This overanalyzed French region has more to offer than $600 reds and Byzantine labeling. First off, Bordeaux, like most other French wine categories, is a place, not a grape. Its main red grapes are cabernet sauvignon, merlot, cabernet franc, malbec, and petit verdot. Its whites are sauvignon blanc and semillon. While Bordeaux’s great wines are exceptional, most of the press, ratings, and cash are spent on only 2 or 3 percent of the wines produced there. Bordeaux bottles tons of affordable wines, which are more focused on elegance and drinkability than the big powerful style of their new world counterparts.
This month’s selections are available at Haskell’s 11 locations
Château Graville-Lacoste 2007 (Graves), $15.99
75% semillon, 20% sauvignon blanc, 5% muscadelle
A bright and crisp white wine with grassy notes and the minerality known to Graves. This wine is full of flavor but beautifully balanced. It is great with halibut—or after mowing the lawn.
Château Côtes de Chambeau 2005 (Saint-Emilion), $19.99
50% cabernet franc, 50% merlot
Earthy and soft with dark plum and blackberry fruit, this is an everyday red that shows off like a big hitter. It doesn’t have the jammy fruit of Napa wines, but it also doesn’t have the price tag. Get out the grill and your burger with blue will have a new friend.
Château Potensac 2005 (Médoc), $29.99
Cabernet sauvignon (predominantly), merlot, cabernet franc
I could have made good wine in Bordeaux in 2005, and that’s saying a lot because I can’t make wine. This is a big lush wine that can easily be aged for another five-plus years. And it gives us a chance to taste this great vintage without breaking the bank. Have it with someone who loves big reds
Château Grand-Puy-Lacoste 1998 (Pauillac), $89.99
70% cabernet sauvignon, 25% merlot, 5% cabernet franc
It’s not powerful, but it is complex and shows off what a little age can do for Bordeaux. This wine is ready to drink and I don’t think it should age much longer. But for those who are too impatient to age wine themselves, present company sometimes included, Haskell’s has done it for us. Enjoy it with beef tenderloin or a pasta with a thick red sauce.
Château Filhot 2003 (Sauternes), $32.99 (half-bottle)
55% semillon, 40% sauvignon blanc, 5% muscadelle
Sauternes is a town famous for dessert wines and this one fits the bill. It is honeyed and lemony, sweet but not sticky, and has a clean appley acid on the finish. Pair with blue cheese, foie gras, or a lemon tart. Some people—me—have it as dessert.