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Friday, December 18, 2015

Brilliant Bordeaux Bargains


I belong to a very high-end group of Bordeaux wine-lovers called the Commanderie de Bordeaux.  One has to be recommended to join, and then must be vetted via several personal interviews with members of the club. (Some of the questions I was asked were:  How large is your cellar?  What percentage of your wine is Bordeaux?  Burgundy?)  Many of their events are black tie and held in San Diego’s finest restaurants or at swanky private country-clubs….and older vintages of the top Bordeaux chateau are always served.  So, how could I turn down the opportunity to attend the Commanderie’s seminar on bargains from Bordeaux?

Each attendee was asked to bring a bottle of red from the 2011 vintage with a price of <$40.  Each person was asked to decant their wine for one hour prior to the seminar.  All wines were tasted blindly (always my preference).  Wines were tasted in flights of four.  Wines were scored in each flight with a 1st, 2nd, 3rd, or 4th place rating.  At the end of the full tasting, the top three scoring wines were then re-tasted against one another and then re-ranked. 

Before I list the winner, let me say that the wines were quite diverse.  There were wines from both Left and Right Banks, as well as from Graves.   A few didn’t offer much in terms of aromatics.  Some were thin and didn’t have a finish.  As expected because of their youth, many had rough tannins.  A couple of the wines were inspid (my tasting notes indicated “no there, there” for aroma, taste & finish).
Here are the group’s top three scoring wines.  The first two wines are definitely worth buying, representing great quality/price ratio.  Both of these should be cellared for another 2-3 years minimum.
  • 1st place:  Chateau La Pointe (Pommerol)
  • 2nd place:  Chateau Montlandrie (Cotes de Castillon, just east of St Emilion)
  • 3rd place:  Chateau Larrivet Haut-Brion (Pessac Leognan)

Hope you find lots of bargains in 2016!

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