I find this wine to be incredibly versatile. It has the freshness to work with aged cheeses or charcuterie, but there is more than enough complexity and length for a more hearty dish like braised veal. I am looking forward to having this with hummus (the real kind! I plan to make it myself) with ground beef and mushrooms. The slight graininess of the tannins - not aggressive by any means - will support the the texture of the hummus, while the subtle earthy notes of the mushrooms and the meat will echo with the leathery, spicy background of the wine's caressing finish. The main thing to remember is that this wine isn't going shout over the entire table. It won't bowl you over with thick layers of fruit and won't win the wine Olympics. The essence of the Tour Bayard is not that of competition - who can earn the highest score - but of bonding and sharing, actions that will no doubt be made especially enjoyable by this wine's presence on the table.
One of Bordeaux's greatest assets has always been the wines' impeccable balance. While modern tastes and modern winemaking have forced some of the wines from the region to evolve into a more opulent, dense and highly extracted style, there are still a great many estates whose production skillfully blends power with elegance and finesse. The most memorable examples are not necessarily the biggest, densest wines, but they're always refined and never lacking character. I am particularly excited when the wine of a solid, reputable estate is presented as a late release, and it is with great enthusiasm that I offer you the 2006 Chateau Tour Bayard. On display here is that precise balance I reference above, where the intriguing combination of "primary" fruit characteristics and higher order flavors mingle effortlessly.
The 39ha family-owned plot is located in Montagne-Saint-Emilion, a town whose wines are generally just a touch firmer and leaner than those of Saint-Emilion and Pomerol. The 2006 Tour Bayard already shows some development, with leather and spice overlaying the dried cherry core on the palate. The defining characteristic here, however, is the classic elegance and subtlety that is so often missing from more aggressively-styled offerings. This is not the kind of wine that will garner huge ratings and lavish praise from sensationalist wine writers, but it is exactly the kind that will seamlessly bring together all the elements of an intimate dinner.