A Few Bordeaux Wines In Stock
CHATEAU TOUR de MIRAMBEAU
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 2009 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: 2009 Bordeaux Supérieur "Cuvee
2010 Bordeaux Supérieur 13.99 (best buy)
- 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
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
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
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
2009 Bordeaux Supérieur $14.99
2006 "Cuvée Prestige" Sold Out
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.
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
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
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.
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.
Simard estate has a long history in St. Emilion and it was, for many
years, run by the Maziere family. The owner, Claude Maziere, had the
notion of selling one, well-aged vintage at a time. In fact, the
bottle aging has long been this wine's claim to fame: It was nicely
cellared and while perhaps not the most compelling and complex wine, it
was nicely mature and reasonably priced.
The estate is today operated by Maziere's nephew, Alain Vauthier. He
runs the little estate of Chateau Ausone, a rather nice little winery with
a good reputation these days. ((In case you're not familiar with St.
Emilion, Ausone is currently the top dog in the appellation and its wines
cost a small fortune.))
So now Vauthier is running Simard and he's just released the 2003 vintage. I understand he will change the release policy of the
winery and they may offer younger wines in the future.
For now, though, the 2003 has landed. It's mostly Merlot
with a fair bit of Cabernet Franc. It's old-fashioned, bare bones
Bordeaux. Low in alcohol, the aromas feature a bit of red fruit. Oak
is not a part of this wine...
The 2003 is dry and mildly acidic, so pairing it with a grilled steak is
ideal. It's not a blockbuster, fruit bomb of a wine. Old
fashioned. Old school.
Currently in stock: 2003 CHATEAU SIMARD St.
Emilion Sale $29.99 (last bottles)
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
It's a wine made by Philippe Berard, whose family has long cultivated
vineyards and raised cattle in the northern Medoc.
- Our colleague Bob was surprised to learn President Obama had invested in
a winery in Bordeaux. But he forgot 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 2008 vintage in the shop presently...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).
Currently in stock: 2008 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 2009 vintage in Bordeaux and came back with this lovely
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
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
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
- 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 2009 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: 2009 CHATEAU SAINT-AUBIN
CHATEAU de FONBEL
you're looking to really impress your friends and empty your bank account,
then splurging for a bottle of St. Emilion from either the estate of
Chateau Cheval Blanc or Chateau Ausone is a grand idea. The 2008s
will set you back about a thousand bucks, while the 2009s fetch nearly
Now if you're not a professional athlete, movie star, high tech CEO or
lotto ticket winner, you might have fewer monetary resources
available. That doesn't mean, however, that you have to drink
If you're wed to numerical point scores, as are so many folks, please keep
in mind that the price tag is often factored into those ratings.
Surely the critic is obliged to give, at least, a few more points when the
wine carries a three or four digit price tag over those in the
After all, what would consumers and readers think if the critic preferred
the 'house wine' from an estate instead of the Grand Vin?
The Chateau de Fonbel is a property owned by the Vauthier family.
They own the Chateau Ausone in St. Emilion, one of the two most
highly-prized wines of the appellation.
And Ausone, like Cheval Blanc, can be a remarkably good bottle of
wine. But who amongst the peasant population spends a thousand bucks
for a nice bottle of wine?
The Fonbel estate is located on the flatlands of St. Emilion and it
comprises about 16 hectares of vineyards. Sandy and gravelly
soils. They cultivate Merlot, of course, but 20% of the vineyards
are Cabernet Sauvignon, 7% Petit Verdot and 3% of the terrain is devoted
We had their 2008...very nice...I bought a bottle of the 2009, a warmer
vintage and the wine was of good quality, but it was a shade riper and,
for me, a bit less complex. Bigger, sure. Probably higher
scoring on the Critic's Scorecard. I don't care, though.
We purchased a bottle of the 2006...it strikes me as showing a tad more of
the Cabernet component in this vintage than in the 2008. Good wine!
There's a nice touch of oak on top of the plummy, red berry notes of the
Merlot. This is a medium+ bodied Bordeaux and lovely to enjoy right
now, though it can probably hold well for another 5-10 years.
And it's affordable.
Currently in stock: 2006 CHATEAU DE FONBEL St.
CHATEAU ROLAND LA
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
lovely little red comes from a small property in the Lalande de Pomerol
appellation. This is a quick five minute drive northeast of
beautiful downtown Pomerol.
There are several estates with the name Chaigneau and this little property
is owned by a fellow who's a notary in Libourne for his day job and the
winery is a bit of a get-away.
The property comprises about 12 hectares of vineyards, with 80% of the
site devoted to Merlot. The rest is planted with Cabernet
Franc. The vineyards average 25 to 30 years of age.
They claim to do a green harvest to thin the crop and at harvest, they
pick by hand and then have a sorting table to further enhance the
After about a month-long fermentation, the wine is then racked into large
cooperage and small barrels for its maturation. The total production
tallies to perhaps 5-thousand cases.
We like the nice plummy notes of the Merlot and there's a mildly cedary
note from the oak. The wine is medium-bodied to medium-full and the
texture on the palate is fairly supple, despite the youth of this 2010
vintage. It may cellar nicely, but we think this is probably showing
its best now and over the next three years...
Currently in stock: 2010 CHATEAU CHAIGNEAU Lalande
de Pomerol $19.99
Bordeaux We Like
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