Finding Bordeaux; My favorite wine, April 7, 2021

2016 Chateau La Rame

Cadillac Bordeaux Rouge

“La Charmille”

Regular $32.99 French Paradox $24.99

At first glance, Bordeaux seems like a simple region to understand: the varietals are pre-determined (Merlot, the Cabernets, Petit Verdot, Malbec); the communes and soil types therein are well-understood (Merlot likes clay, Cabernet Sauvignon favors gravel); and the producers of merit have been ordained by the classified growth system. Selecting and recommending wines of this vast zone, however, is yet fraught with peril. The region’s nearly 300,000 acres of vines make generalizations regarding vintage and terroir difficult and often the reputations of producers and appellations are reliant on the success or failure of wines from the distant past. In addition, only a small fraction of the region’s wines are reviewed, with respective assessments taking place at a very early stage in their development. This marketing process leaves many producers, and in some cases entire vintages, left largely ignored.

However, with a bit of a search, many small growers may be found operating outside of the traditional Bordeaux paradigm. These producers fashion some truly unique wines which offer consistent quality, value and most importantly, the elegance and generosity which made Bordeaux originally famous.  

Chateau La Rame’s 2016 “La Charmille” is sourced from vineyards in the Cadillac appellation, a small area nearby the much more famous Graves. The soils here are sand, limestone, and clay, planted to 65% Merlot and 35% Cabernet Sauvignon. The grapes are vinified in large wood vats before ageing for 18 months in small French oak barrels, of which 33% are new. The resulting wine is fresh and well balanced with measured polish. The nose opens with aromas of cedar and cigar box before leading to a silky palate with dark cherry and plum inflected fruit characters. The finish is long and fine with lingering red fruit and spice notes. The Charmille possesses a buttoned-up charm, suave texture and complex personality, those classic Bordeaux hallmarks which make this find well worth the hunt.

We have just over three cases in stock, please let me know of your interest ( 

Thank you as always,

Ian Stalfort

French Paradox Wines

410-413-1630 (shop) | 443-691-3938 (cell) 

2016 Chateau La Rame La Charmille