While it’s certainly efficient to get straight to the point (or points in the case of these K&L wine emails), every now and again it’s nice to have a bit of background about what you’re drinking and what exactly makes it special. Take for example the recent vintages of 2009 and 2010 Chateau Brown, two very different wines from the same producer, both with fantastic reviews that are bound to strike a chord with audiences everywhere. Brown has always been an underrated property in the Pessac-Leognan—a region of the Graves known for producing mineral-driven reds—so it’s no surprise that its wines from two incredible back-to-back vintages were well-received. But when you’re talking about Bordeaux rouge—a wine that often tastes better later than sooner—what exactly does “92 points” mean? Does it mean the wine is so good you should drink it now? Or do those 92 points refer to the wine’s potential for aging? Maybe it’s a great wine for the cellar instead? When you summarize a wine’s inherent quality within a short, succinct series of digits, it’s tough to know exactly what those scores refer to: drink or hold? In the case of these 2009 and 2010 vintages from Chateau Brown, we think you’re in the clear either way. Both wines are so delicious after a few years in the bottle that you can enjoy those 92 points just about whenever you want to.
The red wines of 2009 from Bordeaux are generally characterized by a softness of ripe fruit and velvet texture, the products of a generous growing season. The Brown Rouge is no exception. This is French cabernet sauvignon-based wine that even a Calfornia cab drinker could wrap his or her head around. It’s drinkable right out of the bottle, but the lush fruit never covers the secondary flavors enveloped beneath it. It’s that $35 bottle of delicious steak-and-claret night red you might be looking for this weekend.
2009 Brown Rouge $32.99 - A fabulous wine for the future, but packed with so much sweet fruit you'll be tempted to drink it now. There's a dark rich color to it, full of minerals and iron notes, but the wine is so soft on the finish that everything glides down almost too easily.
The 2010 Brown Rouge also holds true to the general characterization of the vintage: plenty of ripeness to be had, but with a bit more structure and gusto. While we at K&L might normally throw a wine like this into the cellar and wait for those tannins to soften just a bit, we popped a bottle this past weekend and found the wine utterly approachable now. Check out that serious steak-and-claret action from Champagne buyer Gary Westby’s house this past Sunday! I’m getting thirsty just writing this blog.
2010 Brown Rouge $34.99 - Fruit-forward aromas turn to spices and warm stones. Full body, with chewy tannins and a juicy finish. Really delicious young wine. Hard not to drink now, but better in 2016.
The conclusion? Five years later, the 2009 and 2010 vintages are truly living up to the hype they originally received. The values we continue to find from Bordeaux week after week, month after month, seem born out of a Cabernet lover’s dream. We’re opening $35 bottles of over-achieving wines with incredible regularity around here—to our delight, of course, and hopefully to yours as well. The only question we’re struggling with now is: how much do we buy?