|Are you sipping comfortably?|
China has an appetite for Bordeaux. The wines from this southwest wine region of France are popular worldwide and have a privileged position in the China wine market. There are reasons. Bordeaux is big and no other wine region produces so many good and even great wines. However, over the past three or four decades the prices of Bordeaux’s best wines have risen exponentially? Bordeaux has become a land of the rich and poor with the great Chateaux getting richer and the lesser Chateaux getting poorer. This begs a question, are the great wines of Bordeaux worth their exorbitant prices? No, unless of course someone else is buying. Even a better question is, can bargains still be found in Bordeaux? Yes!
As I have expounded in this column in the past, bargain hunting for Bordeaux wines can be dangerous to your palate. There are few more disgusting wines than cheap and insipid 11 ~ 11.5 percent alcohol Bordeaux. However, with some effort and a lot of tastings; palate pleasing, good value Bordeaux wines can be found in Shanghai. When bargain hunting never pick wines from the great vintages as these wines carry premium price tags, instead selectively choose wines from lesser vintages. Here are some of some recommendations of lovely Bordeaux reds in fair to poor vintages that cost under $300 RMB retail price.
Chateau Listran, 2007 and Chateau Neurin, 2007 are Haut Medoc red wines that prove good winemakers can still make fine wines in difficult vintage. Both wines offer plenty of dark fruit flavors with firm tannins a decently long finish. They both feature the typicity that Bordeaux lovers demand. In the 300~400 RMB price range I highly recommend some Cru Bourgeois wines, a classification just under Grand Cru Classe, that are sure to please even the most discerning palates. Chateau Caroline, 2006 from Moulis en Medoc, is a concentrated wine replete with dark berry flavors with a touch of spice and a pleasing soft tannic finish. Chateau de Cartillon, 2004 and Chateau Larose-Trintaudon, 2004 are two wines at their drinking peak with mature black fruit flavors, rounded tannins and complex and persistent finishes.
Spend a little more, about 700 RMB or less, and you can taste an exceptional Boredeaux red, the Chateau Les Ormes de Pez, 2001. This producer has been a rising star in Saint Estephe appellation making some of the most intense and perfumed wines of Bordeaux at a price that won’t break the bank. While not cheap, the wine out performs many Bordeaux wines costing three or four times its price. Finally, all these good-value Bordeaux wines pair beautifully with grilled or roasted beef and lamb dishes as their tannins help distinguish the savory flavors and facilitate digestion of the red meat.