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
Clearly of classified growth quality, Lalande-Borie is produced by the winemaking team of "super second" Château Ducru Beaucaillou. Initially purchased to be incorporated into Ducru, its supple, graceful style was just too good to not warrant its own voice. The 2008 Lalande-Borie is deliciously perfumed with notes of wild violets, rose, red berry and a hint of Provençal herbs; on the palate, though not immense or intense, the flavors are nevertheless strikingly lush, deep, and refined. 14 months of aging in French oak barrels (1/3 new) provides a finishing polish of toasty vanilla oak.
When we tasted the 2009 Langoa Barton with Lilian Barton at her office in St. Julien, we were expecting a well-made, delicious wine, but we couldn't have been more impressed! A blend of 54% Cabernet Sauvignon, 34% Merlot and 12% Cabernet Franc, it was deep purple in the glass with aromas of blueberries, blackberries and a hint of vanilla and pepper. Although it had one of the highest tannin levels in the history of the estate, they were smooth and well-integrated already. It is one of the best Langoa's we've ever tasted from barrel.