A real bargain is not just cheap wine. When we dig harder to find affordable red Bordeaux that are over-achievers, that is where you will find true bargains.
It wasn’t too many years after opening the doors here at The Wine Country that we realized that getting involved in the high-end, first growth Bordeaux market, on a larger scale, was going to be a wickedly expensive and it wasn’t looking like it was a game our Long Beach and Signal Hill customers were willing or wanting to play. Exceptionally expensive wines, a small single family owned store just starting out as the Bordeaux market began to skyrocket to unheard off heights and a market that would not bear it and we quietly stepped back and let other retailers duke it out for the customers willing to play the, “My Bordeaux is bigger than yours” game.
Our Bordeaux department is an ever-evolving department but one of my goals has been to remind people and showcase wines from Bordeaux, in many price ranges, that offer tremendous typicity and excellence. Sure we have a smattering of the first growth stuff in the treasure chest and wines $60-$100 plus that are gorgeous, we love stocking them, selling them to you all and drinking them ourselves when the meal or occasion arises, but it was that $25 and under market that gets me all fired up and excited. Little wines, reasonable texture, as in they aren’t clobbering you about the head, light, very Bordeaux and priced for weeknight burgers, BBQ and the like.
Finding Petits Chateaux has been quite thrilling for us. There is a mass of pretty mediocre to bad Bordeaux being cranked, but when we kind those gems, the wines that raise our eyebrows, smell of place, have purity and come in at daily drinking prices, well that delights us to no end! We’ve had a fun little run of truly delicious and affordable Bordeaux cross our paths lately, here are some of our favorites.
2015 Chateau Reynier Bordeaux Superieur
A 50/50 blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot this easy quaffing Bordeaux has loads of earth and green tea or tobacco aromatics. Light weight on the palate with a sizeable amount of grip for a wine that sells for less that $15.00! Great burger, lamb chop and pizza wines. Soft enough not to clobber the food but with enough amplitude to satisfy.
$11.99 per bottle
2012 Domaine Des Sabines Lalande De Pomerol
We were offered this wine on a special pricing deal and I am already regretting not ordering a big stack of it. Densely packed with dark fruit, dried tea and plenty of earth and spice. Firm on the palate with sturdy tannins and a long, spiced finish. Plums, dried herbs, flowers and earth. Gorgeous Bordeaux for this price. Damned gorgeous Bordeaux at twice the price.
$12.99 per bottle
2016 Chateau Darzac Bordeaux
Chateau Darzac is using Merlot 70%, Cabernet Franc 10%, Cabernet Sauvignon 10%, Malbec 10% to make this wine. It is a delicious example of a well-made Bordeaux Superieur, many of whom drink way above their classification and tend to be very good values. This is a case in point.
The Darzac family has vineyards located in the Entre-Deux-Mares wine sub-region of Bordeaux. They have farmed these vineyards for over 200 years. Grapes for this wine come from their best vineyards and it shows in the wine. Very complex aromas of spices, blackberries, plums, and cedar with a hint of fresh herbs. Very approachable with medium body and fine-grained tannins with fresh acidity keeping the flavors precise. Pair with roasted meats, lamb, game.
$14.99 per bottle
2015 Chateau Guibot Puisseguin-Saint-Emilion
This juicy and forward little wine is made from mostly Merlot with a bit of Cabernet Franc blended in for texture and added aromatics. Deeply extracted and bursting with dark berry fruit, roasted coffee and hints of cedar. Big and curvy on the palate with tannins to match the power of the fruit. This is a hearty, mouth-coating Bordeaux that begs for a little decant and a plate of red meat.
$24.99 per bottle
2009 Chateau Malleret Haut Medoc
Made from nearly equal parts Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon with a touch of Petit Verdot and Cabernet Franc as well. This wine was purchased when our importer made a secondary visit to the domaine and discovered that the tiny domaine still had a stock of the tremendous 2009 vintage. Dark black cherries come bounding from the glass along with dusty dark coco and vanilla. Getting some cool aged flavors on the palate, like dried leaves and sprouting mushrooms. Very integrated in terms of tannin and acidity, the wine drinks its age but in that really good way. Simple beef, lamb or mushroom dishes would be perfect for this wine, as would cheese and cured meats.
$22.99 per bottle