Tuesday, 10 October 2017

Best value wines from Bordeaux

During the course of the year I taste many many wines. The most intense tasting time is at the beginning of April when I taste the barrel samples in Bordeaux. over the course of two weeks I might taste +- 1000 wines. Of course it is a great pleasure, but it can also be quite tough. Young Bordeaux wines, in particular, are packed with tannins and acidity, which does wonders for your teeth! Also barrel samples are in finished wines, or as Remi Edange (of Domaine de Chevalier) recently described them: 'When you taste barrel samples, it is like buying a part built house. You can see the potential. But the roof and windows have not been finished and the garden is a mess. But maybe in a couple of years it will all come together!'

But I also taste many mature wines during my work. On average at Bella Wine Tours I will taste 10-12 wines per day. Most of these are top Chateaux such as Lafite Rothschild, Margaux, Mouton Rothschild, Haut Brion, Clinet, Figeac and Yquem. Although it is an extremely pleasant way to spend your day, it is not actually what I drink on a regular basis. Here below are some of my recent value wines from Bordeaux.

In the tasting room at Chateau Lafite Rothschild.
One of the most beautiful Chateaux in Bordeaux.

I have had a link and loyalty to Chateau de la Riviere in Fronsac for over 25 years. The soils are similar to Saint Emilion, the grapes are similar, but the prices are far less. For under €20 you can buy a mature vintage of Chateau de la Riviere. Also they have some large bottles available, which are fantastic for special anniverasies and parties. I bought my son a 15 litre (Nabuchodonosor) bottle from his birth year a couple of years ago.

A standard wine tasting in Bordeaux.
Barton family wines are always consistent
Chateau Leoville Barton was always considered one of the best value Cru Classe wines in the Medoc. Perhaps since 2005 it has become more in line with the other top Saint Julien estates, However it is worth looking out for Langoa Barton (I tasted their 2005 earlier this year in a blind tasting at Farr Vintners and it was exceptional). Also the Barton family have bought a Chateau in Moulis (further south in the Medoc and further inland). Chateau Mauvesin Barton is worth looking out for. The 2014, 2015 and 2016 will be excellent wines for mid term enjoyment. Unfortunately they have been hit heavily by the frost in 2017, so their production will be miniscule, if any.

Sometimes overlooked Chateau Brane Cantenac

It is quite easy to think of the Margaux appellation as Chateau Margaux, Palmer, Rauzan Segla, Giscours and Lascombes. However I adore Chateau d'Issan and Chateau Brane Cantenac as slightly old school quality wines. Both Chateaux have been in family ownership, by prominent Bordeaux families, for many years.....Brane Cantenac is owned by Lucien Lurton and d'Issan is part owned by Emmanuel Cruse.
Chateau Brane Cantenac 2005 and 2010 are exceptional wines.

Not classified, but great quality and value.

There were strong rumours throughout this Summer that Chateau Phelan Segur was up for sale.
I have always rated these wines. Especially the 2009 and 2010. Virtually next door to Chateau Montrose, but a fraction of the price.

A Sunday lunch value selection.

When a good friend, such as Chris Jones, comes for a proper Sunday lunch in Bordeaux, it is always worth trying out different wines. Having purchased our joint of beef (Rosbifs!!!), we browsed the wine selection in Carrefour Cauderan, Bordeaux.
These three wines above were all under €25.
Chateau Meyney has always been a favourite. Next door to Phelan Segur and Montrose. Outstanding value for a quality wine.
Chateau Clarke is the lesser known Rothschild estate in the Medoc. The high percentage of merlot is evident, and this wine is sublime.
Chateau Lespault-Martillac comes from the Bernard stable.....Domaine de Chevalier, Clos des Lunes, Domaine de la Solitude, Guiraud.
This wine from 2012 Pessac Leognan was an exceptional tight concentration of dark cassis and spice. A perfect value and quality wine.

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