Lets start the month with one delicious white from the classic 2004 vintage and three outstanding reds from the near perfect 2000 vintage in Bordeaux. 2004 Thieuley Blanc, Bordeaux ($10.99) This property has been turning out high quality white and red wines that sell for prices much lower than you would expect. This is a blend of 60% sauvignon blanc and 40% semillon with a round, soft middle showing grapefruit, shy melon and apple. The finish is fresh and citrusy, with a touch of Meyer lemon and a fine dusting of mineral. An amazing bargain! 2000 Thieuley Rouge, Bordeaux ($16.99) This property also crafted our best selling wine from the legendary 2000 Bordeaux vintage. From the aromas of black currants and cigar box to the ripe merlot fruit, this is a satisfying glass of wine. Lush and ample with flashy tobacco and coffee nuances. 2000 Poujeaux, Moulis ($29.99) Probably the most consistent value-priced château we carry. The 50% cabernet sauvignon in the blend shows here with aromatic herbs adding complexity to the sweet black currants. This is supple, round and earthy with a long, rich, tobacco-laced finish that invites another taste. 40% merlot rounds out the mid palate and makes this traditionally crafted beauty a wine that can age but also drinks perfectly now. 2000 Phelan-Segur, St-Estèphe ($26.99) This K&L favorite seems to fly under the radar vintage after vintage, yet always produces some of the best values in Bordeaux. Here is a big wine with ample structure and an intriguing meaty quality that contrasts nicely with the bright dark berry fruit. Although big and chewy in the beginning, the spicy, mineral-laced finish is elegant, silky and long. This will age well but can be decanted and enjoyed now. —Steve Bearden
I remember it like it was yesterday: a very cold and crisp morning in the first days of April 1995, and we were just getting warmed up after tasting at Lynch Bages at 8:30 a.m. and then Mouton-Rothschild at 9 a.m. As our leader Bill Blatch drove slightly uphill past vines and white gravel less than a minute from Mouton I could not see the château hidden behind the large trees. I asked Bill where are we going next, and he said Pontet-Canet. I was very excited. I had never been to the historic 5th growth. I then asked Bill why we were going there for the first time. His answer was that the 1994 Pontet-Canet was the finest wine made there in a long time and warranted the visit. Of course, he was right; the 1994 Pontet is one of the great successes of the difficult vintage, and the estate has improved every year since. The name of Pontet-Canet is well known as vines have been in the ground there since before 1725. The estate had a fine reputation before dropping in quality in the years just prior to the 1855 classification of Bordeaux. The classification itself was based solely upon the track record of quality and price, hence Pontet was placed as a 5th growth. The quality rose to the point where the wine was selling at 2nd growth prices. The 1929 was a legendary wine. Unfortunately, as for most of Bordeaux, tough times were ahead. Ponet-Canet did in fact become very well known as a “brand” but for all the wrong reasons—for being the non-vintage, barely drinkable wine served in the French railroad cars. In 1975 the estate was sold to the Tesseron family, and today the wines are outstanding under the direction of Alfred Tesseron. Alfred’s quiet revolution started in the winery with a more strict selection in the ’80s and in the last 15 years in the vineyard. The style of Pontet-Canet is masculine, loaded with dark purple fruit, and in today’s wines it is very pure, long and elegant. Many customers are newcomers to Pontet and can feel the conviction in my voice when I recommend it in orders along with the greats like Cos, the Pichons and the Léovilles. For me, Pontet-Canet’s style is like Léoville-Barton: dark serious wines of longevity, quality and value personified. And now you can add consistency! The proof of Pontet-Canet’s great success of late is easily seen and expected in the famous vintages of 2000 Ch. Pontet-Canet ($49.99) and 2003 Ch. Pontet-Canet ($59.99). But the real proof is in the stunning 2002 Ch. Pontet-Canet ($29.99), 2004 Ch. Pontet-Canet ($39.99) and 1998 Ch. Pontet-Canet ($26.99), from years when mother nature made it difficult to make a fine wine. Please feel free to call me anytime with questions or advice on the wines of Bordeaux at ex 2723 or Ralph@klwines.com. Cheers and Toujours Bordeaux! —Ralph Sands
It is time for our buyers to start scouring the far corners of the wine world finding great value wines for our stores and our loyal customers. First, Jim Chanteloup, Elisabeth Schriber and myself visited Australia in January. We focused mainly on the Barossa Valley and McLaren Vale areas. February sees Jeff Vierra off to the Loire while Greg St. Clair and Mike Parres head to Tuscany. In March, Keith Wollenberg goes to Burgundy, and Anne Pickett travels to Spain. A big contingent (Clyde Beffa Jr, Ralph Sands, Chip Hammack and Steve Bearden) goes to Bordeaux in April to taste the “superb” 2005 vintage and then travels to the Southern Rhône. Late April sees Gary Westby tasting in Champagne. That’s over 150,000 miles, and we are only into April. Many more trips after April! All in the name of finding special wines for our special customers. —Clyde Beffa Jr
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