<table border="0" align="right" width="110"><tr><td><img src="http://www.wineloverspage.com/graphics1/bell0429.jpg" border="1" align="right"></td></tr></table>Offering an outlying data point against the conventional wisdom that most of the 1997 Bordeaux, particularly "lesser" properties, are already past it, this fairly modestly priced item from an obscure producer was a delight. Based on the similarity of names, I assume the importer (who I've run into occasionally before) has some connection with the property. Googling, I found this blurb on the K&L Website that may explain recent sightings of older vintages from this little-known producer:
<i>Henry van der Voort’s grandfather bought Château Bellegrave in 1901. The Château sits just a kilometer north of Châteaux Latour, Pichon-Lalande, and Pichon-Baron, and only a kilometer or two south of Lynch-Bages on the route de Médoc. The vineyards of Château Bellegrave, Pauillac are adjacent to some of the most famous wine properties in the world. Well, to shorten the story, Henry sold the Château last year and has taken many older vintages out of the cellar and brought them to California. He has offered them to K&L and we are thrilled to have these treasures to offer to you. Again, thank you Henry van der Voort.</i>
Chateau Bellegrave-Van Der Voort 1997 Pauillac ($26.99)
This is a clear, dark-garnet wine with a clear edge, no visual sign of age. Appealing, correct older Bordeaux aroma profile blends blackcurrant with fresh herbs and leather (not saddle leather so much as the perfumed-leather aroma of well-kept old leather-bound books). Light-bodied but nicely balanced, somewhat austere; red-berry fruit and clean, crisp acidity, with tannins resolved. Very pleasant, showing well. Cuvee: 80% Cabernet, 15% Merlot, 5% Petit Verdot. U.S. importer: Bercut-Vandervoort Co., SFO. (April 29, 2006)
<B>FOOD MATCH:</b> Fine with a simple red-meat match, grass-fed local rib eye steak, pan-seared medium-rare.