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Re: February Wine Focus: Unclassified Bordeaux

by David M. Bueker » Wed Feb 08, 2012 9:34 am

Full write up coming in the main forum later on, but for now I will play by Salil's rules & comment on a wine I had the good fortune to drink last night.

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1971 Chateau Petrus (Pomerol)
I had only ever had Petrus one other time, but the experience had stuck with me, so I had a bit of a feeling about this one. Served blind, it certainly showed age in its orange tinged ruby color. The aromatics were seamless yet all over the place, with warm earth, spice, faint cherry fruit (more like compote at this stage), and floral elements. To put it in one word: exotic. The palate presence was just staggering, and the wine was like velvet on the tongue. I pretty much lost the ability to take notes at this point...and yet it was not the wine of the night, for me or the group!

FYI - this bottle was cellared by the orginal owner since release in the early '70s. Sticker price: $20.99. :twisted:

Full notes to come in the main forum, as the wine of the night doesn't fit this month's theme.
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Re: February Wine Focus: Unclassified Bordeaux

by Joe Moryl » Wed Feb 08, 2012 11:48 am

David M. Bueker wrote:.....FYI - this bottle was cellared by the orginal owner since release in the early '70s. Sticker price: $20.99......


Sigh. Those were the days when an ordinary working lad could afford the occasional bottle of Petrus!
Back in the '80s there was a shop with quite a collection of DRC burgundies sitting in the racks and I used to marvel at some of those prices. I mean, some were over $100 a bottle!

So, are you and Salil going to escalate this thread into show and tell or are you going to join the plebs and participate in the spirit of things?
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Re: February Wine Focus: Unclassified Bordeaux

by Salil » Wed Feb 08, 2012 11:55 am

Very cool (and I'm amazed someone would serve a Petrus blind like that). Sounds pretty amazing; just a shame about current pricing.

Looking forward to the full writeup.
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Re: February Wine Focus: Unclassified Bordeaux

by David M. Bueker » Wed Feb 08, 2012 12:20 pm

I have some unclassified Bordeaux in the queue for later in the month.
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Re: February Wine Focus: Unclassified Bordeaux

by Tim York » Wed Feb 08, 2012 5:04 pm

David M. Bueker wrote:
1971 Chateau Petrus (Pomerol)
...and yet it was not the wine of the night, for me or the group!

FYI - this bottle was cellared by the orginal owner since release in the early '70s. Sticker price: $20.99. :twisted:



Lucky you, David :mrgreen: . I've been lucky enough to taste Pétrus twice, 88 and 94, and remember being struck by the unique combination of complex opulence and refinement in the former. Out of a generally lean decade '71 had the reputation of a stellar right bank vintage.

I'm curious to know the identity of the WOTN in this company.
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Re: February Wine Focus: Unclassified Bordeaux

by David M. Bueker » Wed Feb 08, 2012 5:19 pm

Tim York wrote:I'm curious to know the identity of the WOTN in this company.


See my full post in the forum (couldn't put it here - too many "classified" wines. :wink:
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Re: February Wine Focus: Unclassified Bordeaux

by Tim York » Thu Feb 09, 2012 11:16 am

Pitfalls in pairing Bordeaux reds.

Château Verdignan cru Bourgeois Haut-Médoc 1998 – Alc.13%, a Cabernet Sauvignon dominated Bordeaux blend, has usually proved to be what I look for in an inexpensive (c€12-15) bourgeois claret.

This bottle illustrated an important point with claret, particularly left bankers; namely, that they need to be paired with quite subtle food like classical French savoury dishes (but not Mediterranean), which go in for finesse rather than sweeter and more markedly aromatic flavours. Yesterday evening the chef told me that she was preparing spring chicken which sounded ideal for a decently aged Médoc. She omitted to tell me that she would be using a fusion type recipe with honey and spices. The Verdignan fell flat with this tasting no more than pleasantly bland. When I managed to get some sips with goat cheese after the spring chicken was cleared away, the wine quite picked and I reproduce a TN of a bottle a couple of years ago which was still applicable.



The aromas showed red/dark fruit (some plum), a nice herbaceous edge with some wet leather, the palate was harmonious with medium body, good fruit, lively acidity, some minerality and just a hint of bitter dryness in the tannins on the finish. Not quite so good as my memories of 1995 and 1996 but pretty good; 15.5/20.


I think that experiences like this partly explain the disaffection of many wine drinkers from modest Bordeaux. Exotic, sweeter and more aromatic meat and fish dishes are becoming much more popular in Northern Europe where more classical flavours suited to claret used to rule. This recipe had been picked up by Germaine from a popular Flemish television chef the same morning and very good it was in its own way but it called for a spicy and more sweet fruited Mediterranean style wine, like a southern Rhône.

In this price range and for pairing with more classical food, this Verdignan competes well with Loire Cabernet franc but I think that my affections lie more with the latter.
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Re: February Wine Focus: Unclassified Bordeaux

by Bob Parsons Alberta » Thu Feb 09, 2012 2:34 pm

"fusion type recipe with honey and spices"

I tried a similar version last week but with duck. Quite successful but the Georgian red was a mismatch!!
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Re: February Wine Focus: Unclassified Bordeaux

by AlexR » Fri Feb 10, 2012 9:36 am

Hi all,

Am following this thread with interest.

There seems to be the following vicious circle for much affordale Bordeaux in the US: the wines aren't known because they're not available. They're not available because they're not known. And no one wants to stick their neck out... The importers/distributors/retailers in the cumbersome three-tier system are most interested in wines that are virtually "pre-sold", i.e. for which there is a pre-existing demand, often created by the press and/or wine critics.
To this must be factored in the idea many people in distant countries have that a Bordeaux needs to be a great growth to be good, or worthy of attention.

Please, don't get me wrong, I'm not saying the Bordelais are blameless in this situation...

About 55% of the 6 and a half million hectolitres produced in Bordeaux are from the Bx. and Bx. Supérieur appellations.
These wines are exported to other European countries to a great extent, but have never really made it in the US.
The choice I have of these wines on my doorstep is tremendous.
It's true that quality is variable. But when I find one I like, I buy a case or two. How can you go wrong at 4 or 5 euros a bottle?

What good would it do to put out names on WLDG? Can you find Château le Mayne, Côtes de Castillon at your neighborhood liquor store?

If I move up a notch, to slightly more expensive major producer/négociants, I think André Lurton's wines such as Château Bonnet are very good value for money.

In a nutshell, the best value for money in Bordeaux today is to be found in:
- the Côtes regions
- the Northern Médoc
- the Soutern Graves

Also, dry white Bordeaux can be quite good, and the price is a steal. I'm not talking Domaine de Chevalier or Laville Haut Brion. I'm talking Entre Deux Mers at 3 or 4 euros a bottle.
Such wines are ideal with oysters and fish.
Chardonnay from Burgundy may be better, but it's considerably more expensive.

Best regards,
Alex R.
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Re: February Wine Focus: Unclassified Bordeaux

by David M. Bueker » Fri Feb 10, 2012 9:46 am

AlexR wrote:What good would it do to put out names on WLDG? Can you find Château le Mayne, Côtes de Castillon at your neighborhood liquor store?


I did see it on a wine list in Poland while I was there earlier in the month!

The restaurants in Wroclaw often had "basic" Bordeaux, Medoc and other less exalted wines on lists. I tried a couple (and posted on one here). They were fine with the meals, and decent values even accounting for restaurant mark ups.
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Re: February Wine Focus: Unclassified Bordeaux

by David M. Bueker » Fri Feb 10, 2012 9:55 am

Alex,

One more time I will throw out a list of some of the lower priced Bordeaux at my favorite shop. If you have any insight on them it would be most appreciated.

Croix Mouton
Grand Bateau
Mayne Vieil (Fronsac)
Brondeau
Bellevue (Medoc)
Hourtin Ducasse (Haut-Medoc)
Tour Saint Bonnet (Medoc)

to provide a short list...
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Re: February Wine Focus: Unclassified Bordeaux

by AlexR » Fri Feb 10, 2012 10:34 am

David,

You haven't indicated any vintages, but here goes:

Croix Mouton: this is a Janoueix wine that is generally well-made and good value for money. It used to be called just "Mouton", but that didn't sit too well with the Rothschilds, so it had to be changed.
Grand Bateau: do not know this one at all.
Mayne Vieil (Fronsac): used to sell this, do not know recent vintages. I would suggest it would be best in a riper year and drunk within 5 years of the vintage date
Brondeau : unknown to me.
Bellevue (Medoc): this belongs to a branch of the Mulliez family who own one of France’s largest supermarket groups, Auchan. The young man who took over unfortunately passed away, but his widow is doing good work. This is a feminine Bordeaux with lots going for it. Clearly the best of the bunch and I’ll be interested to hear your feedback on this.
Hourtin Ducasse (Haut-Medoc): good, traditional wine.
Tour Saint Bonnet (Medoc): a favourite of mine. Huge estate with a loyal following in the UK. Inexpensive, often enjoyable quite young.

Not a bad selection, really :-).

All the best,
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Re: February Wine Focus: Unclassified Bordeaux

by David M. Bueker » Fri Feb 10, 2012 12:02 pm

All are 2009s. The shop also has some 2008s.

I actually have 2008 Hourtin Ducasse in magnum, as it makes a great party red.
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Re: February Wine Focus: Unclassified Bordeaux

by Rahsaan » Fri Feb 10, 2012 12:04 pm

David M. Bueker wrote:Bellevue (Medoc)


Doesn't Kermit Lynch also import a Bellevue that is fairly priced and pretty tasty. But his is from St Emilion so I guess it's a different property.

And I guess the similar names should come as no shock to a French wine lover!
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Re: February Wine Focus: Unclassified Bordeaux

by AlexR » Fri Feb 10, 2012 12:24 pm

Féret (Bordeaux et ses Vins) tells us that there are 14 Château Bellevue in Bordeaux and 36 Bellevue-something-or-other.

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Re: February Wine Focus: Unclassified Bordeaux

by Hoke » Fri Feb 10, 2012 2:04 pm

There seems to be the following vicious circle for much affordale Bordeaux in the US: the wines aren't known because they're not available. They're not available because they're not known. And no one wants to stick their neck out... The importers/distributors/retailers in the cumbersome three-tier system are most interested in wines that are virtually "pre-sold", i.e. for which there is a pre-existing demand, often created by the press and/or wine critics.
To this must be factored in the idea many people in distant countries have that a Bordeaux needs to be a great growth to be good, or worthy of attention.


Hi, Alex!

Sorry, but your refrain just isn't as powerful or applicable as it used to be. In other places I've mentioned that the statistics---sales statistics primarily---indicate Bordeaux in the U.S. is significantly up. The Great Growths are down, yes; they're going to Asia. But the modestly priced and appellated Bordeaux, both red and white are very much on the uptick. Bordeaux at less than $20 is waaay up (in some instances, up over 15%), with both greater sales and better distribution and more labels being present in the market.

So your "vicious circle" is not as vicious as it was, and the U.S. importer/distributors perhaps not as callous and incompetent as they were (well, maybe not there...). I'd also have to add that the recent improvement of the head firmly up their complacent butt atttiude of the Bordelais and their ability to engage in social networking and the interwebz as a medium of communication and marketing is a significant factor in the improvement. That and the fact that many of these wines are pleasant to drink, still Bordeaux but without the extreme weediness and tannic harshness that inexpensive Bordeaux has seemed to be for so long.

This is the first time since, oh, about 1985 or so, that I've seen the availability of so many Bordeaux, Bordeaux Superieur, Bourg, Blaye, EdM and such at (comparatively) modest prices.

(Good to finally meet you in Bordeaux, btw.)
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Re: February Wine Focus: Unclassified Bordeaux

by Bob Parsons Alberta » Fri Feb 10, 2012 2:16 pm

Have to think that Hoke is probably right. Many lower-end Bordeaux on the shelf, under $20 Cdn too, but problem is are they any good?!! It is up to store staff to hand-sell I guess, ie tasting the wines so they have a better idea as to the quality. Checking out on CT, there are a few here I would not touch with a bargepole!
There are a few whites but with 9 mixed cases of other white wines in the cellar, I am not prepared to spend more money in this regard.
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Re: February Wine Focus: Unclassified Bordeaux

by David Creighton » Fri Feb 10, 2012 10:48 pm

david - just had the croix mouton '09 and it was a really serious wine. not for current drinking but the real deal. grand bateau is the 3rd or 4th wine of beychevelle and if you like that property's rustic style - which i do - then this is usually a good value current drinking option.
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Re: February Wine Focus: Unclassified Bordeaux

by David M. Bueker » Sat Feb 11, 2012 11:52 am

AlexR wrote:David,

You haven't indicated any vintages, but here goes:

Croix Mouton: this is a Janoueix wine that is generally well-made and good value for money. It used to be called just "Mouton", but that didn't sit too well with the Rothschilds, so it had to be changed.
Grand Bateau: do not know this one at all.
Mayne Vieil (Fronsac): used to sell this, do not know recent vintages. I would suggest it would be best in a riper year and drunk within 5 years of the vintage date
Brondeau : unknown to me.
Bellevue (Medoc): this belongs to a branch of the Mulliez family who own one of France’s largest supermarket groups, Auchan. The young man who took over unfortunately passed away, but his widow is doing good work. This is a feminine Bordeaux with lots going for it. Clearly the best of the bunch and I’ll be interested to hear your feedback on this.
Hourtin Ducasse (Haut-Medoc): good, traditional wine.
Tour Saint Bonnet (Medoc): a favourite of mine. Huge estate with a loyal following in the UK. Inexpensive, often enjoyable quite young.

Not a bad selection, really :-).

All the best,
Alex R.


Thanks. I grabbed a few (no Bellevue sadly...shop is getting more soon) & will report through the rest of the month.
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Re: February Wine Focus: Unclassified Bordeaux

by Tim York » Sat Feb 11, 2012 1:39 pm

The supermarkets here stock a big choice of lower priced Bordeaux but it is hardly possible to chose without experience of the estate in previous vintages, reliable recommendation or prior tasting. Here is the selection in the €5-10 range from the nearest http://fr.delhaizewineworld.com/F-10002 ... a-10~euros and there is not a single name which means anything to me. There is even quite a list priced below €5. So it's a matter of lucky dip. Maybe I'll screw up my courage......
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Re: February Wine Focus: Unclassified Bordeaux

by Bob Parsons Alberta » Sun Feb 12, 2012 2:33 am

Unable to match Tim`s wide ranging selection that he has just posted on, here is my first contribution to this months topic! Staff at Devines here in town were quite enthusiastic about the following Bordeaux Superieur, and as it turned out rightly so.

WTN: 2009 Chateau de Macard Bordeaux Superieur.

Located in Pessac-sur-Dordogne, up and coming producer. 50% CF, 30% Merlot, 20% CS. $20 Cdn, 13% alc, good natural cork, decanted one hour.

Color. Medium red ruby, looks attractive.

Nose. Cherry earthy nose, blackberry, herbal, spice tones in background. Some oak here but does not overpower.

Palate. Initial entry thought was bargain! Dry chalky tannins, good everyday drinker and held up overnight. Medium-bodied, chalky, black fruits, some raspberry. Very good structure and concentration of fruits. Soft tannins, "ready now, no need to hold" from across the table. Would be a good addition to any fine meal at the dining table. Mid-palate is tad chewy on day 2 and more blackcurrant. The 60% CF does not push other character into the background.

Food was roasted pork loin with rosemary, carrots and fondant pots.
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Re: February Wine Focus: Unclassified Bordeaux

by Tim York » Sun Feb 12, 2012 5:45 am

Bob Parsons Alberta. wrote:Unable to match Tim`s wide ranging selection that he has just posted on, here is my first contribution to this months topic! Staff at Devines here in town were quite enthusiastic about the following Bordeaux Superieur, and as it turned out rightly so.

WTN: 2009 Chateau de Macard Bordeaux Superieur.

Located in Pessac-sur-Dordogne, up and coming producer. 50% CF, 30% Merlot, 20% CS. $20 Cdn, 13% alc, good natural cork, decanted one hour.

Color. Medium red ruby, looks attractive.

Nose. Cherry earthy nose, blackberry, herbal, spice tones in background. Some oak here but does not overpower.

Palate. Initial entry thought was bargain! Dry chalky tannins, good everyday drinker and held up overnight. Medium-bodied, chalky, black fruits, some raspberry. Very good structure and concentration of fruits. Soft tannins, "ready now, no need to hold" from across the table. Would be a good addition to any fine meal at the dining table. Mid-palate is tad chewy on day 2 and more blackcurrant. The 60% CF does not push other character into the background.

Food was roasted pork loin with rosemary, carrots and fondant pots.


Your lucky dip seems to have turned up trumps there, Bob. But was it really a lucky dip because you had the recommendation of DeVines' staff to rely on? That sort of advice is, IMO, indispensable in avoiding a lot of mistakes with "petits Bordeaux".
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Re: February Wine Focus: Unclassified Bordeaux

by Salil » Sun Feb 12, 2012 11:03 pm

1986 Château Meyney (St. Estèphe)
Last of a small lot that I purchased from a TCWC auction last year.
Decanted for an hour before serving, and it's drinking superbly - tannins mostly resolved, a lovely silky medium weight mouthfeel, and layers of bright red and dark fruit, cedar wood and a powerful seasoning of Cordier funk.
Fantastic wine, and I need to look for more old Cordiers at auction.
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Re: February Wine Focus: Unclassified Bordeaux

by Jim Grow » Mon Feb 13, 2012 6:51 pm

2005 Ch. Monestier la Tour "Emily"..very black/purple with lots of sediment flavors of mostly sweet cherry and a bit of sour cherry too. drying tannins on the finish, abv of %14
imported by Jeffrey Davies overall very nice for the price
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