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Saturday, 26 November 2011

Pioneer Range Bordeaux Rouge, 2009‏ - Avery's

From a small, family-owned right-bank estate, this Avery's Pioneer Range Bordeaux from 2009 is mainly Merlot with around a third Cabernet Franc and just a touch of the more-noble Cabernet Sauvignon.

Made by the Andouin family on a small, 13-hectare domaine in Vérac near St Emilion - apparently on a sun-drenched hillside and plateau - for some reason, it carries a only humble AOC Bordeaux tag.

The back label tells me that the Pioneer range "was launched to highlight the type of wines that initially excited John Avery MW when he started in the wine trade".

As it's still relatively young, I pour it into the decanter shortly before dinner and on the nose, there is immediately cassis, cedary pine resin and something rather cooked, like overbaked blueberries

This baked, blueberry aroma becomes more prominent with more air over dinner and I find myself increasingly wishing it were not there.

On the palate the acidity is juicy and there is good cassis and brambly fruit, with reasonable if somewhat unimpressive texture.

For me the problems come with the finish where the tannins feel dry and unbalanced; this gives the impression of an Old-World wine trying to go all New World, with 14% alcohol, and not really succeeding. I can't help feeling that this is where the problem lies - with less alcohol, the texture and tannins could all be better and the wine more balanced as a result.

I'm rather surprised to read on the back the description "balance and finesse to the finish" as this is precisely where I feel it is lacking.

Overall, this is not a bad wine and such faults as it has are, in one sense, relatively minor; you might easily try this wine and say "Ooh, that's quite nice", given that it is generally well-made.

However, for me, it is noticeably overcooked and unbalanced and that makes it one that I personally would not go back to again.

Although it is not disclosed anywhere on the wine label - or indeed anywhere obvious, if at all on the website - Avery's wines are actually supplied by Uncle Tony Laithwaite of Direct Wines (aka Laithwaites), whose wines I have rather fallen out of love with these days.

That said, this wine is also being promoted by the Good Food Would Choose Bordeaux campaign (here).

Fellow Cambridge Wine Blogger Davy Kurniawian broadly agrees with my assessment, but is perhaps a little more positive - or just forgiving - on his blog Vinoremus.

For more on why I dislike Laithwaites, see here.

£8.99 from Avery's - provided for review.


Avery's - http://www.averys.com/
Laithwaites - http://www.laithwaites.co.uk/
Good Food Would Choose Bordeaux - http://www.goodfoodwouldchoosebordeaux.com/

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