I originally intended to drink this bottle of Chateau Siran for Varietal Voyage No.15, but a funny thing happen on the way to the cellar…
Bordeaux is the source for some of the best cabernet sauvignon in the world, so this seemed the logical place to go for the last wine in this series. With the exception of a few chateaux, red Bordeaux from the “left bank” (west side of the Gironde River) is typically a blend of several grapes with cabernet sauvignon being the dominant grape in the blend. Chateau Siran just happens to be one of those exceptions, with merlot being the predominant grape (50%) and the rest being cabernet sauvignon (35%), and petite verdot (15%). Of course, I didn’t realize this until I did a little more research about the chateau. The Varietal Voyage was intended to explore the the subtle differences between many different grape varieties from all over the world. Since this wine has more merlot that cabernet sauvignon, we felt that it didn’t fit into this flight. With that said, we’ll defer the final wine in this series until next week. C’est la vie!
Chateau Siran has been in existence since the 1420′s when the feudal lord, Guilhem de Siran was given control over the surrounding lands. For the next 430 years ownership of the lands changed hands several times over. By the end of the 17th century Chateau Siran had developed a reputation for creating quality wines. In 1859, four years after the famed 1855 Classification, the Miailhe family took ownership of Chateau Siran. One hundred fifty years and five generations later the Miailhe family still owns Chateau Siran and continues to make top quality wines.
The vineyards of Chateau Siran lie in the gravely river beds of the Margaux appellation, just north of the city of Bordeaux. Sharing much of the same soil and terroir of its first growth cousin, Chateau Margaux, it’s speculated that the quality of Siran’s wines are equal to, if not better than many of chateaux listed in the 1855 Classification. The soil, composed mostly of sand and gravel, has excellent drainage forcing the vines to grow deep to find water and nutrients. The flat terrain and quality of the soil, combined with the time honored techniques of the winemakers create wines with the famed character and age worthiness found only in Bordeaux.
Sue and I are relatively new to Bordeaux wines so this was a fun learning experience. I found the ’04 Siran ($50) to be thoroughly enjoyable, but Sue was a little less impressed. One thing that Sue noticed was a faint odor of burnt rubber, a smell sometimes found in young wines due to the sulphur compounds created during in the wine making process. Good thing is that this is almost always temporary and blows off quickly. Thankfully the aromas of black raspberries and currants quickly took over, revealing themselves amongst flavors reminiscent of Chambord (minus the syrupy sweetness) with well-balanced acidity. Throughout each sip was an underlying backbone of minerals and silky tannins, a classic trait of Bordeaux wines. Notes of vanilla and cinnamon carried over into a pleasant finish.