|Sometimes we do little things when we’re young and we don’t then realize how they will impact us in the future. It seems the wine world has been calling my name for quite some time. My first words in English were, “Mom, can I have some grape juice?” No kidding. As a small child, while in swimming pools, I would take in mouthfulls of water and let loose a steady stream of it like a fountain. Hmmm. I do that still, only now it’s with wine into spit buckets. I’ve been to enough tastings to know not everyone can spit wine well, but I can. Childhood friends used to make fun of me when I drank soda. “You ever see how Pete drinks a Coke?” I would take small sips and taste each one, while my peers chugged theirs. I took French instead of Spanish in high school because I thought I would eventually move to Canada to play hockey. Comes in handy when I travel to Bordeaux. Speaking of which, as previously mentioned, our petits chateaux or value Bordeaux section has grown, and is growing still, now that the first batch of value wines with TWH’s seal of approval recently arrived from Bordeaux. So let me introduce you to another off-the-radar Bordeaux that drinks far past its price point, 2009 Château Beauguérit from Côtes de Bourg.
For those of you unfamiliar with the concept, here’s the skinny. The famous wines of Bordeaux make up less than 5% of the region’s total production. In great vintages, the other 95% get good grapes too, and some make outstanding wines with them. How do you find the good ones? It’s a numbers game, but that’s why we’re here, we’ll play the game. We looked at a negoce’s catalog and picked 24 different inexpensive, off the radar wines, and they were shipped to us as samples. Over the course of a month, we tasted them. Out of the 21 bottles of red wine, we chose 4. One of them was the 2009 Château Beauguérit. What did we like about it? It’s honest, not contrived. It’s not an oak chipped, overripe, blowzy wine. It’s true to its place of origin, Côtes de Bourg. It’s a blend of 70% Merlot and 30% Cabernet Sauvignon, typical for Côtes de Bourg. The day we tasted the 2009 Château Beauguérit, we kept going back to it saying things like, “This is really good, it’s clean, it’s bright and balanced, has a great finish … is that really the price?” Yes, that’s the price. More online research doesn’t yield much, but that’s probably why its price is so fair.
|Côtes de Bourg is on the right bank of the Gironde estuary just across from Margaux. Once a thriving appellation due to its proximity to water, its status waned as Pomerol and St. Emilion were “discovered” by the wine world. Well thanks to folks like François Mitjavile with his Roc de Cambes, and others, the Oxford guide to wine calls Bourg “an appellation worth watching.” Maybe that’s what made Isabelle and Alain Fabre purchase the property in 2000. The château is located in the village of Lansac and the property dates back to the 18th century and has had a long reputation for producing wines of high quality. The vines cover 18 hectares and are planted in clay and chalk soil. The vineyard has direct southern exposure, and the vines average 25 years of age, farmed deploying Agriculture raisonnée. Fermented in steel tank the wine sees no oak, and is fresh and lively, with deep cassis-like notes. It’s just another expressive beauty from the ever-friendly 2009 vintage. It can be drunk now and has the structure to last up to 10 years. For the price, this one’s a no brainer!|
|So yeah, I don’t quite remember if I attended any grape juice tastings as a child, but I do remember that I preferred a brand different than the most popular. Just goes to show you, keep an eye on the kids, the little things they do can sometimes lead to big ones later in life. Who knew that imitating a fountain, sipping Coca-Cola in tiny tastes, and French class got me to a morning meeting in Bordeaux with a negociant saying, “I envision an entire section in our shop full of these wines: The Petits Chateaux Section?” – Peter Zavialoff
Oh yeah, Happy Bastille Day!!!
Please feel free to email me with any questions about value Bordeaux, Bordeaux in general, or how I’m passing the time until footy season starts again: firstname.lastname@example.org