The Wine Idiot Reviews: Chateau Haut-Sorillon Bordeaux Superieur, 2015 ($7.99)

The Wine Idiot Reviews: Chateau Haut-Sorillon Bordeaux Superieur, 2015 ($7.99)

I've had some good experiences with Trader Joe's budget-friendly French wines--that Valréas, the Pontificis, and the Château Roudier, for example--so I thought I'd spin the wheel and try another.

This bottle piqued my interest because it had a little silver sticker on it that declared it to be a Los Angeles International Wine Competition 2016 Silver Medal Winner. I've literally never seen any such sticker on a bottle of wine at TJ's before, so I figured why not.

First, I wanted to do some research on this Los Angeles International Wine Competition. From their website:

Now in its 78th year, the Los Angeles International Wine Competition has showcased the finest domestic and international vintages through a wine-tasting event that is widely considered to be one of the most prestigious in the United States. An esteemed panel of judges use a blind-tasting method, maintaining the highest standards of integrity and professionalism that has remained the competition’s foundation. 

Liiiiike...ok. I could do some more research at this point to determine if these grandiose claims are in fact true. I could. I'm not gonna, because it's Sunday and I've got a batch of meatballs to make (not a euphemism). Also not gonna because I don't want the illusion to be destroyed, as I also found this on the website:

Additionally, the competition is the platform for an extensive wine education program available to the nearly 1.3 million visitors at the annual LA County Fair. The Fair’s wine education center features consumer-driven classes, tastings and displays of the award-winning wines. With the Los Angeles International Wine Competition committed to educating the public about wine, the Fair’s wine education program features industry experts with extensive knowledge about wine growing and selection, wine tasting as well as wine and food pairings. 

That's right. The LA County Fair apparently has a WINE EDUCATION CENTER. So obviously I need to go to the LA County Fair this year.

So from what I can glean, this bottle of bordeaux won a silver medal at the LA County Fair! This is bringing up all sorts of Charlotte's Web memories. Incidentally, winners have to purchase those little stickers (like the one that prompted me to buy this wine) from the competition. Brilliant strategy. I wonder who had to affix them all?

The award divisions are super difficult for an idiot like me to understand, but it sure looks like Chateau Haut-Sorillon won both the gold medal AND the silver medal in the Bordeaux Superieur (Organically Grown Grapes) category? So they're doing something right, I guess.

So how did I like it? Well, first I should tell you--I had just spent an hour in rush-hour traffic before cracking this bottle open, so I was primed to like it. I wrote "this is very easy and good to me after an hour in traffic." I think I meant the wine was being good to me? As in, treating me kindly. Which it was. This wine doesn't have any painful qualities that make me angry at wine--no mouth-puckering sourness, no metallic notes. I don't find it quite as tasty as some of the other wines I've tried, but seeing as I haven't really flipped out over ANY bordeaux yet, I imagine it's just not my favorite red variety. 

It's a bit dry-juicy, as in I can taste blackberries, but not like the tangyness of blackberries or the sweetness of blackberries. Just the flavor. So it's kind of like the SKIN of blackberries, maybe?

And the finish is super short. The flavor builds to a crescendo from sip to swallow, and you expect it to explode and sock you in the back of the mouth, but then it just ends quietly. Like a good friend who can tell when you're tired and it's time to call it a night.

In conclusion, I would say this is probably silver-medal good. Don't throw it a parade, but don't throw it out, either.

 It's actually not as light red as this picture implies. It's a garnet red, not as inky-dark as a cabernet but not pinot-noir-red as it appears above.

It's actually not as light red as this picture implies. It's a garnet red, not as inky-dark as a cabernet but not pinot-noir-red as it appears above.

What the bottle says: [in 6-point font] "The Château Haut Sorillon has been a family estate for generations and is located in the commune of Abzac, just 5km from St Emilion. This wine opens with a very potent bouquet dominated by red and dark fruit mixed with spices. In the mouth, it releases a very full and persistent flavor, ending with a fine and very complex repeat of aromas. To be drunk decanted at room temperature with red meats, large game, poultry and cheese."

What the Wine Idiot says: First of all, that label borders on erotica. Second--I have never had a label be so specific about the conditions under which I am supposed to drink their wine. I guess next time I find myself with a bottle of this, I will decant it at room temperature to pair with the "large game" I've just bagged.

ABV: 12.5%

Who's responsible for this? "Mis en Bouteille au Château, SCE Vignobles Rousseau Proprietaire a blah blah blah no one cares, Product of France"

Do I need a corkscrew? Yes.

What do smarter people say about it? Older vintages pop up a lot in the Google results, but the only thing I could find specifically referencing the 2015 vintage was user TYOUNG8202 on CellarTracker, who said: "Good value; will definitely buy this one again." However, I want to point out that Wine Enthusiast saw fit to review the 2012 vintage in 2015, for what that's worth: "While there are certainly tannins here, this wine is essentially about fruit. Stalky black currants and berries dominate this perfumed wine with its fresh acidity and crisp, clean aftertaste. Drink now." WHY IS EVERYONE BEING SO PUSHY ABOUT WHEN AND HOW I SHOULD DRINK THIS WINE?

Should I bring it to a friend's house? If they like being told what to do, sure thing. Also it's super French, so you probably can't go wrong.

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