By Dan RhodesIn conjunction with our retail store, Spectrum Wine Auctions recently put together an informative and enjoyable tasting event which took place at the Legends Wine Storage Facility in Irvine. http://legendcellars.net/. The event highlighted any number of themes including 2009 Bordeaux, 2010 Burgundy from the recently discovered star of the Spectrum Discovery Team, Pierre Ravaut, as well as some Library Selections. Here are some of the highlights!
In a world too often infatuated with the “latest and the greatest,” 2009 Bordeaux is already “yesterday’s news” for many given the unprecedented press and scores generated by the soon-to-arrive 2010s. Hold on a minute, didn’t Parker just call 2009 the greatest Bordeaux vintage of his lifetime? (Or something like that!)
There an old saying which notes, “A rising tide lifts all boats.” Such is clearly the case with 2009 Bordeaux. While most of our blue chip classified wines have long sold out, we still have a plethora of high quality, value-priced Bordeaux perfect for the here and now. The beauty of 2009 Bordeaux wines is their lush fruit which bodes well for Bordeaux-lovers who actually drink the stuff!
Please feel free to stop by our store located at 1063 McGaw Ave in Irvine to check out any and all of these Bordeaux bargains currently on our floor. Here are some of my highlights with notes!
Château Poitevin 2009 Médoc…$15.99
Full on Médoc wine. Nice hints of Cab Franc (chocolate, carob, floral) provide above-average complexity for the price. Nice black currant/black cherry fruits. Lot of wine here for $15.99!
I really liked this because: (A) It’s cheap! Even I can afford it but also (B) The wine captures an old school take on Cabernet Franc and the Médoc. Like I said, there’s a lot to like here for the price.
Moulin d’Issan 2009 Margaux…$17.99
Nice earthy tones that course through the nose and palate. Black currants, carob, brown spices. Lot of wine here for the price. Complexity and intricacy that go way beyond the price tag. Second label for d’Issan (Margaux).
Having visited this estate many times, I have always liked the wines of Emmanuel Cruze and Château d’Issan. For my money, it’s the most beautiful Château in all of Bordeaux replete with a moat and drawbridge that’s positively medieval. Visiting d’Issan is like traveling in a time machine. This is a gorgeous wine that’s very well made and classically Margaux.
Château Coufran 2009 Haut-Médoc…$24.99
Large percentage of Merlot here. Works nicely in conjunction with the vintage. Plush assemblage of assorted red and black fruits. Still maintains a sense of place. Fruit and oak balanced nicely. Hints of milk chocolate on the finish. Great wine for the price. Makes you re-think your position on Merlot. (Wine Enthusiast 90-92)
Coufran is one of the best wines out there with which to introduce the nascent wine lover to Bordeaux. Plush with soft, rounded tannins, the 2009 is particularly attractive and should convince anyone of the unique greatness of 2009.
Château Larrivet Haut Brion 2009 Péssac-Leognan…$37.99
Very serious wine. Leads off with a complex nose of smoke, African violets and road tar. Classically produced, old-school wine. Stony, gravelly black fruits with hints of bitter chocolate and fig. Outstanding complexity. (WS/WA 91)
Like most 2009s, the wine is quite accessible with a lot of “baby-fat” but don’t sell short their capacity to age as all of the requisite components are there and in balance. What I like about this wine was its classic approach to the terroir of Pessac-Léognan. Only Bordeaux can produce wines like this.
Château Phelan-Segur 2009 St. Estephe…$47.99
May well be the best wine ever produced at this estate. Leads off with an enticing nose of violets and ripe berries. Layered complexity comprised of red and black currants, crème de cassis and minerals galore. Underlying foundation of St. Estephe clay comes through loud and clear supporting the wine’s inordinate complexity. Sophisticated earthiness to the palate. Fantastic under-$50 wine! (WS 92)
The last great Phelan-Segur that I personally can recall was the 1989. I loved that wine but this is much better! Very happy to see this estate at long last lives up to its reputation.
Our retail store has many wines such as these; older stocks that we have direct imported from Europe out of Burgundy, Bordeaux and the Rhône Valley. We are continually on the look-out for library selections that make sense in terms of both quality and price.
Corton Charlemagne 2009 Ravaut…$69.99
Spectacular wine! One of the top wines of the event! Leads off with a nose of butterscotch and brown spice followed by a stunning palate of crème caramel, caramel apple and golden delicious apple. Sundry hints of mango, pineapple, minerals, limestone, allspice and nutmeg all add up to a drop dead gorgeous affair that seduces via intricacy and complexity rather than power, per se. Drinking really well right now!
This was one of the evening’s top wines and speaks to the grandeur of traditionally made white Burgundy. I hear so often at tasting events and dinners lines like, “Who cares about the whites?”Or, “The first duty of any great wine is to be red.” It’s a very short sighted attitude that, in my opinion, is predicated upon the halo effect engendered by an ocean of white wine mediocrity and sameness that’s produced here in California. European white wines are distinctive, flavorful and very interesting. Many are truly great! Such is the case with this masterpiece from Ravaut. One sip and you will remember what attracted you to Chardonnay in the first place. The wine is rich and round, for sure, but the acidity and gout de terroir that’s at play makes for a first rate wine experience worthy of any connoisseur’s palate. Don’t conform to the opinion of the crowd or the press. Let your own palate be your guide!
Nuits St. Georges 2006 “Les Cailles” R. Chevillon…$74.95
For many, the wine of the night! Lots of wine here for $75 and 2006 red Burgs continue to be, in my opinion, underrated. Classic NSG nose of iron ore, forest floor and decaying leaves. Black fruits galore on the palate with hints of Asian tea, black truffles and Portobello mushrooms. The wine delivers elegant rusticity with quite a bit of polish and sophistication for Nuits St. Georges. But what else would you expect from Chevillon. Magret de canard, anyone?
We have just a small amount of this wine left.2006 is a much underrated red Burgundy vintage. Lost in enormous shadow of the 2005 vintage is a very ripe, clean and terroir driven vintage that may not quite have quite as many majestic peaks as 2005 but still has its fair share. And this is one of them. Don’t hesitate to call me on this or any of the other wines highlighted in this blurb.
Domaine Pierre Ravaut
I have chronicled this story before but for those unaware, our Spectrum DI team (including your truly) discovered this domaine in Burgundy two years ago. Upon tasting numerous bottles and samples in his cellar over the better part of a morning, we were convinced that we had come upon an undiscovered star. This is old school Burgundy, traditionally made and terroir bound. The prices are extremely fair and reasonable given the quality of what’s in the bottle. The 2010s are still a bit tight but will make for sound drinking over the next 5-10+ years. For those looking for something a bit more immediate and plush, we still have a bit of inventory from his 2009 vintage in stock. Give a call!
Côte de Nuits Villages 2010 Ravaut...$19.99
Crisp, sour cherry, red delicious apple fruit. Cranberry nuance. Very high pitched at this point with bright, high-pitched fruit and acidity. Everything balanced though. Wine evolves very well in glass and tasted way better on second day. Broader, darker with more plush textural strokes. Solid.
Ladoix 2010 “Carrieres” Ravaut…$22.99
Darker cherry/black cherry/blackberry fruit. Hints of pesto and wintergreen. Really nice nose of sandalwood, raspberry incense, sweet smoke, cherry wood. Very well done wine for the price!
Corton 2010 “Les Hautes Mourottes” Ravaut…$59.99
Enticing nose of tea, Asian spice and sandalwood. Pointillistic exposition of cherry/black cherry/blackberry with hints of sundry brown spices. Good balance acid/fruit. Classic Corton and a good buy at this price point. Crowd favorite!