A couple of weeks ago I attended a tasting event called, “Bordeaux Under One Roof”, featuring Bordeaux wines priced at under $30 a bottle. While I confess I would not bother purchasing many of them (as you can find many very pleasant Chilean and Argentinian wines at cheaper prices), there were 4 or 5 that I found to be excellent value. This proves that, with careful selection, you do not need to spend an astronomical amount of money in order to enjoy a nice bottle of claret.
When looking for good Bordeaux at reasonable prices your best bet is to look to Bordeaux’s less famous appellations. It’s harder to find inexpensive Bordeaux from appellations such as Margaux, St. Julien, and Pauilliac; however, areas such as Cotes de Bourg, Fronsac, Moulis, Listrac, and the satellites of St. Emilion and Pomerol can offer up great value. You’ll notice that the wines listed below come from regions such as these.
Here are some tasting notes on 5 wines I thought were of good value. I’ve also mentioned where you can find these wines in Ontario.
Chateau La Grolet 2005: From the Cotes de Bourg. This was definitely my favourite wine of the tasting. The Chateau is certified organic and biodynamic. The blend is 70% Merlot and 30% Cabernet Sauvignon. There are beautiful aromas of red berries, cedar, and leather that really start to emerge after decanting. Its concentrated fruit flavours and smooth tannins slide easily over the palate. This wine will be at its peak in about 2 more years of aging, though it has the potential to age for 3 to 7 years in the cellar. La Grolet is $24.95 and is available at Vintages at the LCBO or through Le Sommelier Inc.
Chateau des Laurets 2006: From Puisseguin St. Emilion. This wine has juicy aromas of ripe dark berries, cedar, and black licorice. The tannins are still quite firm but should relax with a couple more years of aging. At $19.95 it’s a definite value and is available at the LCBO or through Lorac Wine Inc.
Calvet St Emilion 2006: From St. Emilion. A blend of 95% Merlot with 5% Cabernet Franc. Intense aromas of ripe red and black berries dominate along with notes of underbrush and mineral. The very smooth texture leads to a pleasant finish. It’s hard to pass this wine up at $17.95 available at the LCBO or through Mark Anthony Brands.
Chateau La Croix Canon 2002: From Canon Fronsac. It was nice to see a wine that had some maturity available for tasting. At seven years old this wine is now at its peak and is drinking beautifully with an abundance of leather, earth and dark fruit aromas. The tannins are soft and silky. It’s a real steal at $19.95. I couldn’t find this wine at the LCBO but you can contact the agents Rouge et Blanc at their website rougeetblanc.ca to find out more.
Chateau Pey La Tour Reserve 2006 Bordeaux Superior: Dark fruit aromas of black cherry and cassis dominate with hints of cedar and vanilla to add complexity. The tannins are still quite firm and could do with another couple of years of cellaring. It’s a good value at $21.95 and is available at Vintages at the LCBO. I found this wine more complex and interesting than the regular Chateau Pey La Tour which is listed at $14.95.