For many people, the thought of Bordeaux conjures up images of expensive, highly-vaunted wines best enjoyed on someone else’s expense account. But, these tony wines represent only a small fraction of the wines produced in the region. Luckily for you, I’ve rounded up a selection of wines that are affordable, presently available in the market and ready to drink. These are not wines that require decades of cellaring, nor do they necessitate taking out a second mortgage to pay for them; they are just great wines at great prices.
Dry Whites & Rosé
Mouton Cadet 2012, Bordeaux, France, $10.00
Bringing together all white varieties — 60% Sauvignon Blanc, 30% Semillon, 10% Muscadelle – this wine has a shy nose, but proves to be more intense on the palate with fresh, slightly tropical fruit and good length.
Saint Glinglin 2012, Bordeaux, France, $15.00
Breaking the rule of Bordeaux’s reliance on blends, this wine from Richard Betz is produced with 100% Sauvignon Blanc. It’s otherwise a traditional approach with crisp acidity, bright citrus notes, slightly grippy with long length. Begs for food.
Château Haut Selve 2012, Graves, France, $20.00
A blend of 50% Sauvignon Blanc, 40% Semillon, along with the unusual addition of 10% Sauvignon Gris, this is a very pretty wine with notes of citrus, nectarine and hint of toothpick.
Benjamin de Vieux Château Gaubert 2011, Graves, France, $20.00
This wine leads with 60% Semillon joined by 40% Sauvignon Blanc. Showing classic citrus and restrained use of oak, this wine has tremendous depth, likely due to the heavy use of Semillon. Very elegant and capable of aging.
Château Ballan-Larquette 2012, Bordeaux, France, $12.00
This rosé combines 50% Cabernet Sauvignon, 35% Merlot and 15% Cabernet Franc. It is a very pretty wine with floral and strawberry aromas and flavors and vibrant acidity.
Château Champ de Fleuret 2010, Bordeaux Supérieur, France, $10.00
A blend of Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc, this wine shows some complexity with blackberry, black cherry, spice and eucalyptus notes and long length.
Château Féret-Lambert 2010, Bordeaux Supérieur, France, $18.00
This blend of 90% Merlot and 10% Cabernet Sauvignon has aromas and flavors of plum, blackberry, spice and oak, with a medium+ bodied palate and medium+ tannins.
Château de Lavagnac La Grande Dame 2010, Bordeaux Supérieur, France, $20.00
This wine is comprised of 90% Merlot and 10% Cabernet Franc from limestone-rich soils on the Right Bank. It offers up meaty, cinnamon, black cherry and oak aromas and flavors with medium+ tannins, elegance and long length.
Cotes de Bordeaux
Château la Croix Saint-Pierre 2009, Blaye Côtes de Bordeaux, France, $15.00
With 70% Merlot, 20% Cabernet Sauvignon and 10% Malbec, half of this wine sees 12 months of oak aging. It is meaty with red fruit and slight spice and oak.
Château Perenne 2005, Blaye, France, $15.00
A blend of 86% Merlot, 12% Cabernet Sauvignon, 2% Malbec, this wine hails from the stunning 2005 and is actually the current vintage in the market. Showing beautiful development with red fruit and spices, it is still fresh on the nose despite its age.
Château La Rame la Charmille 2009, Cadillac Côtes de Bordeaux, France, $20.00
Produced from 65% Merlot and 35% Cabernet Sauvignon, this wine displays rich red fruit, spice and nice oak, culminating in long length. Very elegant.
St.-Emilion & Satellites
Château des Landes 2010, Lussac St.-Emilion, France, $14.00
This wine is a blend of 80% Merlot, 15% Cabernet Sauvignon and 5% Cabernet Franc and delivers terrific value. Vibrant acidity with rich plum, slight herbal notes and long length.
Château de Malengin 2009, Montagne St.-Emilion, France, $20.00
A product of the renowned Rothschild family, this wine is a blend of 70% Merlot, 20% Cabernet Franc and 10% Cabernet Sauvignon, with 60% of the wine is aged for 14 months in 2nd fill oak barrels. Blackberry, slight menthol, spice and integrated oak, with long length.
Château La Chapelle aux Moines 2009, St.-Emilion Grand Cru, France, $23.00
Bringing together 75% Merlot, 5% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Cabernet Franc, this wine displays ripe red fruit on the nose, joined by spice and wet leaves on the balanced palate.
Château Castéra 2010, Médoc, Bordeaux, $22.00
A beautiful blend of 65% Merlot, 25% Cabernet Sauvignon, 5% Cabernet Franc and 5% Petit Verdot, aged for 12 months in oak (20-30% new). Blackberry, plum, cedar, herbal and mint aromas are echoed on the palate, with long length. Classic.
Château La Garricq 2010, Moulis, Bordeaux, $24.00
This blend of 50% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot, 20% Petit Verdot was aged for 12 months in oak (30% new). It offers black fruit, cedar and spice on both the nose and palate, along with firm tannins.
Château Paveil de Luze 2010, Margaux, France, $35.00
Bringing together 70% Cabernet Sauvignon and 30% Merlot, this rich wine displays notes of perfume and candied red fruit, with flavors of red fruit, black fruit and oak, along with full body and firm tannins.
Barton & Guestier Passeport 210, Sauternes, France, $25.00
This wallet-friendly Sauternes is a blend of 80% Semillon and 20% Sauvignon Blanc with vibrant acidity balancing the sweetness along with fresh citrus fruit, honey and sour candy.
Château Piada 2006, Sauternes, France, $55.00
Relying almost exclusively on Semillon, 1% Muscadelle was added to the blend. The intense nose yielded notes of apricot, honey, citrus and spice and, while more complex than the Barton & Guestier, was slightly less fresh and vibrant.
Still confused about Bordeaux wine? Learn to decode this wonderful region.