Though the current offering of Bordeaux wines is not what it once was in this country, before the Chinese Communist Party became the Bordeaux/Burgundy Party, there are still values to be had. That’s right, the proletariat has become very discerning over the last 20-30 years and the U.S., once the largest export market for this region is now down to #7 according to the French government’s numbers. Maybe it’s just the fact that they’re red wines. In any event, I’m going to focus on a segment in the region that are called “Petite Chateaux”. These are peripheral properties that abut the Classified Growths; their total hectares under cultivation are a small fraction of their more famous and expensive neighbors, so they don’t have the notoriety (nor the price), but they do have the same “terroir” or soil profile and therein lies their value.
The 2016 Chateau Carignan, Cadillac, Cotes De Bordeaux, ($19.99), is a great example of what I’m talking about. Lots of ripe fruit on the center palate of this red, with ripe tannins, bright acidity and a mineral aftertaste. This is really value for the money. Very balanced, solid fruit with a rich, long finish. Great with roasts and game.
Château Joinin 2016, Bordeaux, ($12.99), is in the same category and the price is not a mistake! In this rich wine, powerful, spicy tannins and a solid structure pair well with the black fruits. It shows the density of the vintage as well as its potential. Drink this structured wine right through 2022.
Château Reynon 2016 Cadillac Côtes de Bordeaux, ($15.99), is harvested under the direction of the Dubourdieu sons and is a smoky wine that’s ripe, full of rich juicy fruit as well as firm tannins. A layer of strong black fruits is balanced by acidity. This rich, deliciously fruity wine has a fine future. Drink it through 2022.
Château de Belcier, 2016, Castillon, Côtes de Bordeaux, ($17.99),is ripe and juicy, a fruity wine from an estate with a vibrant history from the 1700s, it has warmth and rich tannins. Merlot-dominated blackberry and black-plum fruits are allied to a tight structure that promises a fine future. This will age well, so drink from 2021 and try to get a few bottles!
Chateau Mont-Perat Premiers, Cote de Bordeaux, 2015, ($19.99), is another great value. Big tannins don’t hide the fruitiness of this ripe Merlot-dominated wine. It has concentration, a dark core of powerful tannins that bring out black-coffee accents. At the same time, rich blackberry flavors are right up there. Drink the Dominique Bessineau wine from 2022.
By the way, all of these wines are in the 14% alcohol range, so open them about 30 minutes before drinking them; time will definitely be on your side!
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