Best Value Bordeaux

I don’t like to play favorites when it comes to wine but I must admit Bordeaux is among my favorite wine producing areas in the world, particularly for red wine.

Bordeaux is located in southwest France, a region where wine production dates back to the 8th century.  Today there are more than 10,000 wine-producing châteaux that produce more than 700 million bottles annually.

With the huge amount of wines that come in a wide range of prices, picking out a wine from Bordeaux can be intimidating.  The wine labels look similar and the names may be hard to pronounce if you don’t know French.  Many bottles do not list the grape varietals in the wine, which can complicate the selection process even more.

Wines from Bordeaux can be very expensive but don’t think you need to spend a lot to get a nice bottle.  I’ve found some great tasting wines that start at just $12.

Chateau CoucheroyWhite wines in Bordeaux are made from Sauvignon Blanc, Sémillon and Muscadelle.  If you like Sauvignon Blanc, try the 2007 Château Coucheroy from Pessac-Léognan.  It’s 100% Sauvignon Blanc.  The wine has crisp flavors of grapefruit and pineapple.  There’s a subtle grassiness that’s typical of the Sauvignon Blanc grape, but it’s much more delicate than other Sauvignon Blanc wines.  The 2007 Château Coucheroy costs $17.

For a taste of all three white grapes, try the 2007 Château Lamothe de Haux from Bordeaux.  It’s 40% Sauvignon Blanc, 40% Sémillon and 20% Muscadelle.  The grassy taste of the Sauvignon Blanc is nicely balanced out with flavors of ripe grapefruit and white peach.  It’s a light and bouncy wine that works well with shellfish, sushi, fresh fruit and light fish and pasta dishes.  The 2007 Château Lamothe de Haux costs $14.

Red wines in Bordeaux are made from Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Malbec and Petit Verdot.  If you don’t see the name of the grape on the label, it’s likely a blend of two or more of these varietals.

There are many red Bordeaux gems that cost less than $20.  The 2005 Château Cazat Beauchene from the Bordeaux Supérieur appellation costs $14.  It’s 70% Merlot, 15% Cabernet Sauvignon and 15% Cabernet Franc.  The wine has mouthwatering flavors of cherry, plum and blackberry that end in a warm finish.

Chateau La Grange ClinetThe 2006 Château La Grange Clinet from the Premières Côtes de Bordeaux is a steal at $12.  It’s 60% Merlot, 25% Cabernet Sauvignon and 15% Cabernet Franc.  With big flavors of plum and black cherry you’ll think it’s a $20 bottle.  Subtle tannins give it a velvety mouthfeel and a satisfying finish.

If you like ripe flavors of red fruit, try the 2003 Château Roques Mauriac from Bordeaux Supérieur.  It’s 50% Cabernet Franc, 30% Merlot and 20% Cabernet Sauvignon.  The wine has bright and juicy raspberry notes.  At $13 it’s a great wine for chicken or turkey.

Moving up slightly in price, the 2005 Château Les Ricards from the Premières Côtes de Blaye costs $20.  It’s 70% Merlot, 20% Malbec and 10% Cabernet Sauvignon.  Chewy flavors of plum and blackberry fill your mouth.  It’s a well-rounded wine with nicely integrated tannins.

Chateau Tour de CalensStaying around the $20 price range, I am a big fan of the 2005 Château Tour de Calens from Graves.  It’s 60% Cabernet Sauvignon, 34% Merlot and 6% Cabernet Franc.  Lush flavors of black fruits mingle with flavors of vanilla and coffee that end in a lingering, almost a creamy finish.  Gentle tannins roll over your tongue for a velvety mouthfeel.  Serve this with steak, lamb, duck or well-spiced poultry dishes.  The 2005 Château Tour de Calens costs between $20 and $22.

When it comes to trying wines from Bordeaux, don’t be afraid to try a less-expensive wine with a hard to pronounce name.  It could become a new favorite wine!