Recommended Bordeaux

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Here are some of my favorites from among the 31 wines tasted at Heart's Delight on May 9. The charitable event showcases Bordeaux, not known for affordability. Prices given are offered by MacArthur Beverages in Northwest; however, prices and availability will vary from store to store. Other local retailers who specialize in high-end Bordeaux are Calvert Woodley and Wide World of Wines in Northwest, and Schneider's of Capitol Hill.

Chateau Palmer 2006
Margaux, Bordeaux, $180

Margaux is on the left bank of the Gironde River, in a region where cabernet sauvignon reigns supreme. The Palmer has a larger-than-average component of merlot (44 percent), which restrains the power with a soft texture. It's tightly structured and brilliantly focused, with impressive depth and finesse on the finish: the proverbial iron fist in a velvet glove. But of course, one would expect no less for such a price.

Chateau Cos d'Estournel 2006
Saint-Estephe, Bordeaux, $100

If you like the big, oaky style of Bordeaux, this wine is for you. Its toasty nose and ripe, earthy tannins make it especially intense and worthy of aging. Chateau Angelus from Saint-Emilion is another good example of this style.

Chateau d'Issan 2006
Margaux, Bordeaux, $56

This wine shows minerality more than most, as if the salty air off the Atlantic had reached Margaux and perfumed the vines. A classy wine with great balance, it will age well but is tempting now.

Chateau Lynch-Bages 2006
Pauillac, Bordeaux, $66

This is stylish and rich, with strong but friendly tannins on the finish.

Chateau Pichon-Longueville Baron 2006
Pauillac, Bordeaux, $80

Rich and dense, this has firm tannins and impressive complexity that hint at an age-worthy wine.

Chateau Lagrange 2006
** 1/2
Saint-Julien, Bordeaux, $45

With impressive minerality and balance, this is very expressive of cabernet sauvignon, with black currant and the characteristic Bordeaux "pencil shavings" as well as the soft, plummy fruit of merlot.

Chateau Petit Village 2006
** 1/2
Pomerol, Bordeaux, $60

This cocoa-scented, merlot-dominated wine is silky, rich and lovely.

Chateau Corbin 2006
Saint-Emilion, Bordeaux, $30

This wine is always a relative bargain if you can find it, and the 2006 is delicious, with plummy fruit, minerally body and an impressive finish.

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