Some of the world's most esteemed, sought-after and famous red wines come from France's region of Bordeaux.
I doubt it would take much argument to convince most of us that some of the world’s most esteemed, sought-after and famous red wines come from France’s region of Bordeaux. The highly coveted, noble red blends from Bordeaux, made from Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot are often powerful, dense, aromatically assertive, very long lived and are held in such high regard that winemakers the world over make wines that emulate those of Bordeaux.
These are highly famed wines. These are aspirational wines. These are wines that can make a statement before the cork is even popped. One of France’s largest growing regions and yet the wines are in increasingly high demand. Long time collectors, auctions houses, stared restaurants, the newly monied and even stock market traders gobble up these wines the moment they are released, and are willing to pay whatever they must to attain them. They represent stature, grandeur and they also happen to make incredible holiday gifts!
Even those of us in the wine business can be a little intimidated by Bordeaux. We don’t often get to taste them and the prices can be a little scary, (though there are plenty of amazing and affordable Bordeaux to be had) but we recently hosted a tremendous Bordeaux event and got the chance to sample a bunch of stellar wines that we know will absolutely thrill the wine lover on your holiday gift list.
2005 Chateau Le Caillou, Pomerol
Who doesn’t love the beautiful structure of a red wine with a little age on it? Merlot, which is 75% of this blend, is often dismissed as wimpy but when grown in the sandy and gravel rich soils of Pomerol, Merlot shows what it is truly made of. Definitely showing some age on the nose, along with the figgy notes you get something more savory, like herb scented broth with mushroom, but the fruit is still very much there. Medium weight with super fine tannin, the cooked fruit flavors align perfectly with the subtle earthy flavors. I think this wine is ready to drink now but has a couple more years, if you can keep your hands off!
$61.99 per bottle
2014 Chateau Clauzet, Saint-Estephe
This is a screaming deal, period. Cabernet Sauvignon dominate with Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot making up the rest of the blend. Crunchy blue fruit all over the nose with a touch of feral animal and earth. Nicely saturated on the palate with firm tannin but elegant ones. You absolutely taste the earth alongside the fruit here and the finish is flinty and refreshing. Bring on the grilled steak or lamb.
$35.99 per bottle
2012 Chateau Canon, Saint-Emilion
70% Merlot with 30% Cabernet Franc, with an average vine age of 30 years. This estate was once owned by a pirate but in now in the hands of Chanel. Located in the heart of the region at the base of a limestone plateau. This estate has undergone some massive renovations and the wine is showing remarkable concentration and richness. Deep, dark, rich fruit, figs, bruleed plum flesh and creamy vanilla notes. Big and burly but with softness and length. Drinks, to me, like a wine twice the price.
$74.99 per bottle
2013 Grand Vin De Leoville Las Cases, Saint-Julien
Made mostly from Cabernet Sauvignon with a little Merlot, Petit Verdot and Cabernet Franc. This is one serious Bordeaux! Packed in tight, brooding and super masculine. You can almost smell the tannin here. Plenty of wood on the palate, which softens a bit with decanting. Cassis, granite, cedar and spice for days. Needs time, either in a decanter or in a cellar, and it wants big meat.
$166.99 per bottle
2011 Chateau Rauzan Segla, Margaux
One of Thomas Jefferson’s most beloved Bordeaux producers. Purchased by Chanel in the late nineties this wine has undergone some significant changes over the years, not the least of which is an increase of Cabernet Sauvignon to the blend and 50-60 percent brand new oak. So generous on the nose, makes your palate water simply smelling it. Coco, dates, black currant and cigar box. Firm texture, weighty with a swipe of wood and fruit tannin. Big but showing very forward even now. Sexy and assertive. Gorgeous wine.
$119.99 per bottle
2011 Pauillac De Latour, Pauillac
A third label to the First-Growth Chateau Latour and with how brilliant this wine is drinking now, I feel very comfortable calling it a HUGE bargain. Made from 45% Cabernet Sauvignon and 55% Merlot, all fruit that doesn’t quite fit the style of Latour’s first two labels. This is as graceful as Bordeaux gets. Black tea, pencil lead, shaved wood, violets and berry pie on the nose. Elegant and nearly lacy on the palate with extremely focused fruit and texture. This is regal wine and you want it.
$112.99 per bottle