Private Tasting: Value Bordeaux

By Kori ~ January 13th, 2010.

2005 Chateau de la Cour d’Argent and 2005 Chateau LanessanNew World wines have dominated our tastings recently so I was really excited when we had what turned out to be a showdown between two red Bordeaux wines in one of our double blind private tasting dinners featuring two wines from the famed 2005 vintage, the 2005 Chateau Lanessan and the 2005 Chateau de la Cour d’Argent. For a more complete description of how we set up these private tastings, please refer to How We Taste.

The 2005 vintage in Bordeaux has been referred to by many as the “vintage of a lifetime.” While such praise sent already high Bordeaux prices through the roof when the 2005’s were released, the wonderful thing is that the fabulous growing season meant that great quality wines were not limited to the First Growths but were found all across Bordeaux. So while some 2005 Bordeaux prices are absolutely out of sight, there are many excellent wines that can be found at reasonable prices as well. In fact, both of these wines received QPR ratings of 5 bangs for your buck (out of 5).

Cappellini PuttanescaWhile we thought both wines paired well with Mom’s Cappellini Puttanesca, all four of us slightly preferred the 2005 Chateau de la Cour d’Argent. We had not previously had either of these wines. We bought the Lanessan on an email recommendation from The Wine Exchange in California, and we learned about the Cour d’Argent from reading Gary Vaynerchuk’s 101 Wines book in which it was his #91.

“If you want to experience Bordeaux without spending a lot of money, I promise this wine will deliver everything you want and it is drinking tremendously right now. While your wine bully buddies are waiting for their trophy wines to mature in the cellar, you can be drinking bottle after bottle of these delicious basic Bordeaux and still have enough money left to get the premium cable package and maybe even a few pay-per-views. These are the wines that make 2005 so very special.” –Gary Vaynerchuk, Gary Vaynerchuk’s 101 Wines, on the 2005 Chateau de la Cour d’Argent

2005 Chateau de la Cour d’Argent (Cotes de Castillon, Bordeaux, France): 95% Merlot, 5% Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon. Dark red and aromatic. Cotton candy, newspaper, and a hint of soap come through on the nose; cranberry, black licorice, and earth on the palate. Medium-bodied and smooth with soft tannins and a pleasant finish. Well-balanced and complex. Improves with food.
Quality: 4 stars (out of 5)
QPR: 5 bangs for your buck (out of 5)
Where to buy: Esquin Wine Merchants (Seattle, Washington), $15; Available elsewhere, $12 to $15

2005 Chateau Lanessan (Haut-Medoc, Bordeaux, France): 75% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Merlot, 5% Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot. Deep red in color. Nose is a bit tight at first, then earth and mothball aromas come through. Tastes a bit like Kool-Aid on the front end, but it gets better the longer it is open with red fruit flavors, especially raspberry and strawberry, and a hint of cocoa powder on the finish. Medium-bodied and smooth with soft tannins.
Quality: 3.5 stars (out of 5)
QPR: 5 bangs for your buck (out of 5)
Where to buy: The Wine Exchange (California), $20; Available elsewhere, $20 to $30

This was a great tasting. Both are excellent values that are worth a try if you see them on the shelf at your local wine shop.

Filed under: Five-Bangs For Your Buck Wines, French Wine, Red Wine, Wines Under $20, Wines Under $25

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