September 17, 2007
Since returning from my most recent trip to France, I have been enjoying several of the wines I selected for B&B’s French Wine Club which are fantastic. It is still not too late to get in on this year’s selections. You can visit our new web site for all the details at www.bandbsfrenchwineclub.com .
I have, however, also tasted a few wines that are available in North America that I want to recommend this month.
The first is the 1991 Chateau Latour my friend Mike McNamara brought to a recent dinner (yes if you bring Grand Cru Bordeaux to dinner you get your name mentioned). Of course you would expect a Bordeaux Grand Cru to be fantastic, but 1991 was a terrible year in Bordeaux. As I’ve mentioned before in this space, the great Chateaux make great wines in almost every vintage and this wine proves that point. The wine was amazing. It was elegant and complex with soft tannins that camped out on your tongue. The classic elements of Bordeaux were all there – terroir, wet hay, mushrooms, smoke, black fruit –in perfect balance. If you can find old wines from great estates like this you are likely to find amazing wines.
The next three wines are more easily available.
The 2001 Chateau La Garde is a surprise from Pessac-Leognan in Bordeaux. The wine is available at the Pennsylvania state run (ie. Soviet era) store. The wine is fairly complex and interesting with some notes of black fruit, oak and wet hay on the nose. It has slight tannins and stays on your tongue. I like this wine and at $20/ bottle I will go back for more.
From Total Wine in Delaware I found another 2001, Chateau Prieure Lalande from Lussad-Saint Emilion. This is also a Bordeaux appellation, but from the right bank, with a blend of 65% merlot, 25% Cab Franc, and only 10% Cabernet Sauvignon. I liked this wine for its depth and richness. It fills your mouth and yet is not an overpowering one dimensional fruit bomb. This is a wine that is better sipped by itself than used to wash down food and I highly recommend it.
Also from Total Wine in Delaware is the 2003 Chateau Garraud from Lalande de Pomerol. Pomerol is also a right bank appellation and this wine is 80% Merlot, 15% Cab Franc, and only 5% Cabernet Sauvignon. This wine is easy to drink and got better as it breathed. It has a strong vanilla hit at first (which is not my favorite), but that subsided after the wine breathed. This is a wine you can drink every day for $20.