It has truly been a great year for the wines of Bordeaux here at K&L Wine Merchants! This year was just loaded with excitement, controversy and amazing amounts of great wines! Let’s take a look back. The perfect weather in 2005 produced brilliant wines, classic in style, which prompted a few famous estates to price themselves beyond what normal wine lovers and collectors will tolerate. There is your controversy. For the rest of Bordeaux and wine lovers all over the world this may end up to be a great blessing, as there are so many lovely wines in Bordeaux that never get the limelight. Believe me, these wines are the future of Bordeaux, fine wines at fair prices that will perform, not glorified dust collectors. Prime examples are: from St-Emilion/Pomerol, Ch. Rouget, Beauregard, Clos d’Oratoire and Fombrauge; from Pessac-Leognan, Ch. Brown, Malartic Lagraviere and Clos Marsalette; from Margaux Ch. Brane Cantenac and Lascombes, d’Issan and Ferriere; from St-Julien St-Pierre and Duhart Milon along with Pauillac’s Haut-Bages-Libéral; and from St-Estèphe Lafon Rochet, Phelan Segur, Sociando Mallet and Goulee. Our tasting notes on all of these are on the website. Check out the value! Just as the dust was settling form the 2005 campaign the ripe, opulent and fantastic vintage of 2003 arrived, delicious wines like Ch. Mouton-Rothschild ($269.99) with its flashy ripe fruit and firm backbone, built for the long haul and featuring the picture of the founder, Le Baron Nathaniel de Rothschild on the Special 150th Anniversary label. Ch. Haut Brion ($299.99) with its classic layers of ripe fruit with hints of leather, stone and spice is flat out stunning as is Ch. Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande ($109.99). This wine will surely rival the monumental 1982 with time, so cellar this and drink the delicious and forward second wine, 2003 Reserve de la Comtesse ($31.99) while the great wine sleeps. We end every year here at K&L with a smell and sip of what will be arriving next year at our annual Fete de Bordeaux Dinner. What a great event, a glass of Champagne followed by 14 wines at dinner with 2004s from Lynch Bages, Cos dEstournel, Langoa and Léoville-Barton flown over specially for the event. The 2004s certainly fly under the radar of the super hyped 2003 and 2005 vintages. The pricing is quite refreshing and the quality far better than most in attendance might imagine. People were taken aback by the forward fruit of the 2004 Lynch Bages ($48.99) and the complexity and focus of the 2004 Langoa-Barton ($32.99). The deep black and blue fruit of the 2004 Ch. Léoville-Barton ($49.99) is unmistakable, and to quote one of our newest wine specialist, Nadia Dmytriw, “amazing it is so big but so elegant” (and she used to work at Lynch Bages and Pichon-Baron). The wine of the night, the 2004 Cos d’Estournel ($74.99) was rich, deep, exotic and spicy with everything in harmony. Hats off to Jean Guillaume Pratts as he continues to raise the bar of quality and the percentage of Cabernet at Cos. Warmest holiday wishes and thank you to all our loyal customers and friends in the business of wine. Please feel free to call me anytime with questions or advice on the wines of Bordeaux at ext# 2723 or Ralph@klwines.com. Cheers and Go Niners! —Ralph Sands
We’ve just purchased a fantastic lot of older wines direct from Château Chasse Spleen. The 1990 Ch. Chasse Spleen, Moulis ($119.00) is drinking wonderfully with its crystalline raspberry fruit and earthy qualities of grilled portabello mushrooms. It is amazingly youthful, perfectly ripe on entry with firm tannin in the finish. Pot roast anyone? Oh, and by the way, the 1989 Ch. Chasse Spleen, Moulis ($129.00) may be even better. This zingy and lively number wows with its fresh core of acidity supporting roasted chestnuts, grilled plums and pencil lead. Alive and well, this is the kind of wine that dances on the tongue rather than clumsily stepping on it. We all need values this time of year, and no deals in the world of Bordeaux are more exciting right now than this trio which, by the way, are all part of our Wine Club program. The 2003 Ch. Caronne St. Gemme, Haut-Médoc ($17.99) is a big creamy number, luscious and packed with the glycerin that only the ’03 vintage can produce. This wine is reminiscent of those chocolate-covered cherries that are so popular as office gifts this time of year. But this might actually be appreciated as a gift! A more serious and structured effort, the 2001 Ch. Caronne St. Gemme, Haut-Médoc ($17.99) is racy, pretty wine, the kind of wine that perks the mouth up and makes it take notice. Pomegranate and chanterelle mushroom notes make this wine perfect for any pork dish. Last but not least (and actually one of the biggest surprises of the last couple of months), is the 2003 Ch. Clarke, Listrac ($26.99) . The nose alone is worth price of admission, flaunting violet, lavender and black currant candy. Good news is that it tastes just as good! A heck of a wine, and one which you can drink over the next seven years. —Bryan Brick
The holidays are upon us, and we’re all pressed for time so here are some suggestions to make your Bordeaux buying a little easier. Each of these drinks well above its price point. 2005 Reynon Blanc, Bordeaux ($11.99) This is rich and juicy yet still vibrant. In the middle the semillon shines with complex sweet grapefruit and white peach flavors. The lively, mineral laced finish has a striking smoke and gunflint aspect that adds freshness and complexity and really shows the greatness of the 2005 vintage. 2002 La Louviere Blanc, Pessac-Léognan ($26.99) This is a big, structured white for cellaring or enjoying now. The mid palate has loads of rich apple, citrus, mineral and lemon oil that stay firm and focused. There is even a hint of honey on the long finish, which is clean and fresh. 2003 Fourcas Hosten, Listrac ($19.99) This amazing find is earthy and rich with oodles of warm, ripe fruit in the supple mid palate. Despite the low acidity and the richness of the fruit, this is not a fruit bomb. It shows surprising class and breed. Balanced and bargain priced, this wowed everyone at a recent staff tasting. 2003 Malescot St-Exupéry, Margaux ($44.99) Flowery aromas of coffee, raspberries and blackberries jump from this smooth and easy-to-drink wine. Super rich and almost flashy, this stays balanced and shows plenty of terroir in a dense and chewy style. The finish here is long and rich with plenty of ripe tannins. One of the stars of the appellation in this vintage. 2001 Lafite-Rothschild, Pauillac (Inquire) This starts out with beautiful aromas of dark berries, flowers, pencil lead and tobacco. The body is very concentrated and tight with seamless flavors of blackberry, currant, mineral and cedar all in harmony. This is amazingly elegant, long and classy and sells for about half of some other vintages of this wine. —Steve Bearden
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