I’ve been enjoying some great wines in the past couple of months and am thrilled to pass on to you the following recommendations.
I’ve said many times in this space that the great Chateaux make great wines even in off years. Such is the case with the 2002 Pape Clement from the right bank of Bordeaux. Brian (who owns the Wine Chateau in St. Louis) told me this was a great wine and that “the last sip is the best sip,” and he was right. The wine is big and dense and changes three times as it opens and breathes. It doesn’t have the lingering, staying power that wines from better vintages possess, but it is a great wine to enjoy now, and at $63/bottle is a very good value.
I opened the ’95 Chateau de Villambis for New Year’s and this wine has finally come into its own. I visited the chateau last summer and was generally disappointed in their ’96 and ’01 vintages, but this particular vintage is outstanding. The wine is big and dense with lots of rich flavors that will get even better with more time. I bought this wine in Canada and haven’t seen it in the States, but my point is that the ‘95’s are beginning to be ready to drink but they still could use more time in the bottle. If you have ‘95s in your cellar, patience is key here, because this great vintage is going to get even better in a couple of years.
The 2004 vintage is in stores now and I dipped into my cellar to see how they are tasting. I believe the vintage is going to be better than originally scored. We opened the ’04 Boyd-Cantenac from the Margaux region of Bordeaux and it was fantastic. It fills your pallet with complex flavors of black fruits and barnyard that are the markings of a classic Bordeaux. If you are building your collection, this is one you should consider adding now before the price goes up.
The modern benchmark vintage in Bordeaux is 2000. With all the hoopla that surrounded this vintage I have wondered if it will really live up to the hype. I tasted some of the vintage last summer in Bordeaux and was very impressed with what I tasted. While they are too young to drink now, I opened a bottle of the 2000 Chateau Haut Breton Larigaudiere (available only through B&B’s French Wine Club) and it was outstanding. It was still a little young, but it has great depth, complexity and fruit. This – and the whole vintage – are going to continue to age well and will be outstanding wines when they are ready – sometime after 2010.