I had forgotten about a bottle of the 2000 Chasse-Spleen Bordeaux I had squirreled away at my Mom’s house in Reno. (Thanks, Mom!) It was my most successful find from a day of scavenging liquor stores in Reno for overlooked gems. Probably the first thing you’re thinking is, “Why is there spleen in my wine?” Well the story of the name either involves Lord Byron or Baudelaire and a spleen well-pleased by the wine. How cool is that?
2000 was one of those vintages in Bordeaux that got a ton of press. (I would consul you not to sleep on the 1999s, which have been a joy to drink and much more affordable.) So I had pretty high hopes for the Chasse-Spleen, and was not disappointed. A decade plus after the vintage, it had evolved into a very contemplative wine. Not flashy with oak or super-charged fruit, it was a mellow gem. The beautiful thing about hitting a wine right at its sweet spot age-wise is that a lot of savory secondary characteristics (think less fruit and more vegetable in a very good way) have developed but you still get the thrill of some youthful vigor and enthusiasm. This is why you age wines! Bordeaux (and aged Bordeaux) is one of those wines where every time I drink one I think, “Why am I not drinking more of this?” It’s not the most fashionable of wines these days, but I am a firm believer that the classics never go out of style.
A note on the grapes in the wine: Bordeaux is divided by the Gironde River and you’ll hear a lot of talk of wines coming from the Right Bank or Left Bank. Right Bank wines are Merlot-dominated; Left Bank wines are Cabernet-based. The Chasse-Spleen is from the Left Bank.
Top image courtesy scanlime.