Cheap Bordeaux - is there such a thing?

I have just arrived back from the most intense, exciting, exhilarating and enchanting trip to Chile. What an amazing country and what amazing wines. But you will have to wait for the report since there is so much to write about, and I haven’t started!

In the meantime I was straight back in the saddle yesterday tasting through a bunch of inexpensive Bordeaux wines. I had recently noticed that my ‘cheap’ Bordeaux collection in the cellar had been ravaged by time and unconscionable, alcoholic mice. But it’s always nice to have a go-to Bordeaux that didn’t cost an arm and a leg, that drinks like a Chateau Palmer, and does the job – really well.

So Marina had set up an appointment to taste a few small gems from Bordeaux and I tagged along. I am very glad I did. This is what we finally agreed upon:

Chateau Vieux Meyney 2015

Chateau Vieux Meyney has been owned by the de Taffin family since the 1920s. It is located on a plateau and hillside in the town of Villegouge, close to the Dordogne River, just north of Fronsac, on the right bank of Bordeaux, where the Merlot grape thrives in clay-sand soils. The vineyard location and sloping terrain ensures the optimal ripening of the fruit. The wine is aged in stainless steel tanks to allow it to mature rapidly for early drinking and enjoyment of the soft Merlot fruit and its enticing aromas.

Very pleasing structure to the wine. Fresh and lively but with an undercurrent of red and blue fruits. The lack of oak allows the merlot grape to shine and this lack of interference gives you a very easy, delightful quaff. No harsh edges nor ungainly acidity.

Chateau Grimard 2015

Chateau Grimard is a classic styled Bordeaux, offering a deep red-purple color, a lush bouquet, and ripe plummy-cassis fruit with good structure. It is a wine with more definition and character than most other petite chateaux, which is in part due to the excellent location of the property. It is vinified and matured in stainless steel tanks to ensure that it gives immediate pleasure at the table.

Chateau Signoret 2015

Located in the heart of the Entre-Deux-Mers, Château Signoret is a family estate. The vineyard covers 11 hectares. The terroir of the estate is mainly composed of clay and limestone. It is ideally suited for the growing of Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc. The blend of these grape varieties gives a better aged wine. But this wine is best when drunk now and for the next 2-3 years. It has a little more oomph than the previous two wines. A little more black fruit, a little more concentration. Probably better with a large meal than just a hunk of bread and cheese.

All three of these wines are ‘table wines’. They are supposed to be purchased in bulk and simply stored in some nice cool spot away from the everyday ho-hum of life. But then brought out at every opportunity and especially in a moment of peeved angst when you lean forward to turn off the rubbish that now pops up on TV at every opportunity. Did I come back to a different country?

To empower you to by these wines in bulk here is this week’s special:

Mix and match any of the 3 wines into a case (12 bottles) and pay just $12 per bottle - $144 per case

Mix and match any of the 3 wines into two cases (24 bottles) and pay just $11 per bottle - $132 per case

Mix and match any of the 3 wines into three cases (36 bottles) and pay just $10 per bottle - $132 per case.

Please send me your orders. I plan to order the wines, based on demand, this coming Monday. Wines will be delivered by Wednesday. CC details with order please.

Normal retail price per bottle is $15.00. BIG savings for the ‘yugest week of the year’ – The Donald.

All the best

 

 

An Oregon Taste Off

It’s been a while since I had the opportunity, or the inclination, to put together a combo pack of wines. Whilst I have been tasting some excellent wine the last few weeks it was not until today that the chance to pair and try two very different, yet both very delicious wines, came up.

Earlier this morning I had my taste buds excited by a range of wines from Oregon. As many of my readers know, if you are going to buy Pinot Noir from the West Coast you really need to delve into the wines of this State.  This is where Pinot likes to grow, and wine-makers who are passionate about making great wine grow the best Pinot Noir in Oregon. The first flight of wines were from the J.K. Carrier vineyard. This winery, started in the late 90’s is owned by Jim Prosser. A lifelong wine-man, he apprenticed in Oregon and with Roumier in Burgundy and finally decided to put his own initials on a wine label. He is a true believer in allowing acid and fruit to co-exist for pure pleasure; and his pinots deliver, every last little drop. We began with his entry level pinot – the Provocateur. This is the blend of juices left from barrel sampling his 5 sourced (and estate) vineyards. It’s an easy drinking table wine, slightly expensive but every bit as good, if not better, than many entry level Burgundy pinots. His first run, blended pinot is Vespidae – sourced from all his vineyards and left to mature in barrel for 18 months, undisturbed, like a baby in swaddling cloth. His three single estates are Antoinette, Anderson and Shea Vineyards. I have written short tasting notes below.

The story continues with a tasting about 4 hours later, of wines from the Harper Voit Vineyards. Drew Voit, the wine maker popped in to taste me on his line-up of 4 pinots. I mentioned that J.K. had been in just a few hours earlier but he wasn’t fazed! Nor should he have been. What a great way to taste the differences between two of the most accomplished wine-makers of pinot noir in Oregon. The wines spanked. Very different in taste and substance but both sets of wines equally delicious. If I could just win the lottery, I would be a very happy drunk – table wine at my house would be J.K whilst waiting for Chef to prepare dinner and by second course, Voit Pinot Noirs to finish. With a full staff to clean up and wash up I would sit back in my leather armchair and contemplate a world without pinot. Yuk!

Tasting Notes:

J.K. Carriere Vespidae 2013 - $48.00

Aged in barrel for 18 months – allows the wine to become mellow. Flavors of Turkish Delight, pomegranate and bright cherry. Very fragrant, very supple. Low alcohol, deference to a Volnay style. Sweet, feminine and delicious.

J.K. Carriere Shea Vineyard 2013 - $77.00

From possibly the greatest pinot noir vineyard in Oregon. This is the bass player to the Carriere Quartet. Ripe, rich pop in your mouth chocolate covered cherries. Fuller body, meaty but not gamey. Think standing rib roast drippings!

J.K. Carriere Anderson Vineyard 2013 - $77.00

Wonderfully aromatic aroma – honeysuckle, rose petal orange skin. Ultra-smooth high octane red berried juice. The saxophone player in the Quartet. Spunky, with a touch more acidity than the Shea. Bright fruit, elegance, dreaminess.

J.K. Carriere Antoinette 2013 - $77.00

The brightest of the four. Definitely the singer – Ella meets Whitney Houston. Even more aromatic than the Anderson. Bright red cherry, red currant, pomegranate. And all baked together to make the best pie your mother ever made.

2nd Flight – Harper Voit

Harper Voit Strandline 2013 $49.00

Notice the difference between these two wine-makers. J.K’s wines are a little leaner, allowing the fruit to resonate, Voit’s wines are more akin to a late night Blues concert. The Strandline leans on sweet fruit, black currant and berries. Touch of baking spice and cookie dough.

Harper Voit Perrydale Hills 2013 - $64.00

Soft beckoning cherries. Very elegant, velvety texture. More feminine in pose. Some earthy grip on the palate combined with more black cherry, cedar and nougat.

Harper Voit Bieze Vineyard 2013 - $78.00

Most savory of all the pinots. Great aromas of slow-cooked duck and bacon fat. Fennel, cedar and anise shine. Great length on the palate and a warm, subtle finish. Reminiscent of a great Vosne Romanee. Delcious.

The Offering

Oregon pinots are not inexpensive. The cheap ones tend to be disgusting, so a complete waste of money. These wines will offer a great tasting platform – either in pairs over a romantic dinner or as flights with friends and family. Either way, I really want customers to enjoy the subtleties and nuances of each wine, hence the combo box offering.

One bottle of each wine, 7 in total, for a half a baker’s dozen! In other words, take all seven, the Vespidae is FREE and you pay only $422 in total. Being that Jim Prosser makes less than 100 cases of each of his single vineyard estates, the offer is limited by what my distributors can allocate to me. But for someone looking to put wine into their cellar either for immediate drinking, or to taste over the next decade, there are not many pinots from Oregon that can beat this line-up.

A memorable day of tasting! Wines will be deliver here by Friday. Please order by 4.00pm tomorrow.

All the best

McKinlay Pinot Noir

The summer isn’t the best time necessarily to be tasting a lot of new wines. Traffic is typically slow with parents away paddling on beaches and kids sidling up to the Tiki Bar (or is it the other way round?). And historically Rye becomes a very sleepy town. But I had the opportunity earlier this week to try some new Oregon Pinot Noirs and really, who can say no to an offer like that? One in particular caught my fancy.

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