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
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
Just one case of wine for this year’s gift, but that case is the most famous Bordeaux from the 20th Century: 1945 Château Mouton-Rothschild. Mr. Parker scores it 100 points and says: “A consistent 100 point wine (only because my point scale stops at that number), the 1945 Mouton is truly one of the immortal wines of the century… this remarkably youthful wine (only light amber at the edge) is mindboggling! Will it last another 50 years?” And the cellar this wine will come from is the Mahler-Besse cellar in Bordeaux, the best wine cellar in Bordeaux! In fact, you will be able to go to the cellar (two of you) accompanied by me to pick out your case and have lunch at the Mahler-Besse property. See our website for the particulars! The price is $150,000 which is 40% less than the wine just sold for at auction. Have a great holiday season. —Clyde Beffa Jr
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