Bordeaux beauties

Bordeaux vintages consume our customers at Glengarry wines with many factors influencing buying decisions such as price, demand, hype and reviews by wine critics. There are many things that point to the 2004 wines being winners, and wines to consider buying at all price points. Here I will outline some points about Bordeaux 2004 and highlight some wines that you might want to consider from the various regions of Bordeaux.

Bordeaux 2004

While 2005 is the new darling of the wine world, it is vintages like 2004 that most of our customers love – solid, reliable, well priced wines that will evolve into beautiful drinkers over the next 6 -15 years rather than the next 15 – 30 years like so many of the 2005’s will. The 04’s that we have tried in recent tastings have drunk incredibly beautifully right off the bat and should drink beautifully for another two or so years before closing down a bit before re-emerging and then lasting well into middle age.

Chateau Meyre

The vintage was, at first, badly rated and ignored by the American market, however there are more hits than misses with the 2004’s with the better reds – produced by the people who always take steps to control yields early in what turned out to be an unpredicted prodigious harvest – showing deep colour, good natural alcohol richness without the potential alcohol burn of 2003 and good acidities and tannins again.

Robert Parker and Decanter Magazine (two of the most influential publications / critics)  have both come out and said that the 2004’s fared much better when tasted recently than they did in the original En Primeur tastings. Parker says that this is because the initial barrel tastings were held far too early in April 2005 as the conditions dictated both a late harvest and very slow malolactic fermentations meaning the wines weren’t in the normal condition for the barrel tastings. Decanter’s Steven Spurrier has lauded the vintage and provocatively termed it “Bordeaux’s last affordable vintage?”

Decanter Magazine's Stephen Spurrier

Happy hunting and exploring Bordeaux!

Under $20
Esk Valley Black Label Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2006 – $17.90
The first vintage of this, one of New Zealand’s consistently greatest value Chardonnays, rolled off the floor well over twenty years ago. Rich, mouth-coating stonefruit forms the core of this charmer, with some lovely buttery characters smeared across the toast(y oak). There’s a complexity and a generosity of flavour that you don’t normally get at this price.

Montes Classic Series Casablanca Sauvignon Blanc 2007 – $16.
Chile has carved out an immense reputation for producing outstanding reds that has overshadowed the fact that it has the right conditions to produce superb whites. It is interesting to compare this Sauvignon Blanc grown in the Chile's Casablanca and Curicó Valley to that of New Zealand.

Over $20
Chateau Filhot Sauternes 2004 – $22.00 per half bottle
Classic, lovely creamy sweet wine with layers of flavour and richness for a surprisingly compelling price. Sauternes are from a specific part of Bordeaux where the misty mornings promote a special type of bacteria to spread across the vines and take out the water, leaving mostly sugar behind. It tastes remarkably better than it sounds!

Martinborough Vineyard Te Tera Pinot Noir – $24.90
The '05 went goldie coloured at the Air New Zealand's, quite an achievement for what is essentially second tier Pinot. Approachable, full frontal fruit, mainly morello cherries, stylish and ready now.

l’Hospitalet de Gazin Pomerol 2004 – $45.00

From a small part of Bordeaux that produces merlot predominant wines. This is the second wine of a famous Chateau Gazin. What you get for the money, is similar to the top wine, perhaps without all the bells and whistles. A good buy.

Chateau Lanessan Haut Medoc 2004 – $46.00
Lanessan is a beautiful property making fairly priced modern styled wines. Fresh, full cabernet flavours (virtually all Bordeaux wines are blends) and a really good buy if you can stretch to this.

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