There has been much speculation surrounding the new releases from Bordeaux, one of the world’s most respected wine growing regions, and after having sampled some of the various wines on offer, I am happy to report that they are most definitely meeting and exceeding all my expectations.
The growing conditions for Bordeaux in 2009 have been near perfect, especially through the all important ripening and harvesting seasons (The temperature in Léognan on the 29th September was a gorgeous 82 degrees!). The vintage has drawn comparisons to the exceptional 2005 wines and it will be exciting to see how these two great vintages will develop over time.
While everybody is scrambling after the first growth wines of Mouton Rothschild, Latour and other delights unobtainable for mere mortals, I would like turn your attention to the true gems of the vintage, great wines at great prices. A telling attribute to the wines of 2009 is the velvety ripeness of the fruit, making this a very approachable vintage with immediate drinking very much on the cards.
Starting out on the left bank in the Haut-Médoc, Chateaux Bernadotte ($25.99), a wine produced by the owners of Pichon Lalande in Pauillac is one of the best wines to come from this estate. The proportion of Merlot has been increased in recent times to give a more supple wine yet still retaining distinctive licorice and herb notes, complex spice box aroma with a medium to full bodied structure. Drinkable now but will age gracefully.
Margaux and Pauillac, two appellations of great renowned are home to the next two wines. Château Mongravey ($35.99) in Margaux is just about as sumptuous and smooth as Bordeaux gets, greeted by a deep purple hue, this wine seduces with its intense cassis and raspberry fruit moving through to a full and fleshy mouth-feel and a long, lingering finish. By contrast, Château Fonbadet in Pauillac ($39.99) is a much more powerful and masculine wine with firm tannins and a well defined, focused palate. A hidden gem in Pauillac, Château Fonbadet was created just after the 1855 classification system was introduced with many of its vineyards originally belonging to its illustrious 1st and 2nd growth neighbors including Pichon Baron and Lynch Bages.
With so many great wines arriving from the left bank I need to quickly turn your attention to some of the equally stunning examples from appellations across the Gironde river and beyond.
The Côtes de Bourg may be one of the lesser known appellations in Bordeaux but is certainly home to some wines that give a lot of bang for the buck. Roc de Cambes ($64.99) is no exception to this rule, owned by Francois and Emilie Mitjavile, this is a predominantly Merlot driven wine showing a cocktail of red berry fruits infused with a cinnamon spice offering a creamy texture and just a hint of youthfully aggressive tannins. This wine is reminiscent of the Mitjavile family’s Tertre Roteboeuf from Saint-Émilion , a high accolade considering the Roc de Cambes comes at a fraction of the price.
To round out our first look at the new arrival 2009 Bordeaux are two wines, from the appellations of Lalande-de-Pomerol and Saint-Émilion respectively. The Domaine des Sabines ($29.99) from Lalande-de-Pomerol has quickly become my personal favorite, representing exceptional value for money. Everything associated with ‘classic’ Bordeaux aromas leap from the glass; supple plum fruits, smokey tobacco and cedar spice perfectly complement the silky texture and fine grained tannins. Moving on to the overachieving Fleur Cardinale Grand Cru ($44.99) from Saint-Émilion is a very concentrated wine, rich yet poised. This richness comes from the very low yields producing grapes packed with flavor and expressive aromatics creating a full bodied wine which may be best enjoyed after careful cellaring over the next five years.
This is just a glimpse of the wide selection of Bordeaux we have available, so if you are as excited as me about the wines produced in this fantastic vintage come down to Beltramos on Saturday June 9th and July 7th for our new arrival Bordeaux tastings, and try the wines you know and love and the wines you are yet to discover.
Christian B., Beltramo’s Wine Consultant