You know the story with Bordeaux investors and new Asian markets are driving first growths to comically unattainable prices, even for collectors, while “super-seconds” are pricing themselves out of the game because they don’t carry the cachet to support inflated retails. We on the Binny’s Wine Blog have pointed out great values, and have remindied you not to forget the less hyped 2008 vintage.
Don’t think that Bordeaux is only ultra-luxury blue chips or cheap everyday drinkers; there are a bunch of really great, classy wines that fall into an affordable price range. We recently tasted a sizable lineup of well priced Bordeaux that still offer world-class style. My notes, tasted in flights of three:
2008 Chateau Potensac Medoc
Spice and earth on the nose, along with an olive and green pepper herbal quality. Also stemmy on the palate, with less focus on fruit and more on dry leaves. Good acidity and light in body.
2008 Chateau Chasse Spleen Moulis
More fruit up front, along with dry bramble and notes of meat. Focused fruit on the palate: underripe raspberries. Heavy in body with an interesting, grippy texture and mouthfeel.
2008 Chateau Cantemerle Haut Medoc
Lighter. Classy and interesting, subtle complexity. Notes of silt, and behind that is char and maple. The Cantemerle is understated, but interesting if you’re paying attention.
2008 Chateau Lalande Borie Saint Julien
Bright, dry nose of sawdust, copper and tart red cherry. Mediumbody, with red cherry and other orchard fruit, with medium tannins.
2008 La Croix de Beaucaillou Saint Julien
The fleshiest up front so far. Dark, underripe cherry. Some greenleaf notes, with fresh acidity and good weight.
2008 Chateau Gloria Saint Julien
Bigger still. In a more modern style, edging on plummy and showingsigns of time in wood. The tannins and structure make this good ifnot very complex.
2008 Chateau Cantenac Brown Margaux
Strawberries and hay on the nose. Tart, light strawberry and tartcherry on the palate with very light spice. Cute.
2008 Chateau d’Issan Margaux
Big. Charred wood and heavy, plummy fruit on the nose. Even bigger on the palate, with morecharred wood, obscuring fruit and nuance. Really solidtannic frame that lasts and lasts on the finish. An infant. A big infant.
2008Chateau Brane Cantenac Margaux
A noseof fresh, clean cherries leads to an herbal palate. Cola, tea leaves,some tannins.
2008Chateau JoaninBecot Cotes de Castillon
I lovethe nose on this one! Maple and cedar and big heft. Syrupy with goodtannins, but not as full as the nose lets on.
2008 LaFleur de Bouard Lalande de Pomerol
Morecharred wood, baking spice and a big wave of fresh fruit on the nose.Dries out on the palate, with dry cherries, wood spice, and greattannins. I’m in love. La Fleur de Bouard is classy and complex andpleasing all at once. And what a value! If you try one of thesewines, this is my pick.
2008Chateau d’Aiguilhe Cotes de Castillon
Heavyplum on the nose, and blueberry, pencil lead and cedar. Tight, withchocolate and tart fruit. Tight and acidic with good focus and hugetannins.
2008Chateau Barde Haut Saint Emilion
Cocoa, cedar and blackberryon the fat nose. The wine is approachable if slightly metallic, withswelling tannins. The Barde Haut has good lift. Not a blockbuster butsolidly built.
2008Chateau Fleur Cardinale Saint Emilion
Withapproachable and fresh red fruits on the nose, this gets heavier onthe palate. Evolves, starting with heavy fruit and colaand growing more and more tannic. This is another baby. Let it age.
2008Chateau Sanctus Saint Emilion
There’s that familiar tomato/pomegranate note on the nose that I usually read as heavyextraction. Also some chocolate. After the tannic sandpaper that wasthe Fleur Cardinale, this is velvet. Some wood shows,with good red fruit, and good tannic grip.
2008Chateau Carbonnieux Rouge Pessac Leognan
Soft.Red fruit. Some woody notes.
2008Chateau Larrivet Haut Brion Pessac Leognon
Funky,with ruby fruits and wood sawdust, even on the nose. Freshcherry and cedar on the palate, with big tannins. Could use someaging.
2008Chateau Malarctic Lagraviere Rouge Pessac Leognan
Moregood red fruits with a tropical(?) kick. Much softer than theLarrivet Haut Brion. Quiet on the palate, with good cherry and astemmy grip. Bright, acidic, tannic, this is textbook Bordeaux.
Thatwas it for the 2008’s. As we poured the first of the 06’s, I couldn’thelp but notice that we were switching from deep purple to brick red. Also, things got expensive:
2006Chateau Pibran Pauillac
Maplesyrup and raspberry on the nose. Lighter in body than everythingwe’ve had so far, this has good, open-knit tart red fruit qualities.
2006Chateau Malescot Saint Exupery Margaux
Bigchar and stewed tomatoes right up front, leading to notes of cola and