A Journey Through Bordeaux's Value Regions
Jancis Robinson reports on her impressions of Bordeaux's newest offerings, with background from our own Gregory Dal Piaz
The way to find a bargain in Bordeaux is to head for one of the less celebrated appellations such as one of the five featured below. Over the last few years huge efforts have been made to upgrade viticulture and winemaking, all with quality uppermost. These are the producers who really deserve your support. -Jancis Robinson
As we take a look at these super values I thought it would help to see where these satellite appellations are in relation to the more acclaimed regions of Bordeaux. Their proximity to some of the most famous, and famously expensive, wine making regions is surprising. When you stop to consider that they share much of the same soils the price discrepancy between these wines comes as even more of a shock!
Côtes de Bordeaux
We begin our tour in the Côtes de Bordeaux, situated directly across the Garonne river from its more famous neighbor Pessac-Léognan. With decidedly heavier soils that add a bit of firmness to these wines, they may lack the finesse of their neighbor but deliver a rich mouthful of ripe fruit.
Moving just to the east we come to the rather large Entre-Deux-Mers appellation, justifiably well known for their refreshing white wines. The red wines of the region have shown great improvement over the last few years and are now emerging as compelling values, particularly in the north of the appellation.
Côtes de Castillon
At the virtual eastern limit of Bordeaux, bordering Saint-Émilion, one comes to the Côtes de Castillon. With sandy soils over gravel, offering excellent drainage and heat retention, this is a region to watch for wines that offer a fine combination of power and finesse.
Moving west and just to the north we come across the aptly famous, and remarkably small, commune of Pomerol. Lying just to the north and sharing a sliver of a river as a common border lies Lalande-de-Pomerol. Sharing the same gravel beds that one finds in Pomerol, but with less of their famous clay, the wines of Lalande-de-Pomerol have wonderfully round fruit if less structure than those of Pomerol. Perfect for nearer term drinking!
Côtes de Bourg
Completing our circuit of satellite appellations, we continue moving to the northwest until we come to the shores of the Gironde river. Here we stand in the Côtes de Bourg, facing the world renowned Margaux appellation, where rolling terrain of heavy, compact clays over limestone hills translates into wines that are deep and well structured. Certainly one of the most promising of the emerging satellite appellations that continues to make its mark on the world of Bordeaux.
While these 2008s are just now being offered as futures, and are thus not available at retail, we hope that bringing these outperforming Chateaux from these emerging regions to your attention might pique your interest. The wines from the outstanding 2005 vintage are on the shelves now and will give you an idea of the style of each Chateau and it’s corresponding appellation - you can find them in the top right column of this email. Stay tuned for next week's email when we zero-in on the value plays from Pessac-Léognan, arguably among the most successful appellations in 2008!
To learn more about the 2008 vintage in Bordeaux, visit JancisRobinson.com where you'll find both informative articles and videos on the vintage, as well as thousands of articles on other wine-centric topics.
Gregory Dal Piaz, Community Manager, Snooth
With special guest Jancis Robinson, JancisRobinson.com
Jancis Robinson writes daily for her personal website, weekly for the Financial Times, and is responsible for two of the greatest wine reference books – The Oxford Companion to Wine and The World Atlas of Wine – both of which are available exclusively online on the purple pages of JancisRobinson.com.
Currently available 2005 vintages: