I was recently asked by a wine publication my thoughts on Bordeaux wines & their viability in restaurants today, given the high prices of the top chateaux.
There will always be a market for Bordeaux wines. The top producers have done a stellar job on marketing themselves over the centuries from Thomas Jefferson to the 1855 Classification to Robert Parker’s landmark reviews on the 1982 vintage (& the ensuing stronger American following) to today & the demand created by the Orient (Japan, Korea & China). The demand is still high…and the prices are too.
One of the challenges with being top end is…..”out of sight, out of mind”. Napa Valley has experienced some of that & we are now seeing the development of “Super Seconds” from the top echelon Cabernet producers such as Araujo, Harlan, & even Screaming Eagle, where each is developing a quality wine. more affordable & therefore more attainable, which will help keep their brand visible to the wine professionals & the general public.
Yes, Bordeaux has done that too….a LONG time ago…..& those wines are seeing a renaissance in recognition & demand.
Another viable option for the sommelier working on the restaurant floor, especially in the U.S., is searching out & finding “boutique” chateaux which can offer their clientele a taste of true Bordeaux, without the grandeur, formality AND price of the Classified Growths.
Here is a such a “boutique”, artisan Bordeaux producer, which has been owned by a family for so long, they can’t even recall how long. This Chateau is located in the heart of the Pomerol plateau on the Right Bank. The soil consists of glacerial gravel deposits with underlying clay. The vineyard is organically farmed with NO chemical or synthetic fertilizers, etc used. The 1996, pictured here is a blend of 85% Merlot % 15% Cabernet Franc, which was fermented in concrete & stainless steel & then aged in Allier oak, 50% of which was new.
The 1996 is still quite a baby….hard & unyielding….but has a distinct stony character with red currants, cedar, sandalwood nuances, rich, well structured, AND with lots of finesse, refinement & grace. NO fruit bomb here!