What struck the Wine Curmudgeon during the massive Bordeaux tasting in Dallas last month was not the quality, which was mostly excellent, or the prices, which were mostly expensive. It’s that almost 100 chateaux were represented, including some big names that one would think wouldn’t have to do these things. But producers from Margaux, Saint-Julien and Sauternes were there, just like those from lesser appellations like Pessac-Leogan and Listrac-Medoc.
But that’s the way the wine world is these days. Even some of Bordeaux’s big names have to hustle to make a living.
It’s no surprise about the quality or the prices because this was Bordeaux, and that’s the way things always are with Bordeaux. What’s funny is that so many people I talked to were so surprised about the quality. Apparently, unless one of the Wine Magazines anoints the vintage as Best of The Century, which didn’t happen with 2006, it’s not going to be any good. Think that way if you want, but I prefer to taste the wine first.
The 2006 wines that I tasted were approachable, even though young, and seemed sturdy enough to get better over time. What more can a wine drinker ask? (With the caveat, of course, that this is Bordeaux, and no one can really tell anything for at least another five years.)
After the jump, a few highlights from the tasting:
• The white wines, usually not given much credit, were well made and sophisticated. Worth looking for: Chateau Bouscaut, a white blend from Pessac, with wonderful mineral qualities; Domaine de Chevalier, a rich, herbal blend; and Chateau Latour-Martillac.
• In red, you can never go wrong with Chateau Figeac (though it was very young and could stand several more years of cellaring); Chateau Beauregard, also young; and Chateau Greysac, very traditional and very appealing.
• Two wines are worth noting because they they most definitely need to sit; otherwise, you’re wasting your money: Chateau Kirwan, a third growth, and Chateau Lynch-Bages, a fifth growth. The former was disjointed and out of sorts; the latter was beautifully incomplete. I’m not one for waxing poetic about wine, but both of these are waxable. In 10 years, they’ll be spectacular. And the Kirwan, at $50, is actually a decent value.
• The sauternes were also impressive. Chateau Bastor-Lamontagne had luscious honey flavors, and was remarkably pleasant for a wine so young.