Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Bordeaux Rouge---good wine without breaking the bank? It's possible.

I generally don't flirt with too many red Bordeaux these days.  I don't drink too much Cabernet or Merlot lately; I have quite a few reliable ones still marinating in my cellars; the current style of Bordeaux is not to my liking; most of the modestly priced Bordeaux aren't all that interesting; and I can't afford the Classified Growths as "regular", i.e., regularly drinking without spending my retirement account, wine.

But there are some modest Bordeaux rouge at modest prices.

Here are two I found recently, both coming in around a $12-14 retail price:

Chateau Roustaing Reserve Vielle Vignes, Bordeaux, 2006

Carrying the appellation of Bordeaux, but coming from the Entre-deux-Mers area, this vineyard sits on limestone/clay soil, and combines Cabernet Franc (45%), Cabernet Sauvignon (35%), and Merlot (20%).

It's that upfront, juicy, black tobacco Cabernet Franc that appeals to me, with the (I assume) slightly green and herbaceous Cabernet Sauvignon registering immediately afterwards.  The notes indicate a 'thermovinification/maceration' for a few hours; I have no way of knowing, but I suspect that heated must in maceration pulls out more of those green pepper and green olive Cabernet tones.  In any case, they are not too evident and add some interesting complexity to the wine.

While this isn't an earthshaking wine, and is definitely not in contention for any of the rarefied classifications, it is still a solid, medium-weight, fruit-driven red with moderate tannins.  And for oakophobes, good news:  there is none evident, perhaps because it was aged for only a few months in stainless steel vats.

Chateau de Lugagnac, Bordeaux Superieur, 2006

A straight-up 50/50 blend of Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon, this new property (to me) lacks the tang of Cabernet Franc, and has noticeably softer black fruits and less herbaceousness, but is a fine drinking Bordeaux rouge.

Also macerated through 'thermoregulation', similar to the Roustaing, it differs again by having noticeable, but not overwhelming, oak influence from up to 13 months of new and used barrels.

This simply puts the wine more safely into a "traditional" Bordeaux rouge category.  It's still an early-drinking wine though, as I seriously doubt it would have any long aging potential.  But if you're looking for a nice, reliable, consistent Bordeaux rouge that will not drain your pocketbook, this one will that job just fine.

1 comment:

  1. Sounds good, Hoke.

    Weird. Our IT department must have installed new software 'cause our firewall now blocks me from logging onto WineLoversPage.com :( Yet it allowed me to visit this site. LOL

    Oh well...I'm supposed to be working instead of posting political rants there anyway.