Bordeaux under $30

That was the theme of the recent “Bordeaux Under One Roof” road show by the Bordeaux Wine Council (CIVB) held in Toronto Oct. 28, 2009.

This trade event intended to provide a taste of the diversity and affordability of Bordeaux wines under $30.

I attended this tasting for that very reason, i.e. in order to learn more about the wines of Bordeaux in that price category. After all, not many of us are blessed with deep enough pockets to drink Latour, Lafite or Pétrus with any degree of regularity or even just on any rare special occasion.

So what did I learn?

Well, I learned that among the 40 some odd wines showcased, there were more similarities than there were differences, both in whites and in reds. Overall, these are wines that do show a certain typicity, be it Cabernet Sauvignon dominated blends from the generic Bordeaux appellation to those of the Graves and Médoc etc. or the Merlot dominated ones from Côtes de Bourg, St.Emilion and Pomerol and so on. Most of these wines were relatively young, with a preponderance of ’05 and ’06 vintages pretty even split, a few ’07 and fewer still of ’08 vintage reds while the very limited number of whites was all ’08 but one (’09). Not surprisingly, I also had no “epiphanies”, with other words, there were no truly outstanding examples of Bordeaux in the lot. Many of them displayed prominent herbaceous notes, the ’05s more fruit forward and certainly most still had tannins ranging from noticeable to unripe to just plain raunchy. There were however a few decent values of good quality and to my surprise, there were a couple of pretty whites that would actually make me go buy some of them. I will provide my tasting notes on some of these over the next couple of posts.

The bottom line on Bordeaux under $30:
Reds – the better ones are closer to the $30 mark, most need food, none are overly complex.
Whites – some surprisingly pleasant ones.

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