Wednesday, March 17, 2021

Château Clinet Ronan 2016

Château Clinet Ronan Bordeaux (Merlot) 2016 for affordable every day sipper - a tasting primer

I opened this for everyday sipping with some baked ham and Linda's baked brie. 

I wrote about this label several weeks ago in this blog, "I was intrigued when I saw this label in the local Binny's, Chicagoland's wine and beverage super store. We are big fan's of Château Clinet and have gotten to know Owner/Producer Ronan Laborde from the many UGCB annual release tour tastings in Chicago. Last year, he took over as President of the UGCB." 

Fellow Wine Buddy and Pour Boy Ernie S visited the Chateau during his tour of the Right Bank several years ago.

Château Clinet is one of our favorite Right Bank Bordeaux selections that we hold in our cellar dating back two decades and more.  I thought that Ronan wouldn't affix his name to a lackluster or disappointing effort. Moreover, at a sub-twenty dollar price-point, its a safe bet as a must try for every day sipping.

I had never seen this label before and was intrigued, rightfully so by the discovery - priced at close to $10. The anticipation was heightened by the branding and packaging with the label being visually similar to the winemaker produced Michel Rolland Napa Valley Cabernet that I recently discovered and purchased. The MR Napa Cab, like the flagship Château Clinet, at a $175 pricepoint, are at the opposite end of the price spectrum, resulting in great relative QPR - (quality price ratio) for this label. 

Recall, as I have written in these pages, for most of us who have any sense of economic management of their wine cellar and drinking selections; we have everyday wines, once a week wines, once a month wines, and special occasion or once a year, and even once in a lifetime wines - each with their corresponding price point. At closer to $10 than $20 'street' price, this is affordable for most anyone as an everyday sipper. The high end of that range depends on the consumer and their level of discrimination, and their budget - it might be $25, $50 or $100, or more. Of course, like the commercial says, your experience or results may vary.

One tragedy of developing a more discriminating pallet is that as one acquires or learns an appreciation for better quality, more expensive wines, one seeks and enjoys better wines and becomes less content with lower priced lesser sophisticated wines! Hence the budget management described above for most. One will find they will reach an equilibrium of affordability and preference. 

This is also where a 'blind' tasting comes in. Taste a wine without the pretense of the price point and set your standards thusly, not influenced by price. 

For the most part, prices rise with quality and visa versa - its the anomaly that exceeds the QPR - quality-price-ratio that is the mother lode of wine tasting and collections. Hence I often refer to the QPR of a given wine - but that may be at any of the aforementioned pricepoints. 

When I researched it further, I was surprised to learn this label been around since being introduced in 2009, and has established itself as a great-value Merlot, especially considering the pedigree of the legendary world famous winemaker Michel Rolland, the 'Master of Merlot', and Château Client team. 

Most importantly, wine appreciation is all in the eyes, or tastes, of the beholder. There is no right or wrong answer to one's preference for any given wine - you like what you like! All snobbery aside, at the end of the day, its all grape juice, with a wide range or nuances!

Château Clinet Ronan Bordeaux (Merlot) 2016

The 2016 label says it is 100% Merlot. Other releases have been noted to be Merlot based with some amounts of Cabernet Franc. Wine pundit Jeb Dunnuck, who gave this 91 points in his review, writes that this Merlot-dominated 2016 by Clinet contains 5% Cabernet Franc.

One reviewer wrote, "From the same 100-point Pomerol powerhouse team behind the famed $150+ Château Clinet, the 2016 Ronan by Clinet was already one of the best values in Bordeaux at its regular $30 price."

Upon initial opening this was a bit flabby and obtuse but after an hour it settled and actually took on an interesting profile. 

This was dark garnet colored, medium full bodied with black currant and plum fruits accented by an intriguing, almost exotic floral layer with herbs, truffle and notes of bittersweet dark chocolate with tongue puckering lingering tangy tannins and aromatics on the finish.  Great value in an everyday sipper!

RM 87 points.