A few weeks ago, I was invited by Sona Rai to the Today's Bordeaux 100 wine tasting sponsored by the Bordeaux Wine Council (CIVB). The 100 wines selected were chosen out of 300 entries consisting of reds, whites, roses and sweet (Sauternes). The selection of finalists occurred over a two day period by a panel of five members of "Le Wine Buffs" appointed by the Bordeaux Wine Council along with three distinguished judges (Mr. Levin Dalton, Mr. Carson Demmond and Mr. John Osborne). It was a pleasure meeting two of the "Wine Buffs" April and Mollie.
I wish I had 2 days to try all 100 as I am sure I missed a lot of exceptional wines. I did manage to taste 21 from the list which encompassed all regions and types of wines. Unfortunately, some of the whites were getting warm while sitting on the tasting tables. Below, I will mention a few from each category that stood out.
From the 300 entries, only one rose was selected. This was the Chateau Bonnet Rose 2011. It was a 50% cabernet sauvignon and 50% merlot blend. The Bonnett Rose had a wonderful nose of fresh picked strawberries which continued to the taste, along with some raspberry flavors and a hint of watermelon. I have to admit I don't drink rose's very often but this was an enjoyable summer wine with great balance and a relatively long finish. This retails for about $13.
The Chateau Perron 2011 is a white wine made from a blend of 50% sauvignon blanc, 40% semillon and 10% muscadelle. Unfortunately, the whites from Bordeaux are overlooked by many but are exceptional wines. This white is from the Graves region of Bordeaux which is mainly known for it's red wines and also one of the first regions to give notoriety to Bordeaux. The Perron had a floral nose along with the sweetness from the Semillon. The semillon also gave some body to the wine. The flavors included grapefruit and orange peels along with a soft hint of honey and oak. The acidity is low enough that it could pair well with a salad and not compete with the acidity from the dressing. Would also pair nicely with fish or my favorite lobster. This retails for about $15.
A second white that I really enjoyed was the Chateau Haut Selve 2011 also from the Graves appellation. This is a blend of 50% Sauvignon Blanc, 40% Semillon and 10% Sauvignon Gris. This was similar to the Perron with the floral notes along with some green apples and grapefruit. These followed on the palate along with some vanilla from the 6 months in "new oak" barrels. This retails for about $25.
On the red side, there were three that stood out for me. The first was the Chateau Tour de Pressac 2009 from Saint-Emilion Grand Cru Appellation. Don't confuse this with the Grand Cru classe. This is a blend consisting of 72% Merlot, 14% Cabernet Franc,12% Cabernet Sauvignon, 1% Carmenere and 1% Malbec. I am a fan of Cabernet Franc and Carmenere. This is a medium to full bodied wine that has plenty of red fruits and the Cabernet franc contributes plenty of tobacco flavors along with some nice spices. There was some vegetal aromas along with some mushroom and red fruits. I also picked up some black pepper and some slight oakiness. A well structured wine with long lasting flavors. I would pair this with my wife's incredible goulash. This red retails for about $35.
The second red worth noting is the Chateau Bernadotte 2004 from the Haut Medoc region. This was a blend of 59% Cabernet Sauvignon, 36% Merlot, 3% Cabernet Franc and 2% Petit Verdot. This is full-bodied wine that has dark red fruit on the nose and on the palate along with some cedar and coffee on the back end with some noticeable, but acceptable, tannins. This would pair well with a pepper crusted steak. This retails for about $27.
The other red that I really enjoyed was the Chateau Gros Caillou 2005 from the Saint-Emilion appellation. This is a blend of 65% Merlot, 25% Cabernet Franc and 10% Cabernet Sauvignon. This was more of a medium bodied wine with the limestone terrior ever present on the nose and some mineral flavors. The Caillou also had cherries on the nose with plums, black currant, cedar and pepper on the palate. A complex but extremely well balanced wine. This would pair nicely with veal or other white meat. A great buy at $23.
The final table at the tasting included three Sauternes, which I tried two of the three. Sauternes are sweet wines from the Sauternais region of the Graves Appellation. Unlike the other Sauternes that I tasted, the Barton & Guestier 2010 only used 80% Semillon and 20% Sauvignon Blanc, where as the other blended with Muscadelle. This golden colored wine had plenty of honey on the nose along with some dried fruits and nuts. The honey was predominant on the palate along with apricots and golden raisins. Although I prefer port over a sweet wine, this was smooth and enjoyable. It retails for $25.
Each of the wines at the tasting are sold in the US and range in price from $9 to $35. All 100 wines can be found on http://www.bordeaux.com/us/wines.
Thanks Sona for a wonderful evening of fine wines.