Tag Archives: Bargain Bordeaux wine

Boots On The Ground In Bordeaux And 2014 Chateau Couronneau


Bordeaux – 1 April 2017. After two reasonably smooth flights, I arrived in Bordeaux on Wednesday afternoon, preparing to take part in the annual En Primeur tastings. If you follow these kind of things, you probably have heard some pretty good news so far. As I type this, I have only tasted six of them, so I will reserve judgement, at least until after tomorrow, where a warehouse full of barrel samples awaits. In addition to the barrel samples, I am also here to taste already bottled wines and to take in the zeitgeist of this year’s proceedings.


It’s great – each year, there are always new things to see, to learn, to taste, and to figure out. But there are also many familiar things as well. One such exercise is now bordering on ritual, and that would be the Saturday rental car pickup and the drive out to Sainte Foy la Grande to visit the Hecquets in Montravel and the Piats in Ligiuex which I did again early this morning. First stop was at Château Couronneau to visit Bénédicte and Christophe Piat.

The three of us sat in their living room pictured above and caught up on things. They’re on the fast track to becoming empty nesters, as their youngest will be leaving the family home soon to finish her studies abroad. And in the wine department, Christophe explained to me that beginning with his 2015’s, he has changed the type of filtration he uses. The net-net of this is that the wines need a bit more time after bottling before they are fully resolved and ready to drink. I tasted through their entire line of 2015’s, which were all recently bottled, save the blanc, which was bottled in late December. Change in filtration or not, the 2015’s were going to need some time in bottle regardless. We also spoke at length about the 2016 vintage, and they asked me if I had tasted any barrel samples yet. “Just six,” I said, yet still smiling, for the first three were at Château Margaux. With a chuckle and a wry smile, Christophe matter-of-factly inferred it was standard practice to taste Margaux and then Couronneau due to their similarities (his idea of an April Fool’s joke).

16th Century Château Couronneau – 1 April 2017

Yep, That’s a 16th Century Moat – 1 April 2017
Christophe went on to say his 2016’s were plentiful and the quality was outstanding. They too were going to need some time. The wines from Couronneau are usually ready to go once they’re released, but the Piats cautioned me that the past two vintages will be at their respective best five years after release. So what vintage to drink now? The 2014, of course. I asked Christophe his thoughts on the matter, and he feels that the 2014 exhibits lighter acid levels than the past two vintages, and that the fruit is more supple and silky. He admits that the 2014 Couronneau is fine to drink now, but it will be at its best 2 to 5 years from now. I popped a bottle shortly before leaving San Francisco, and I just loved the aromatic expression and the medium-full body of this lovely wine. The Piats’ biodynamic practices have obviously paid off!

The Vines Will Follow Soon, But The Vineyard Is Alive

We recently received our final drop of the 2014 Couronneau, so it’s in stock at the moment. So try a bottle today. If you like it, we’ve got a super deal for you. If you already know and enjoy this wine, the deal is good for you as well. Beginning tonight, we are offering a “special full case discount.” It’s much better than our normal discount, and we do not want to be disorderly and advertise this unheard of price in all the usual online places. If you would like to know what the discount is, simply load 12 or more bottles into your online shopping cart and you will see what it is. ***Please note: You can easily remove the items from your cart should you not wish to make the purchase.

Alors. The (semi-) mellow part of the trip is now finished. Over the next 7 days, I am going to be hit with a barrage of barrel samples from the 2016 vintage. I am ready. Should any of you be curious about any particular 2016 sample, please feel free to drop me a note, and I will do my best to taste it and report back with my observations. In the meantime, should you wish to profiter from a super deal on a fine bio-dynamically farmed wine from a seriously great vintage grab a full case (or two) today!Peter Zavialoff
Please feel free to contact me with any questions or comments about the 2016 Bordeaux En Primeurs, Bordeaux in general, or English Football: peter@wineSF.com
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Filed under 2014 Bordeaux, Barbecue Wine, Bordeaux, Peter Zavialoff, Value Bordeaux in San Francisco

2010 Château de Blissa, Côtes de Bourg

 

So far we’ve told you all about two out of the five petits chateaux wines that just arrived from Bordeaux, the extraordinary 2010 Tour du Roc Milon, Pauillac and the almost sold-out 2009 La Croix Calendreau, St. Emilion Grand Cru. Back in spring, we received 24 sample bottles from one of our suppliers in Bordeaux. Over the span of 5 weeks, we tasted 4 at a time, and decided from there which ones we wanted to import. Most of the samples are of good quality, but we insist on focusing on the great ones. The great ones that offer great value, that is. The price spectrum amongst this current quintet ranges from $11 to $39. We’ve told you about a $25 and a $39 wine so far. Now it’s time to talk about the $11 number, the 2010 Château de Blissa, Côtes de Bourg.

 Cotes-De-Bourg-Map
Again, the Côtes de Bourg is a Right Bank appellation west of Libourne just opposite the estuary from Margaux. It’s one of France’s oldest wine producing regions. Historians have traced its origins back to the Second Century AD, the Romans planting “Vitis Biturica,” which many believe to be an ancestor of Cabernet, in the clay and limestone soils. Côtes de Bourg thrived in the Nineteenth Century, its proximity to the estuary giving it both easy access to shipping routes as well as keeping it virtually frost free. Later, as the Right Bank appellations of Pomerol and St. Emilion gained in prominence and investment, Côtes de Bourg took a bit of a back seat to them. There is one clear exception, Roc de Cambes, the undisputed top chateau of the appellation, but today Côtes de Bourg’s reputation is that of an historical locale that produces some quality wines for very fair prices.
bliss

Okay, 2010 Château de Blissa. First off, let’s just say that when we’re talking about Bordeaux wines in this particular price range, the percentage of wines that make the cut are EXTREMELY low. We continue to ask for samples. We continue to taste the wines. Without being too insulting, let’s just say that not only do we pass on over 90% of these wines, the remains of the respective sample bottles aren’t even packed up by our staff to come home with us. Things were different with the 2010 Château de Blissa. There was much to like about it. It won’t make you forget about Pomerol … because it’s not Pomerol. It is a well-balanced red Bordeaux at a price point that enables us to pop the cork for any occasion, any day of the week. Made from 40% Merlot, 30% Malbec, 20% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 10% Cabernet Franc, it’s an honest wine that outperforms its price point by a long shot. Currently run by Stéphane Destrade whose family acquired the property in 1950, de Blissa can trace its roots all the way back to 1640!!!

I was recently contacted out of the blue by someone looking for Bordeaux Clairet, and got into an email conversation about her last trip to Bordeaux and Côtes de Bourg in particular. She informed me that she and her husband really loved the red wines from Côtes de Bourg because they were honest Bordeaux wines made by farmers for their family estates. The prices of the wines are very fair considering the quality. So she came in last week and picked up a bottle of the 2013 Château Armurey Bordeaux Clairet (yes, it’s in stock!) and a bottle of the de Blissa. She came back this week and bought a full case of the de Blissa. So that’s saying something. We offered a Côtes de Bourg as part of our petits chateaux offer last year. It was gone quickly. This, of course, makes us all proud here at TWH. Our efforts (and much spitting of wines that we don’t dare purchase) truly pay off, and we take great pride handing our customers a bottle that says “Imported by Wine House Limited,” because if that’s what’s written on the back label of the bottle, you know what’s inside is going to be great!Peter Zavialoff

 

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Filed under 2010 Bordeaux, Cotes de Bourg, Peter Zavialoff, Petits Chateaux