In-Store Tastings Thursday-Saturday!
Back in the day (that day being the 15th century), Bordeaux was the everyday drink du jour in England. Over the intervening centuries- and with the increasing regimentation and commercialization of the Bordeaux trade- the top growths have come to trade like shares of Google...and boast prices to match. Not surprisingly, along with the explosion in popularity of the top growths came a scarcity in quality Bordeaux wines at everyday prices. However, over the past ten years or so, a growing group of intrepid vignerons and importers has quietly laid the groundwork to establish a pipeline of high-quality wines in the $10-$15 price range that are perfect for everyday drinking. Many bottlings simply carry the generic appellation, "Bordeaux", but in a ripe, fat vintage such as 2009, these wines drink well above their humble appellation. And, in the case of the five stellar 2009s we've selected for you, one taste will reveal the absolute hors classe quality of these bottlings; they are rich, round, impeccably-balanced...and exhibit none of the skunky, sweaty, vegetative and diluted qualities that became the hallmark of inexpensive Bordeaux during the 1970s, 80s and 90s. We encourage you to try them all and to give serious consideration to case and mixed-case buys of your favorites.
Chateau Blouin, Bordeaux 2009- $12.99/btl ($10.60 by case or mixed case): Our first 2009 Bordeaux is also our most expensive, clocking in at a miserly $10-and-change the bottle when purchased by the case. Chateau Blouin is situated on the right bank of the Gironde River, in the village of Arveyres, and produces roughly 4,000 bottles a vintage of a ripe, rich and soft blend of 80% Merlot to 20% Cabernet Franc. If you're a fan of Merlot-based wines that are built for the immediate pleasure of drinking in copious draughts, look no further!
Wyatt Chardonnay, California 2010- $12.99/btl ($10.60 by case or mixed case):Many JWS regulars are big fans of importer Doug Polaner's Wyatt project, as all the wines are reasonably-priced, impeccably-styled and emphasize natural grape flavors rather than the exaggerated, reductive and oaky trickery you find in many value-priced California wines. Wyatt's 2010 is sourced from Mendocino, Lodi and Sonoma's Russian River...and with barrel fermentation being done on only the 20% portion from the Russian River, you can be assured that the natural freshness of Chardonnay is in the spotlight here.
Friday, April 20:
Chateau Haut-Bicou, Bordeaux 2009- $10.99/btl ($8.80 by case or mixed case):Today's value-priced 2009 Bordeaux features a 50-50 blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc...and it showcases all the best qualities of this extraordinary vintage: dark fruit, ripe tannins and an easy texture that invites drinking right now, although we suspect this gem has a good 8-10 year run ahead of it should you decide to cellar.
Cotes-du-Rhone Blanc "La Manarine", Gasq 2011- $13.99/btl ($11.20 by case or mixed case): Gilles Gasq's day job is that of oenologist for Paul Jeune's extraordinary Domaine de Monpertuis. In his spare time, he fashions some of the Cotes-du-Rhone's most distinctive and gently priced red and white cuvees. His white 2011- of which only 200 cases were allocated for the US- is a spicy, aromatic blend of Grenache Blanc and Clairette that shows a refinement and balance not normally associated with the usual heavy, high-alcohol, extracted whites from this warm region.
Saturday, April 21:
Chateau Le Roc, Bordeaux 2009- $11.99/btl ($9.60 by case or mixed case): We're back to Merlot dominant in the blend today (55%), followed by Cabernet Sauvignon (45%), Cab Franc (2.5%) and Malbec (2.5%). As with the Chateau Blouin, there's plenty of dark, roasty vanilla richness, but the other grapes lend plenty of grip and structure. We've already given this bottling a test-drive with a couple of our serious Bordeaux-loving clients, and the early reports are thumbs-up!
Riesling "Tradition", Barmes-Buecher 2009- $17.99/btl ($14.40 by case or mixed case): If you haven't had the pleasure of tasting one of Francois Barmes' supremely refined Alsace wines, be sure to stop in today! He's one of the leaders in France's natural/biodynamic wine movement, so his minimalist, hands-off approach marries seamlessly with the most transparent of all wine grapes, Riesling. Since this is Alsace, you'll be getting all the white peach, slatey, smoky goodness of this grape in a crisp, racy and bone-dry package. Unless you have reservations this summer at L'Auberge de l'Il, this wine is as close as you can get to one of the great gastronomic regions of Europe. And, for you lovers of frogs' legs, there's no better wine going to pair with those delicate little morsels!
More Beer, Please
This Friday will bring us yet another cascade of world-class craft brews. Read this list, and weep:
Dogfish Head My Antonia (Delaware batch)- 750 ml
Flying Dog In-Heat Wheat - 6 pk
Founders Old Curmudgeon- 4 pk
Lost Abbey Inferno- 750 ml
Rogue Chipotle- 22 oz
Stone Russian Imperial Stout- 22 oz
Brenna Wine Queue
Hopefully, the Bruins will advance in the NHL playoffs and stave off- for at least a couple of weeks- her eventual crushing disappointment when they lose. For now, at least, she'll have the nightly pleasure of watching cross-checks to the face and bench-clearing brawls...accompanied by several of these potent libations:
Bierzo Mencia, Gancedo 2006- $26.99
Cheverny "Pressoir", Domaine des Huards 2008- $19.99
Langhe Rosso, Vajra 2009- $15.99
Savennieres "Les Clos Sacres", Joly 2008- $28.99
St. Joseph, Andre Perret 2006- $26.99
Agrapart "7 Crus" Brut NV- $39.99