ethereal essence of Dorito, chances are things would have worked out in this respect.) Still, a wine should be able to stand alone, and this one just plain didn’t.

I award the Domaine de la Chanteleuserie Bourgueil thumbs up. Although it wasn’t all that enjoyable, I do realize I must not have been drinking it under ideal conditions…and what’s more, it did add a lovely dimension to my chili the next day. So, 6.5 it is!

In any case, this makes two disappointments in a row that I’ve featured on my humble little blog. Here’s hoping for an enologically brighter tomorrow.

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