Cape Gazette
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Wine

2009 Bordeaux are great, but watch for overpriced brands

By John McDonald | Jul 16, 2012

Two decent Chardonnays on the cheap? I got 'em. These were winners in a recent tasting of 96 Chards priced under $20.  I’ll review two and name a couple more. Stillman Street Chardonnay 2010 is the second label of Stuhlmayer. It can be had under $150/case. Probably $15-16 per bottle. Pale golden green, opens to pear, apple, grapefruit and peach blossom. On the palate, nice balance, medium body; it finishes cleanly with a hint of oak. Real nice food Chard.  88 points McD.

Jean Marc Brocard is a top producer in Chablis. His Domaine St. Claire 2010 is worth looking into. It is findable under $160 by the case; expect $15/bottle. Another McD 88-point. It's pale lemon-green; the nose is green apple, lemon and wet stone. Dry with high acidity, medium body, and intense flavors of lemon and green apple. The finish is medium length. Very good Chablis for everyday, it can be consumed now or held for aging. Most Chablis drinkers will rate this much higher.            

Two others worth sampling are Domaine Alfred Chamisal Vineyards Stainless Chardonnay 2010 from Edna Valley in California, and a Kiwi product named Farmer’s Market Wine Co. Chardonnay 2010. Both can be found priced under $17/bottle. Pretty, dry, aromatic renditions with no oak. Farmers has a hints of malolactic aromas in its profile.

If you have a computer, check out this Moscow wedding clip of Irving Berlin’s "Putting on the Ritz.”  I got a big kick from it: http://www.youtube.com/embed/KgoapkOo4vg?rel=0.

You can try a 2009 Margaux on the cheap if you can locate some Chateau Marsac Seguineau Cru Bourgeois 2009. I just got a flier advertising it at $20/bottle. On release WS gave this a 90. I’m on for you looking into it as a house wine. It will cellar at least 10 years and is delicious. Black cherry, plum, graphite and tobacco with light herbal notes to keep it fresh. Still a bit tannic. It is clean, tongue coating and focused with a clean finish. I can’t remind you enough to search out and cellar 2009 Bordeaux. They are getting nothing but better in your cellar or even your closet or under the bed.The 2010s are also looking great and the '11s are being well reviewed in the barrel.

Many are trying to foist Dominus Estate 2009 priced near $160 and shipping. Worse still is Screaming Eagle 2009 at $1,500/bottle. Fuggeddaboutit. Get yourselves out there and look at that bucket list of 2009 Bordeaux I recommended you compile. You can buy 16 bottles of Canon La Gaffeliere St. Emilion 2009, rated 96 points by everyone, for the price of one Screaming Eagle.

Frequent readers are aware I’m no big frogophile, but great wine fairly priced is my goal.  Canon 2009 does need cellar time and it is a bit closed now. It is dark ruby-purple. Long-time aeration allows blackberry, cassis, cherries, vanilla, espresso and hints of licorice in the finish. These took a lot of sniffing to sort. Powerful, dense, pure, rich tannins, creamy and an extremely long and textured finish, the wine hits every note you expect to find in the crème de la crème. Should cellar 20 easily. Not an under-the-bed type, though. Keep it out of easy reach.

Chateau Pontet Canet 2009 is another. Most have raised its rating from the barrel tasting and they are coming in at 100 points. If you can’t find it go to the 2010. Another blockbuster coming in at  RP 100, WS 99 and WE 98 and priced at $110 or 14 Screaming Eagles. M. Tesseron, the proprietor, has rung the bell again and again, making this 5th cru a candidate for a higher ranking.  More on that later. The 2010 is huge. Lots of coffee, bittersweet chocolate, incense, toast, black and blue berries, and minerals all riding the perfect acid tannic bicyclette. Pure, huge, balanced mouth coating, clean, they  hit every criteria for wonderful Bordeaux.

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