What always astounds me about Banda Azul (an Ernest Hemingway favorite) is the precision with which the flavors of the Tempranillo grape are perfectly set off by the abundant notes of new oak. It's a neat trick, rarely mastered outside of Burgundy or Bordeaux, and it makes Banda Azul something special. You save a ton, but give up almost nothing in terms of polish and sophistication.
This property is a real hidden "gem", just a stone's throw away from the St. Julien appellation and stars such as Lagrange and Gruaud Larose. We're happy to keep the secret because it means more wine for us! Owner Francois Nony, whom we got to visit with during our recent trip to Bordeaux, delivers a great 2009. A blackcurrant and cassis-like nose leads to a classic Medoc earthy finish. This wine is well-balanced with a freshness of fruit that is a hallmark of this vintage. It should age well for 5-10 more years. A real bargain!