Saturday, February 26, 2011

Bordeaux Threepeat

French wine is underrepresented on this site.  Why?  It's not because Campbell Mattinson says that most French wine is crap, though there may be some truth to that.  And it's not because we've gotten caught up in a wave of anti-Franco movement.  It's really because French wine can be really intimidating.  (This is coming form someone who had to memorize all the subregions of Burgundy for an exam.)

The folks over at Planet Bordeaux, the PR machine fronting Bordeaux Superieur's clamor for attention, sent a sampling of bottles for review.  For the uninitiated, Bordeaux (normal) Bordeaux Superieur are not the classified growths which Bordeaux is famous for.  These wines are less pedigreed, less expensive, and less sought after - which is to say, often overlooked.  We will round out the six pack review in the warmer weather (the others are roses), but for this installment, we've got two reds and a white.

Now, before you go getting all American on me, consider that a good Bordeaux blanc can be about as pleasant an experience as any white wine can deliver.  And not all red Bordeaux is overpriced, musty snob food.  Like with any wine, keeping an open mind with the Bordeaux establishment is key. 

So, are these wines worth seeking out? 

2009 Chateau de la Vieille Tour (Blanc) $11
Crisp, fresh Sauvignon fruit with more body than you'd expect.  Moderated acidic kick to it and a very friendly, long, dry finish.  A great way to brighten up a day.  Not food dependent.  And what a bargain.

2006 Chateau d'Argadens (Rouge) $15
Very classic Bordeaux color - deep, elegant maroon with just the beginnings of brown tint coming in at the edges.  Intriguing, mysterious aromatics with distant cassis and spices.  Light-to-medium bodied and very dry, the acids cover the fruit on this one.  If the nose ever followed through to the palate, this would be wonderful.  Bone dry finish.  Absolutely needs a hearty meal.

2007 Chateau Coulonge (Rouge) $8
Very deep crushed blackberry color and super fresh, floral fruit nose similar to Cab Francs grown in cooler climates (i.e. Michigan, New York).  Simple flavors, but clean, very balanced, and easy to enjoy.  Medium bodied and fresh.  A perfect late afternoon lunch wine.  Outshone the d'Argadens over food.

So, a mixed bag with two out of three being worth a grab.  But more to the point, experimenting with some of the lesser priced Bordeaux, especially as we approach spring - and the 09s come on to the market -  could be a lot of fun.  Enjoy!

1 comment:

  1. If you get out of the fashionable sections of Bordeaux, you can find some real value. A couple of years ago, I went on a serious Entre deux Mers bender, buying bottles of the dry Sauvignon Blanc for about $8 each.

    I've still got a fair amount of 2000 and 2003 Lussac St. Emilion downstairs that I bought for between $8 and $17 a bottle, though it hasn't got a lot of time left before it fades.

    I think people worry too much about French wines. If you look around a little there's a lot of value. If there's one thing to remember about French wines in general, it's that they're not as generous as California wines. A half hour or so in a decanter will pay big dividends.

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