Bordeaux doesn’t have to be expensive to be good. That was the theme of a recent press seminar and tasting a Planet Bordeaux event in New York. Burgundy expert Michael Madrigale, head sommelier at Chef Daniel Boulud’s Bar Boulud, Epicerie Boulud and Boulud Sud in New York led the tasting of five wines from the region—all with an average retail price of $14.
As a sommelier in New York City, Madrigale noted that he has the luxury “of getting to taste a lot of expensive wine, but I get really jazzed to find great wine at a value.” At the top level, he said, “everyone is selling the same wines—there is more diversity at the value level.”
Here are five Bordeaux bargains.
1) Jaillance brut Cvuee l’Abbaye cremant de Bordeaux ($16). A blend of 70% semillon and 30% blanc de noirs, this sparkling wine is made with white juices from red grapes, aged for two years and fermented in a bottle. Compared to prosecco, which is aged in a tank, the cremant process is “so labor intensive, yet this is about the same price as a prosecco,” Madrigale said.
2) Chateau Thieuley Bordeaux blanc 2013 ($13). With 50% semillon, 35% sauvignon blanc and 15% sauvignon, this is a classic sauvignon blanc from Bordeaux, Madrigale said. “Very grassy and zippy, but also creamy.” It’s not just a “patio wine,” he added: “It makes me want to eat food.”
3) Chateau Bonnet Bordeaux rosé 2013 ($10). A dark rosé of 66% cabernet sauvignon, 24% merlot, this wine has good mouthfeel and a fresh, berry taste at the finish, Madrigale said. “I like cab rosés done in this style—you get the whisper of tannins and herbaceousness.” This one would be a good bridge between white and red wine for the table, he noted.
4) Chateau de Camarsac Bordeaux Superior Rouge 2011 ($11). A blend of 65% merlot, 35% cabernet sauvignon that is close to a medoc style wine and “a lot of bang for the buck,” Madrigale said. This wine could use a few years of aging for the tannins to soften up and the oak to get integrated, he said. “Give this another two to three years, and you will taste the oak.”
5) Chateau PeninCuvee Natur Bordeaux rouge 2010 ($16). The grower decided to make a 100% merlot, no-sulphur Bordeaux aged in casks, Madrigale said. “A lot of times the ‘natural’ thing takes over the character of the wine, but this one has something to say,” he noted. “I would have no problem drinking this today with a grilled ribeye, charcuterie, or pork with rosemary.”