This is one of our first arrivals from the highly regarded 2010 vintage, and if the delectable style of this modestly priced petite château is any indication, wine lovers are going to be arguing for decades over which is the greater vintage, 2010 or 2009. Made from a blend of 50% Merlot, 32% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 18% Cabernet Franc, this fruit-forward wine, from the northern part of the Entre Deux Mers appellation, is made by Jean Lobre and his two sons, whose family has owned Bellevue Rougier for four generations. Absolutely ready to drink now, this easy-drinking Bordeaux offers oodles of soft, spicy fruit, lightly seasoned by notes of red berries, Provençal herbs, and cedar. Although it has sufficient stuffing to match with main courses of meat or poultry, this wine is also delicious by itself or with light cheeses.
New! The just-arrived 2010 Château La Maroutine Bordeaux is what I like to call an ideal "multi-task" red. You can take it home, pop the cork, and drink it tonight, or you can choose to cellar it for 2 to 3 years, to be enjoyed as it matures gracefully. In addition, while the super-low price makes for affordable everyday imbibing, it has the style and panache to serve without the least trepidation when company arrives for dinner. A classic Right Bank blend of 80% Merlot and 20% Cabernet Sauvignon, I found the 2010 La Maroutine particularly attractive due to its immediately enjoyable vibrant, tangy red fruit, which jumps with notes of wild strawberry, cassis, with a hint of marjoram. Although not in the least heavy or over extracted, it offers an unusual degree of definition and penetration on the palate for a wine in this price category. The tannins, which in typical 2010 fashion are crisp and a bit crunchy/taut at this point, give the wine excellent freshness, while providing the structure needed for a short-term aging potential of 2 to 3 years. In short, a terrific "house" Bordeaux rouge, at a great price.--Ben Giliberti
Made from Merlot (75%), Cabernet Sauvignon (20%), and Malbec (5%) planted on clay-limestone terraces close to Saint Emilion, this wine delivers a palate impression well above its official pedigree and price. It is produced by Jean-Luc Thunevin, the owner of the legendary St. Emilion Premier Cru Classe Château Valandraud. Jean-Luc is also the self-confessed "Bad Boy" of Bordeaux, who believes that quality and value should trump official classification, regardless of the price. The 2012 Château Lafont Fourcat exudes the powerful, yet rich fruit of the 2012 Right Bank Bordeaux. Jean-Luc has skillfully integrated into the palate impression notes of smoky vanilla obtained by aging a portion of the wine in new oak barrels. This wine is pure, deeply fruity, supple – and an absolute steal at $11.99. -Ben Giliberti
Back when most Bordeaux estates were yanking out white grapes in favor of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, Château Thieuley owner Francis Courselle bucked the trend by increasing his acreage of Sémillon and Sauvignon Blanc. The freshness of the just released 2012 Thieuley Blanc makes it a perfect summer sipper, as well as a splendid match for fish, poultry, and light meats cooked on the outdoor grill. The crisp, lemony notes of Sauvignon Blanc play harmoniously with the ripe, juicy, fruit flavors of Sémillon. Gentle lees stirring provides a touch of summer spice on the finish.