Tuesday, March 11, 2008

2005 Bordeaux Values

It has been a while since my last wine-focused blog posting. I hope our wine loving readers get a chance to see what we've (I've) been drinking here at Casa Dwyer lately by checking the "Recent Wine Reviews" section of the sidebar on the right of this blog.

Lately, I've been on a Bordeaux kick since 2005 is a highly touted vintage from this region. A complete alphabetical listing of Wine Spectator's ratings of 2005 Bordeaux is available here. I've gone the extra mile and subscribed to Robert Parker's ratings as well. I then tasted the wines to come up with 3 Bordeaux I'd recommend.

At this point in time, I believe Bordeaux presents a better value than Napa for American wine buyers even when considering the weak dollar. Pricing of Napa Cabs has increased to the point where it is challenging to find a great bottle for under $40. All of the Bordeaux recommended below can be had for less than $40; some as low as $15.

Like all French wines, Bordeaux is labeled based on where it is made as opposed to the types of grapes it is made from. Bordeaux wines are predominantly made from Merlot or Cabernet Sauvignon. Hence the irony in the movie "Sideways" when Miles proclaims he "ain't drinkin' no freakin' Merlot" and then proceeds to annoint his bottle of 1961 Cheval Blanc (made primarly of Merlot and Cabernet Franc, a grape "he's come not to expect greatness from") his most prized possession. So, to an extent if you enjoy Merlot and Cab you might enjoy Bordeaux- though Bordeaux (being "old world") tends to be a little less fruity than California Merlot or Cab on average. Also- Bordeaux is one of the few wines that get better with age. Though some of these wines are drinkable now- they'll be even better in a few years. But enough with the mumbo jumbo- on with the recommendations!

If these names aren't familiar to you- join the club. Jot these down, search one of them out at your favorite local wine store, give them a whirl and then post a comment to let us know what you think.

2005 Chateau Pipeau $30
92 Points Wine Spectator, 90-92 Robert Parker. I've been seeing this one pop up as a great value even in years prior to 2005. I still haven't tasted this wine- but I bought a few bottles. Recommending it here on ratings alone. Best price I've seen is at the San Diego Wine Company.

2005 Chateau Les Trois Croix $25
90 Points Wine Spectator, 88-89 Robert Parker. I tried this one at a tasting at the Hingham Wine Merchant, my most trusted local wine store, and really liked it. I bought a few bottles, cracked one open and liked it even more. Dick and Duncan really do it right down there- be sure to give their shop a try if you live in the Boston area.

2005 Chateau Puygueraud $18
92 Points Wine Spectator, 88-90 Robert Parker. This was a Wine Spectator Smart Buy and also featured at the Hingham Wine Merchant. I like it, but not quite as much as the Chateau Les Trois Croix. The Puygueraud is much more affordable though. I found it for a rock bottom price at Blanchards in West Roxbury, MA.


Further Reading:

Head on over to The Wellesley Wine Press (my entirely wine-focused blog) for more wine values.


Shell said...

Bob, I love reading your wine posts. I'll have to check out one or two of these Bordeaux. You sound like a fan of the Spectator - have you ever read Wine Enthusiast magazine? I prefer it to Spectator, finding it a bit more approachable. Nothing against the Spectator, just a different viewpoint.

Bob said...

Hi Michelle,

Wow- thanks for the positive comments about my wine posts. I appreciate it.

You're right- I am a fan of Wine Spectator. I feel like it is aligned with my level of interest these days, and the sheer number of wines they rate is impressive. I like their blind tasting philosophy, even though some may suggest that believing they taste all their wines blind is like believing in the Easter Bunny. I especially trust James Laube's California ratings. For other regions like Washington State and Australia, Spectator seems overly generous with the 90+ pointers. For French wines, I think Robert Parker has better coverage.

I'm more familiar with Wine Enthusiast from their wine accessory catalog, and of course their exclusive rights as the Eurocave distributor in the US. However, I did recently pick up a copy of Wine Enthusiast magazine (along with a half dozen other wine publications) at the Boston Wine Expo. I haven't read any of them yet, but based on your praise of Wine Enthusiast I'll be sure to give it a look. Thanks for the suggestion!

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