The email asked if I wanted to taste some affordable red Bordeaux, the cabernet sauvignon and merlot blends that are the wines that remain the standard by which the rest of the world’s red wines are judged.
And, because affordable in Bordeaux means something completely different than it does to the Wine Curmudgeon, I got this.
Which is not to say that the Clos Beauregard ($36, sample, 13%) was not a terrific wine, because it was, and I had a wonderful time drinking it with the Big Guy. And, tasting this, it reminded me why red Bordeaux is still held in such high esteem, especially since Beauregard is regarded as a middling producer, good but not great.
The wine is mostly merlot with bits of cabernet franc and cabernet sauvignon to round it out, enough black fruit to be noticeable, and with a heft and body that New World merlots aren’t interested in. It’s a typical example of the kind of wine made in Pomerol, an area located on what’s called Bordeaux’s right bank.
A couple of high-end reviews of this wine described it as lush, which points to the difference in style between Old World and New World wines. Lush, in France, means the wine isn’t earthy in the way so many French wines, even the most expensive, still are. In California, lush means the fruitiness starts before the bottle is opened and ends a day or so after the bottle is empty. It’s a difference that is to be valued, regardless of which style you prefer.
Reviews of wines that don ?t need their own post, but are worth noting for one reason or another. Look for it on the final Friday of each month:
? Ch teau Malescot St. Exup ry 2005 ($28, purchased): This cabernet sauvingon blend from Bordeaux is exceedingly capable wine, and given that it comes from one of the vintages of the century, it's practically a steal. Having said that, it doesn't taste especially French, but more California — a plummy, peppery aroma, lots of red fruit, chalky tannins and a long finish. My brother, who sometimes contributes his thoughts on pricier wines for the blog, would probably enjoy this as a birthday present.
? Hess Collection Sauvignon Blanc Allomi Vineyard ($18, sample): Interesting and solid white wine from Napa Valley, which doesn't taste like too many other sauvignon blancs. That means a touch of oak that gives the wine a little more richness to go with with California grassiness and some citrus.
? LangeTwins Moscato 2010 ($13, sample): This sweet white California wine is clean and fresh, with aromas of orange blossoms and lime. But there isn't much in the middle, and the finish is short — it leaves a sweet aftertaste without any acid to compensate.
? Domaine Henri Perrusset M con-Villages ($20, purchased): Yes, $20 is a lot to pay for a French villages wine, but this comes with the Kermit Lynch imprimatur. So it's worth it. This chardonnay from the Macon region of Burgundy is almost elegant, which is very surprising for a basic level bottle. It has lots of apple and citrus zest, but also an underlying layer of richness that is not often seen on villages wines.