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COOL VERDEJO

FLASHY RED BORDEAUX

DÓCIL WHITE

NEW STONY SANCERRE

MAN, OH MAN, WHAT A WINE!

ELEVEN BUCK
AMADOR ZIN

HARD-TO-BELIEVE PASO ROBLES CABERNET

STYLISH WASHINGTON MERLOT

SLEEPER of A CHARDONNAY

SUSSUDIO ???

FLORAL ALBARIÑO

SARDINIAN WHITE

NEW SONOMA RHONE-ISTE OF NOTE

REMARKABLE PINOT

LAKE COUNTY ZIN

STELLAR NEW ARTISAN RIOJA

GREAT GRUNER VELTLITER $13.99

NICE LITTLE PINOT $9.99

STONY RIESLING

BLAYE ME!
$14.99

NEW MADIRAN
$14.99

DRY MUSCAT
FROM AOSTA

FORAGING FOR PINOT NOIR

MARSELAN...A HYBRID OF CABERNET & GRENACHE

BEST BUYS
Good Wines for $5-$15

CASTELÃO BARGAIN

STELLAR BLAUFRÄNKISCH ESTATE

CAMPANIAN DELIGHTS

COLORFUL ZIN

DOURO DYNAMITE

PORTUGUESE RED BARGAIN

GRAND SYRAH FROM AN UNUSUAL PLACE

SERIOUSLY FINE KIWI SAUVIGNON BLANC
$21.99

WHITE BURGUNDIES OF NOTE

MARSANNE BARGAIN

CHERRYISH TUSCAN RED SALE $10.99

DRY NEW YORK RIESLING

PROSECCO FOR ADULTS

BILLIONAIRE'S WINES UNDER $30!

BARGAIN WHITE BORDEAUX

PIERCINGLY GOOD
WHITE

TOP OF THE LINE
CREMANT

ANOTHER RULLY GOOD WHITE

UNIQUE BUBBLY DESSERT WINE

RESERVE QUALITY RIOJA

BARBERA OF NOTE

LETTUCE SHOW YOU A GOOD PINOT NOIR

SUPER VERONESE SALE $12.99

PIEMONTE'S GRAND VIN BIANCO?

DELICIOUS, FRESH ROSÉS

GREAT GRUNER VELTLINER

GOOD ELEVEN-BUCK CHIANTI

FLOWERY, CURIOUS RED

OLD FAVORITE KIWI SAUVIGNON IS BACK

OLD PATCH RED
ZIN BLEND

MONCUIT'S GRAND CRU CHAMPAGNE

HONEYED MUSCAT

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FIZZY LAMBRUSCO

 

 

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2008 SF INTERNATIONAL WINE COMPETITION
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A Few Bordeaux Wines In Stock


CHATEAU TOUR de MIRAMBEAU
The Despagne family owns a hand-full of estates in Bordeaux and their wines have been gaining great attention from the French wine media.  

This estate is located in Naujan-et-Postiac, pretty close to Libourne.  We have a fabulous Sauvignon Blanc from Despagne, along with his "reserve" bottling of red, called Cuvée Passion.  

Recently arrived is the 2010 "regular bottling," a wine which offers remarkable depth and complexity for $13.99.  (It's labeled as 'Reserve,' even though it's their entry level wine.)
If you're a Bordeaux fancier, I can't think of a better value for everyday drinking.  This wine is predominantly Merlot, but has plenty of dark fruit notes and a mild cedar and sandalwood quality on the nose.  The palate is amazingly complete for a fourteen-buck red.
Pair this with a grilled steak or lamb...






 
The cellar at Tour de Mirambeau.
 

Previous vintages have gotten great accolades in the Guide Hachette and the wine is deserving of praise.  About 70% Merlot, 30% Cabernet Sauvignon (40 year old vines), the 2010 Cuvee Passion (used to be labeled "Grand Vin" until recently) shows a lovely black fruit fragrance, a touch of an herbal note and some cedary, woodsy notes from its maturation in oak.  Though it will certainly soften with additional bottle aging, this is perfectly drinkable right now, especially with a grilled steak or rack of lamb. 
You'll find the wine to be bigger and flashier than the 2008 and 2007 which were both quite good.  It is a wine which doesn't require cellaring and it's quite showy right now, especially with good vittles.

A side note:  Some producers from Europe were visiting and they had some Bordeaux wines which struck me as over-priced.  I mentioned we liked the wines from the Despagne family and they nodded, agreeing the wines are good.  Since they arrive directly, the prices are especially reasonable, so these people knew they'd been "aced" out in terms of quality and value.


CLICK HERE FOR PHOTOS OF THE DESPAGNE WINERY AND "LUNCH".
Currently in stock:  2010 Bordeaux Supérieur "Cuvee Passion" $26.99
2010 Bordeaux Supérieur 13.99 (best buy)


 
 




CHATEAU FALFAS
If you have a look at the map posted above this entry, you'll notice the Cotes de Bourg region just across the river from the Medoc, nearly directly across the water from Margaux.

This is where you'll find some modestly-priced Bordeaux and it's only, in our view, fairly recently that we're finding wines of interest there.  Sure, the Cotes de Bourg area claims to have had vineyards planted there for something like 1800 years, but it's only in the year 2010 that we at Weimax have found something worth recommending to customers.

Maybe we're a bit slow to notice?
 
The Chateau Falfas estate takes its name from a fellow who was the head of a local parliament back in the late 1600s.  Today it's owned by Veronique Cochran, whose husband John, an American gentleman, recently passed away.  Her father was a major pioneer in biodynamic farming practices and the Falfas vineyards have been farmed biodynamically since 1988.
 


The 20 hectare estate is planted with Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and a small portion of Malbec, or Cot, as the locals know it.  We tasted three decidedly different wines from this estate and found all of them to be quite good and were smitten by their top, deluxe bottling. 

It's called "Le Chevalier" and this is predominantly Cabernet Sauvignon with some Cabernet Franc and 20%, or so, of Merlot.  The vines are quite old, some dating back to the 1930s we're told.  The 2006 vintage spent about a year and a half in brand new oak, much like top wines from the best, most famous, most expensive estates around Bordeaux.  It's a remarkable wine and though I'm not accustomed to seeing a $37.99 price tag on wines from the Cote de Bourg, I'm also not accustomed to tasting wines of this caliber bearing that relatively modest appellation.

It's nice, though, to see the work of "over achievers."  They give those famous estates a real run for the money!
 
The 2006 is quite drinkable now, especially paired with beef or lamb.  It seems to have structure for additional cellar time, but the tannins are not coarse or hard-edged.  
 
Currently in stock:  2006 CHATEAU FALFAS Cote de Bourg "Le Chevalier"  $37.99
 
 
 






CHÂTEAU GLORIA
This estate has long been a favorite of Americans as the name is easier to pronounce than numerous other wineries in Bordeaux.  It doesn't hurt that the wine is typically pretty good and the price is usually within the realm of reason.

The late Henri Martin, who died in the early 1990s, lobbied endlessly for Château Gloria to be included on the list of "classified" estates in the Medoc.  His argument was a good one:  the property consists of parcels which had all been pieces of other classified estates (Château Léoville-Poyferre, Château Gruaud Larose, Château St Pierre and even Château Duhart Milon, a Pauillac estate that owned a patch in Saint Julien at one time).  Unfortunately for Hank, these parcels would take on the classification of the new owner.  Had Leoville Las Cases purchased these, they'd suddenly be considered as a second growth.  Since Monsieur Martin was not the owner of a classified estate at that moment, the parcels lost their "nobility", so to speak.  

Today the estate comprises something close to 47 hectares.  It's about two-thirds Cabernet Sauvignon, one quarter Merlot with a small percentage of Petit Verdot and Cabernet Franc.  It's run by Martin's son-in-law, Jean-Louis Triaud who also runs the classified growth of a neighboring property, Château Saint-Pierre.

The wine is not the most flashy or compelling Saint Julien, but it is a reliable bottle and, usually, an above average wine.  Gloria represents the appellation well, actually.  The wine is 'typical' in most vintages and if the price is right, it can be a good value.

We currently have the 2008 vintage, a fine year for Bordeaux in general and Gloria in particular.  The vintage produced a fairly sturdy wine and it's certainly drinkable now and ought to continue to develop over the next 10+ years.  We found decanting this an hour before dinner is helpful and the wine is, uh, glorious with red meats.

The 1999 vintage, recently arrived from Bordeaux, is a good example of this producer with a bit of bottle aging.  It's bouquet is nicely developed and showing well...classic.  We suspect this can be cellared for another ten years, in fact.
 
 
Currently in stock: 
 CHÂTEAU GLORIA 2008 SALE $49.99
CHATEAU GLORIA 1999   SALE $79.99
CHATEAU GLORIA 2001  SALE $69.99


 




 

 

 
CHATEAU LESTRILLE-CAPMARTIN
2009 Bordeaux Supérieur $14.99 
2006 "Cuvée Prestige"  Sold Out


Jean-Louis Roumage owns this property and makes a range of wines. Wine guru Michel Rolland's lab is hired to run lab analysis of the wines here, though I'm not sure he makes too many suggestions regarding the wines.

 We're partial to his/her 2009 "Cuvée Tradition," a wine which spent a year in oak.  This is one of the best "fourteen buck Merlot" wines you can buy, easily more complex than any of the watery California Merlots in a similar price range.  It's become a "by-the-case" wine for many customers, testimony to its quality and value.

The Cuvee Prestige was outstanding!  Here's a wine which, much like first growth Bordeaux, has been matured entirely in brand new oak barrels.  The fragrance of the sweet, cedary, coffeeish oak is striking.  The wine is delicious, being drinkable now and having a bit of cellaring potential as well.   We have the 2006.  Our late colleague Bob Gorman laughed when he tasted this, recalling a lot of the really famous estate's wines we've tasted from 2006.
"How do these guys do it?" he asked.  "They are unknown and yet they've made wines which far outclass many of the prestigious wineries."
 

Estelle in 2011
 

They are big supporter of local artisans, too.  On a recent visit, there were dozens of interesting pieces on display and for sale.
 

The Cuvee Prestige spends a fair bit of time in new oak and it's a remarkably good bottle arriving here at less than $20.


White wine has improved dramatically at Lestrille over the past half a dozen years.  And it's perfect when paired with shrimp, oysters or crab.
 

The entire range is impressive.
And price-worthy.




In the cellar at Lestrille-Capmartin.



This "watering can" is used to top up the barrels, keeping them full and preventing the wine from being exposed to air.


Jean Louis and his daughter Estelle.



Corks.

 

CHATEAU LARQUEY

This is another one of the 10,000 estates in Bordeaux, so how can anyone be familiar with but a tiny percentage of the wineries there?

We're always looking for good value wines, as you might know if you've perused these web pages.

Larquey is a 30 hectare vineyard located at the southern portion of Bordeaux.  It's actually, if we've read the map correctly, a short distance due east of Sauternes and about 15 miles north of the Marmandais region.  Drive northeast and in an hour you're in Bergerac.  

The soils are clay and limestone, so Merlot is the predominant grape in the Rochet family's vineyard.  

We tasted a line-up of red Bordeaux and this wine got the thumbs up from the entire Weimax crew.  It's said to be 80% Merlot and 20% Cabernet Sauvignon.  

We like the dark berry fruit and hints of cassis in this wine.  

It won't get a high numerical score from critics who think they can assess a wine on some mystical hundred point scale.  

That's due to two particular factors:

1).  It doesn't have a hundred dollar price tag...the higher the price, the higher the score.  And it helps if the wine is made by some famous consulting enologist who's known to these critics, as that adds points to this score.

2).  Critics give more points to wines that are undrinkable.  A wine must portray the impression of needing 20 years aging to be given high marks for "aging potential."  That's why wines such as Beaujolais, intended for immediate enjoyment, get short shrift from critics because you can enjoy them tonight.  Same for this sort of wine.  It's perfectly enjoyable this evening, especially when paired with a steak or roast.  As it's not aggressively tannic and astringent, critics give lower scores to a wine you can put on the dinner table half an hour after buying it.  

Now we're not saying this is a hall-of-fame candidate or that it will change your life.  But for thirteen dollars, it does leave you a few bucks to go buy a nice steak and fire up the grill.

Currently in stock:  2012 CHATEAU LARQUEY Bordeaux Supérieur  $12.99


 


 



CHATEAU HAUT-BANA

The Medoc has vineyards all over the place and there are some good values in the areas north of Pauillac and Saint-Estèphe where this marvelous bottle comes from.

It's a wine made by Philippe Berard, whose family has long cultivated vineyards and raised cattle in the northern Medoc.
Our late colleague Bob was surprised to learn President Obama had invested in a winery in Bordeaux.  But he forgotten to put new batteries in his hearing aids.  It's "Haut Bana, not Obama, Bob."

We've tasted several vintages from this guy and he clearly knows how to make a stylish little Bordeaux and he sells it for honest money.

Now it's not a wine in the same league with hugely prestigious neighbors such as Latour, Lafite or Mouton and, thankfully, it costs pennies to their dollars.  But you will recognize the wine as coming from Bordeaux and you may even recognize it as a pretty good Medoc wine.

The vineyard has a fairly high percentage of Merlot and the wine shows some nicely plummy red and black fruits with a lightly cedary note from the oak aging.  

We have the 2011 vintage in the shop presently...this is a vintage where, for us, the major, high-priced bottles from Bordeaux are a disappointment.  Yet the 2011 Haut-Bana is a medium-bodied wine that's showing well in its youth (and it's not made with the idea you need to set is in the cellar for a decade...the wine is actually rather supple on the palate).  It' s actually very close to the same level of quality we found in their 2010 wine.

Currently in stock: 2011 CHATEAU HAUT-BANA Medoc $16.99






CHATEAU SAINT AUBIN

One of our French connections was interested to scope out affordable wines from the highly-regarded 2010 vintage in Bordeaux and came back with this lovely wine.

The Chateau Saint Aubin (not to be confused with the Burgundy wines of St. Aubin) is situated about a 45 minute ride north of Chateau Lafite-Rothschild.  

In the 1700s, the estate was devoted to raising horses and it was some sort of equine training school.  Today, though, it's all about viticulture and enology, as they've been making wine sine the 1870s, or so.

The wine of this estate is made with the idea of being drinkable in its youth and so you need not cellar this for a decade to be able to enjoy it.  
The sandy, gravelly soils are Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot, Merlot and they even have a few rows of Carmenere.  The wine is aged in small oak barrels, with about 15% of the cooperage being brand new.  The wines of this estate are best known in Germany and Belgium as they've not been exporting much to the USA market.

We like the dark plum notes of the ripe fruit of the 2010 vintage.  You can sense the bit of cedary oak here, too and the tannins are supple and round.  It's a delightful twenty-buck bottle of Bordeaux.
 

Currently in stock:  2010 CHATEAU SAINT-AUBIN Medoc  $19.99


 

CLOU DU PIN

The Fontana family has been in the winemaking business since 1950.  These days they have about 290 hectares of vines in the area of Gensac, 15 miles, or so, east and a bit south of Saint-Emilion.

They make wines people can afford to buy and drink, not bottles intended to be stashed in a wine rack and forgotten about while they're gathering dust.

We've now had a couple of vintages of Clou du Pin and we're able to say the Fontanas seem to have a clue! 

The wine is 75% Merlot with 15% Cabernet Franc and 10% Cabernet Sauvignon.  You can taste nice dark fruit in the wine and there's even a whiff of a cedar or oak note.

We don't find much in the way of tannin, as this is meant to be consumed while it's young.  Eleven dollars won't buy you a bottle of wine in Napa and in most cellars you'd be luck to taste a few wines for this amount of money.

Pair it with a grilled steak or a nice piece of lamb.  

Currently in stock:  2012 CLOU DU PIN  $10.99

 

 

 

CHATEAU ROLAND LA GARDE

The Blaye region is a bit below the radar of most wine drinkers, though people knowledgeable about Bordeaux wines know there's some good viticulture and winemaking in these less-prestigious sub-regions today.

It wasn't always the case, however.  

Bruno Martin took the reins of this little property in 1990.  Roland, though, was probably not a relative.  In fact, the legend is that Roland roamed the region in the late 700s...
He is said to have tossed a javelin into the Gironde river in the direction of Saint Julien (which is across the water)...
But poor Roland, fighting for his Uncle Charlemagne, should have donned his Kevlar, as he was nailed in battle, according to the history books.  Maybe someone tossed the javelin back?

Olivier Martin has been tending some 25 hectares of vines, but Bruno has extended the property and today cultivates 29 hectares.  The vines are roughly 20 years of age, so they're mature and have their best years in front of them.  The property is predominantly Merlot,  with 20% of the land devoted to Cabernet Sauvignon and 6% to Malbec.

Neither Bruno, nor his dad, have used chemical weed killers in the vineyards.  They simply did not and do not believe that sort of farming was/is a good viticultural practice.

They make several wines...we have their "Tradition" bottling in the shop.  It's a 2010 vintage and is rather showy, especially for its modest $15 price tag.

Martin employs a cold soak prior to the fermentation, which is conducting using indigenous yeasts.  Two-thirds of the vintage was matured in barrique with the rest in large tanks.  We understand the wine is approximately 85% Merlot and 15% Cabernet Sauvignon.

We find a mildly woodsy, cedary tone to this wine and it's nicely drinkable right away.  It's a medium-full bodied red wine with light tannins.  It's fairly supple on the palate on its own and tastes even smoother with food.  This can probably be held another 3 to 5 years, but it's showing well presently.

Currently in stock:  2010 CHATEAU ROLAND LA GARDE  $14.99

 

CHATEAU VIEUX DOMINIQUE

This small estate is situated about 12 miles north of Pomerol, but it's outside the boundaries of fancy and expensive appellations.

The estate comprises something like 26 hectares and it's mostly Merlot planted on chalky clay soils.  

The wine is predominantly Merlot with a dash of Cabernet Sauvignon.  They do a pre-fermentation maceration at cool temperatures and following a standard vinification, the wine is kept in contact with the skins to (hopefully) extract the maximum character from the fruit.  

It's not a terribly complicated wine, but we found it to be very well-made and it's the sort of wine you can pair with lighter fare to full-throttle red meat dishes.  

Our late colleague Bob Gorman was a master at roasting chicken and this would pair well with such a main course.

It's not a wine intended for extended cellaring, but it's ready to drink right now and can hold for a few years.

 

Currently in stock:  2011 CHATEAU VIEUX DOMINIQUE Bordeaux Supérieur  $12.99

 

 


More Bordeaux We Like
 

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