Quelle bonne surprise:
15 Bordeaux Values
New reviews of wines that won’t break the bank from Bordeaux’s lesser-known appellations
Bordeaux is France’s largest wine region, so despite the fact that big names and high prices seemingly dominate, it only stands to reason that there are numerous values to be had. Head outside the power appellations of the Médoc or the Right Bank, and suddenly there’s a whole new world of Bordeaux.
The chalk and gravel soils of Fronsac are an ideal place to start exploring. These wines aren’t as big in body, and tend to be aged in far lower percentages of new oak. The result is wines that are slightly angular in profile, with rigid backbones when young, while featuring juicy, brighter red fruit profiles with lots of tobacco and mineral notes that will soften with modest cellaring. With the silky and refined style of the 2008 vintage, these wines have more immediate charm than usual. Merlot and Cabernet Franc are the two lead varieties, with occasional drops of Cabernet Sauvignon or Malbec.
CHÂTEAU MOULIN HAUT-LAROQUE Fronsac 2008 Score: 91
This dense red has a core of dark plum and currant fruit, but also racy and vibrant, with the dark fruit split by snappy olive, tobacco and mineral notes that cut through nicely on the herb-tinged finish. Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon and Malbec. This sees longer aging than most (15 to 18 months) but only one-third in new oak. Drink now through 2015. 4,000 cases made. —J.M.