Monday, October 21, 2013

Bordeaux on the Cheap: Blanc, Rosé and Rouge for <$20

I enjoy drinking great Bordeaux, but the high demand and high price tags mean I can’t drink them all that often. If you’re new to Bordeaux or, like me, can’t afford the top shelf stuff all that often, you’re in luck — there are some solid bottles of Bordeaux in the $20 or less price range.

I recently tasted through three such wines as part of a Twitter tasting sponsored by Planet Bordeaux. This trade group represents growers and winemakers from the Bordeaux and Bordeaux Supérieur appellations. These entry-level bottles are not as complex or ageworthy as a top Pauillac or Margaux, but they don’t cost $100+ either. And these wines can help establish a basic understanding of Bordeaux’s style and the characteristics of different vintages.

The wines were chosen because they won a 2012 video contest called “My Bordeaux Wine Is…” in which producers submitted promotional videos for their wines. Some of the videos are pretty damn good, especially the Bonnet rosé one.

The wines were received as trade samples and tasted sighted. My notes…

2012 Château de Bonhoste - France, Bordeaux Contrôlée
SRP: $12
60% Sauvignon Blanc, 30% Semillon and 10% Muscadelle. Clean light gold color. Smells like a whole lot of white and yellow flowers along with some grapefruit and a slight herbal note. Crisp acid on the palate, the Semillon adds a bit of that waxy, creamy feel. On the fruit side, I get some apricot and ruby red grapefruit, a bit of that slight green herbal note. Fresh, fun, easy to drink, but showing some moderate complexity. (86 points)

2012 Château Bonnet Bordeaux Rosé - France, Bordeaux Rosé
SRP: $15
A 50/50 blend of Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon. I’m really digging the color, like a neon pink and candy apple red mixed together. Bright on the nose, like McIntosh apple and wild strawberry dashed with some oceanic and salty notes. Rich on the palate but balanced by tangy acid. Strawberry and white cherry fruit with some pepper and slight tobacco thrown in. Crisp throughout, dashed with minerals, but it carries some weight as well. Enjoyable stuff for the price.  (86 points)

2009 Château Majoureau “Hyppos” - France, Bordeaux Supérieur
SRP: $20
A blend of 55% Merlot and 45% Cabernet Franc. Plummy and rich on the nose, the blackberry is mixed with tobacco and loam. Full-bodied, gritty tannins, a bit low on the acid for me. The black cherry and black currant fruit is dense and full and surprisingly good. Secondary flavors of black olive, some chewing tobacco, some braised meat. Some depth and complexity here, this got a lot more exciting with time in the decanter. Long, rich finish with olive and pepper. (87 points)

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