I know when I was just getting into wine I was pretty intimidated by Bourdeaux.
Of course, when I was just getting into wine I was honestly intimidated by the entire wine section at Binnys (my local jaunt). There’s a ridiculous amount of wines and almost infinite choice. Walking over there for the first time immediately made me extremely nervous. So I just picked a couple and got out of there as soon as I could.
But I remember being especially intimidated by Bourdeaux. Really I never thought I’d have to deal with them at all. I thought they were all out of my price range. And the whole idea of Bourdeaux wines just seemed so snooty to me.
Then I started reading about them. And wow. It’s even more intimidating than I thought. There’s a lot going on. Between the Cru system and the seemingly endless subregions and appelations within the overall region of Bourdeaux it gets pretty involved.
But that intimidation is not to say it isn’t a region worth exploring. It definitely is. And it can be very rewarding.
The thing to keep in mind is that they aren’t all ridiculously expensive. They can certainly get there, but those prices are reserved mostly for the Grand Crus of the very famous Chateaus and the First and Second Growths. The pricing of many other subregions are very reasonable. I’ve found several within St Emilion that are a good value. They tend to focus more on Merlot in that area than those found on the other bank of the river that runs through the Bourdeaux region. The other side focuses more on Cabernet Sauvignon and many wines over there tend to be more expensive. Of course there are some really great values over there as well.
One of tonight’s wines is from St Emilion.
The other is a Loupiac. Basically across the river from where Sauternes are made. It’s like the little brother to Sauternes. Dessert wines for the win! (I almost typed “for the wine” there… hah.)
So let’s get to it eh?
Chateau Haut Brisson – Saint Emilion 2010 – Bourdeaux, France – 13.5% alc – about $28
One thing to look for when you are looking at Bourdeaux bottles is “mis en bouteille au chateau” which means it was bottled by the winery that grew the grapes. It’s similar to other areas that label their wines as Estate Bottled. Generally you can look forward to higher quality, of course it’s not 100% but it helps.
This wine pours a deep purple/red color. Has the look of somewhere in the medium range in terms of body from how it swirls in the glass.
Smells of deep red fruits with raspberries, cocoa, vanilla, coffee grounds/espresso. I can smell some oak with light alcohol heat. There were random wafts of gingerbread cookies and light pie crust. Those gave way over time to increased levels of cocoa and espresso beans.
Taste was of gobs and gobs of red fruits. Medium acidity. Spices (baking and otherwise) and oak.
Mouthfeel was medium to medium plus. Extremely grippy. Wonderful texture. Almost coating. Silky works as a descriptor.
Finish was long and vibrant with fruit and oak. Vanilla came in and out at times.
This bottle made me (and Kristy) want to keep coming back for more. It was seriously tough to put down. Totally worth the splurge if you see it and you want a seriously good Red Bourdeaux Blend.
Chateau Les Roques – 2009 Loupiac – Bergerac, France – 13.5% alc – about $15
So this guy is a dessert wine. It comes in a 375mL bottle. Which, honestly, is a good thing since a 750mL would be far too much unless you’re having a fairly large dinner party. That said, this isn’t exactly cheap considering you’re getting a half bottle.
So it pours a golden yellow. Looks very thick in the glass.
Smells of sweet fruit, light flowers, nutty undercurrent, light cream. At times a bit of bubblegum. Light rubber.
Taste is extremely rich. Very sweet. Nutty. Marmelade, oranges, pineapple, other tropical fruits, and a tinge of acidity.
Mouthfeel is full bodied and creamy.
Finish is long and lingering. Fruit and nuts.
Day 2 was even more aromatic and flowery. This is one of the first whites I’ve had that could use a little time to open up. Super intense.
This is seriously good stuff if you’re in the market for a dessert wine. They call them that for a reason. Just know that going in. If you don’t like sweet wines this might not be for you, but I think it’s certainly worth a try for anyone. And honestly I don’t think it’s all that expensive when you consider that you’re probably not going to drink glass after glass over one evening. We’ve had this open for 3 or 4 days in the fridge and it’s still holding up (of course we are using our trusty bottle stopper/pourer combination thingys). It’s a good nightcap until it runs its course.
Not sure what the next review(s) will be. We just stocked up pretty hard here so I’ll have to plan out the tastings for the coming weeks. It’s exciting times here lately on the wine front.
Until next time..