The definition of eccentric is unconventional, especially in a whimsical way, and I can think of nothing better to describe the 2003 vintage. The wines are different yes, but endearing to all but the staunchest of Bordeaux devotees. In fact, I would say that 2003 is actually a great vintage for the uninitiated, the perfect place to start the love affair that so many of us have developed. The 2003 Château Léonie, Graves ($23.99) is the perfect wine for those fans of California wines looking for something different to whet their palate. Juicy raspberry ripeness dominates the nose while the supple, creamy texture accents ample red berry fruit found on the palate. This is an unabashed 2003 fruit bomb that will surely turn heads, and it is easy on the wallet. While nowhere near as jammy, the 2003 Château Prieuré-Lichine, Margaux ($32.99) will be an easy transition for those used to drinking big California Cabernets. Coffee and vanilla ooze out of the glass and straight into your olfactories. This wine is packed full of the black cherry fruit and coconut spice so often found in the big names of California wine fame. Another stylish red from the same commune is the 2003 du Tertre, Margaux ($29.99). Most Margaux’s are about texture recently, and this wine is no exception. This will coat your mouth with a glycerin-like creaminess and all the milk chocolate covered cherry fruit you could ever want. A perfect cocktail Bordeaux. The 2003 Château Meyney, St-Estèphe ($24.99) is a bit more traditional, showing wet stone and rare steak qualities throughout. Bolstered by black currant and tobacco, this has a more tannic grip that will give it some longevity in the cellar. Finally, there is the 2003 Reserve de la Comtesse, Pauillac ($31.99), the stunner of the vintage. Layered black cherry puree and black tea leaves fight for dominance. Hard edged now, this will be fantastic with some aeration or age. A wine that is a perfect combination of vintage and house style. —Bryan Brick
We just received two containers of old and rare wines from Bordeaux-wines for all palates and pocketbooks. From the fabulous wines of Château Talbot (1945-1953) to lesser known wines from Château Rochebelle (1985, 1989, 1990, 1995) there are many cases of delicious mature wines to enjoy in the immediate future. Prices for 2005 Bordeaux too high for you? Then look at the superb values we have from Château Siran (1966-1986), Château Poujeaux 1975, Château Haut Bages Liberal 1986, Château Chasse Spleen (1975-1990) and Château Grand Mayne (1986-1990) all of these wines direct from the château and in perfect condition. Enjoy! —Clyde Beffa Jr
Greetings to anyone out there. I am writing to you out of sheer desperation. I must resign myself to the fact that I will be alone forever. All of the others within the system, others that I relied upon, have forsaken me. They called me small. Small! For so long, they kept me from spinning out of control, into the void. But now there is nothing to live for. Well, almost nothing. I will savour my last bottles of wine before I succumb to eternal loneliness. I almost smile as I open the 1996 Pontet Canet ($59.99). This Pauillac was treated poorly for years, a condition I can now relate to. But with new and committed ownership, this neighbour of the great Mouton Rothschild is making wine that is out of this world. The ’96 has opened like a flower, power and richness coming together in perfect balance. It will last light years. I gaze at the stars. I feel warm in their presence, but like me they are surrounded by a cold, cold world. I begin to pack my bags for the long journey. I know not where in the universe I am headed, which is at the very least a better situation than Jim Barr, who knows not where his head is. I make jokes, but I cannot laugh. My mind wanders through the memories, now reduced to brightly burning shooting stars, soon to flame out of existence: the times that I played hide-and-seek with my two best friends, the red-haired kid and the bigger kid with the ring. We called him Ringo. And there was the ‘know it all’ down the road. He used to fly toy airships all over the neighborhood. Always fighting and bragging and burning stuff. And the twins that looked completely unlike each other, one was blond and fiery, the other cool and distant. But we were all part of the system. I uncork a bottle of 1996 Montrose ($84.99). The scent that the wine gives off is intoxicating: hot summer plums, allspice, currants. Montrose is dense, the Jim Barr of wine. But the ’96 is so extravagantly rich and ripe, it seems a butterfly to the chrysalis that it once was. Reminds me of the guy that read tarot cards and spoke of cataclysmic changes that would happen in your life. He used to hang out with the guy with the funny name I think. My bags are packed. I take a last look around. I have everything- except the love and acceptance of my tormentors. I will take the 1996 Léoville Poyferre ($59.99) with me. If I find the will to live, I will enjoy it when it matures. So dark and concentrated. So sweet, still showing oaky notes. One could enjoy the wine with a hearty dish, but I shall wait. It will be a reminder that tomorrow can be better. I am off to a place where the stars in the night sky are strange and new, where I will not feel so small. I will warm my face to a different sun. Goodbye Pluto —Joe Zugelder
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