Wine is supposed to be fun, or at least that’s what I’ve been telling people since I started drinking it. It’s not just for the super rich, everyone is allowed to partake. Therefore I’m shaking my head and quite a few fingers at the mess that has become Bordeaux.
Robert Parker, a fellow lawyer turned wine sage has shrugged at the 2009 and 2010 vintages, saying while they’re probably some of the best vintages he’s tasted in his career, the pricing is getting out of control. Case in point, I recently got a phone call that NY based Zachy’s had released a futures price of $2220 on the 2010 Chateau Pontet-Canet. My first emotion was depression, as I’ve always been incredibly fond of this fifth growth Pauillac, and can no longer afford it.
With Pontet-Canet releasing their prices, the other classified Chateau’s will soon follow. Gone are the days of picking up a few cases of the great wines of St. Julien, St. Estephe and Margaux to watch them evolve year after year. Bordeaux has priced themselves out of a generation of wine lovers who will never know the beauty of these top wines.
If you are hell bent on experiencing some of these recent vintages, search out properties labeled “cru bourgeois.” These are unclassified Chateau’s on the left bank who were not part of the original 1855 Classification, but still tremendous wines. Some of my favorites include: Chateau La Tour de By and Chateau Latour de Mons. These two excellent producers should not be confused with the first growth Chateau Latour, but then again you won’t need a second mortgage to purchase a case.
Venture outside of the Haut-Medoc and explore wines from the right bank regions of Pomerol and St. Emilion. These wines are mostly Merlot and Cabernet Franc, and some of my favorites are made by garagiste bad boy Jean-Luc Thunevin. Further down the road is Fronsac, always a great value and La Vieille Cure can rival the fifth growths in good vintages at a fraction of the price.
Not picky at all? Then simply find some under $20 wines labeled Bordeaux or Bordeaux Superieur. At this level it’s a crap shoot, but here are a few good ones that you can look for: