Moulin de la Lagune
2009 Moulin de la Lagune
Retail price: approximately $32
Available at Suburban Wines and Spirits
How well do you know your French wines? Bordeaux loyalists can rattle off the first and second growths (think Châteaux Lafite, Latrip, Cos d’Estripnel and Gruaud Larose) as effortlessly as counting to dix-neuf, but try them on the third, fourth and fifth growths of Châteaux Palmer, Duhart-Milon and Pontet-Canet, and things get a bit shakier for most. Château la Lagune is a standout in the murky third-growth class. It is one of the most consistently age worthy, elegant and enjoyable of the classified growths and is tops in the Haut-Médoc. Moulin de la Lagune is Château la Lagune’s second vin, made from the grapes not selected for the grand vin (often from younger vines). The second vins are desirable because they represent the product of a classified estate without the premium label. It is an opportunity for customers to enjoy many of the estate’s best attributes at a not-so-grand price.
So if Château la Lagune is le roi, then Moulin de la Lagune is le dauphin—let’s nickname him Prince Charming. Sometimes it is better to spend an evening with Prince Charming, especially if we’re talking about a relatively young wine from a very good vintage such as the 2009. Here, sans doute, Prince Moulin is the royal du jour since le roi will need to repose for several more years before he accedes to the throne.
The Lagune wines are from the Haut-Médoc, which is the name of the southern section of the Médoc district of Bordeaux as well as its own appellation. It would be difficult to imagine a place anywhere that produces more fine wine per hectare than the Haut-Médoc. Its base of heavy clay topped with layer upon layer of gravel creates superior natural drainage. The dominant varieties in this region are cabernet sauvignon and merlot, which partner like fraternal twins—not identical to one and other, but highly complementary and supportive.
The 2009 Moulin de la Lagune is a classic Bordeaux, showing a powerful structure and deep flavors. Its dark ruby purple center and bright red rim possess a heady nose of black raspberries, tobacco leaf, cedar and mint. Of course with Bordeaux one must wonder how the tannins are affecting the wine. After all, it is here that our would-be Prince Charming faces his toughest challenge. Will the tannins flatter the wine or sabotage the kingdom? Thankfully, Moulin’s tannins are smooth as velvet. The wine’s 40 percent merlot seems to tame the cabernet’s more savage elements, and the overall effect is intriguing and opulent. The wine invites further inspection: “Enchanté, Prince Moulin, come sit beside me and tell me all about yourself.”
Do not keep Prince Moulin waiting long, as he is ready to drink and ought to remain charming for another seven years, at which point Le Roi de Lagune will be just waking up. Stay tuned and stay a loyal subject to the best of the third growths.
Enjoy with magret de canard au miel, steak tartare or grilled lamb chops.
Editor’s note: Food and wine lovers heading to Paris might want to try one of the Girls’ Guide’s favorite cooking classes in Paris.