Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Are You Ready for a Trip to France…

Although I never received one of the formal invitations to this tasting – just a bunch of emails back and forth between friends – I was told by another friend when I arrived at the tasting that the theme of this particular wine tasting was “All Bordeaux Wines under $30”. When you hear something like that you can almost picture a wine snob sticking their nose up in the air and acting snooty. It is easy to do when you think about how there are a lot of French wines out there that are priced in the hundreds and thousands of dollars – per bottle. Even better than the price, out of the seven wines you will find below, five of them are available in your local LCBO stores. So, please, read on and enjoy these great wine finds that can fit into a myriad of budgets…

Premius Bordeaux Sauvignon Blanc
$12.95 per bottle
LCBO General List. Contact Despina Triantos ( to find this wine easily at your local LCBO store.
This wine wins the award for the best value wine find for the day. This light, easy drinking, slightly fruity wine has great balance, could easily be drunk on its own or paired with a wide variety of dishes. A lovely combination of grapefruit and passion fruit in both the aromas and the flavours makes this a great wine to pair with seafood, chicken dishes or even a simple fruit salad.

Dourthe La Grande Cuvee Sauvignon Blanc
$15.95 per bottle
Vintages CSPC #159640
Just as lovely and pleasant as the previous Sauvignon Blanc, this wine is simple and uncomplicated. In my opinion, it is wines like these two that are perfect for any night of the week when you are not entertaining and you just want to enjoy a glass of wine with your dinner. Crisp and clean both in the aromas and the flavours – over abundant citrus, perfect balance of fruit and acidity and a lingering finish make this wine a perfect accompaniment to that dinner for two after a long day at work. Enjoy…

Thomas Barton 2006 Bordeaux
$16.95 per bottle
Please contact Ed Bajus ( for ordering information
This is one of two wines that are only available through Private Order and it is also one of two wines available from Thomas Barton. This particular wine is a 60/40 blend of Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon respectively and it has this intense dark colour – almost inky purple in nature. A very fruit forward nose of black fruit that continues on to the palate where it is joined by distinctive cedar notes. This wine is definitely not a powerhouse wine but there is something so nice and refreshing in the simplicity of the flavours and aromas and the amazing lasting finish this wine has to it.

Chateau des Laurets 2006 Puisseguin St Emilion
$19.90 per bottle
LCBO CSPC #371401
Bordeaux red wines are almost always a blending of a variety of grapes – typically Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon. Depending on the vintage and the producer, it can be just two of the above grapes or it could even include a couple of other red grapes not mentioned above. This particular wine is an 80/20 split of Merlot and Cabernet Franc and it is one of those wines that is constantly changing in the glass. When it comes to the aromas, sometimes you smell nothing and sometimes you get a very fruity aroma pouring out of the glass. It has a very BIG mouthfeel to the flavours – fruit, slight licorice and a kick of spice on the finish. There is a good string of tannins to this wine which means it has the ability to age nicely but could easily be drunk now if you are interested.

Chateau Roquetaillade La Grange Vieilles Vignes
$21.95 per bottle
Vintages CSPC #125666
This was probably one of the most interesting wines at the tasting today and the general consensus amongst the wine writers present was the fact that this wine had a small percentage of Petit Verdot in the wine. Tons of black fruit aromas with a slight intermingling of spice weaving through the wine, the palate is silky smooth and very fruit forward. There is a hint of tannins to the wine along with the addition of ginger and pepper that envelope into a long, lingering finish.

Chateau St-Andre Corbin 2006 Saint Georges St Emilion
$22.85 per bottle
Vintages CSPC # 43810
This is a classic Bordeaux blend that is heavy on the Merlot. It has a very fruit forward aroma to it but there are the added complexities of mint, licorice and a hint of menthol. The aromas continue on to the palate and there are still some medium strong tannins that indicate this wine could easily age for the next ten years or so but if you pair it with a hearty roast it could be drunk now. YUM!

Thomas Barton 2006 St Emilion
$24.40 per bottle
Please contact Ed Bajus ( for ordering information
The second Thomas Barton wine and the second order that you have to make a private order on but this wine is definitely worth making the order for. It is an 80/20 split of Merlot and Cabernet Franc and the colour is so amazing on it you could easily get lost in it. The aromas are mostly black fruit but when you get to the palate it kicks into full drive with the black fruit intermingling with cedar and spice notes. The wine is trying to be silky smooth but there is an elegant restraint to it that is preventing it from being overblown which is a refreshing change. The long, lingering finish on this wine makes it feel like it wants to go on for hours and hours.

So, hopefully with these wine reviews I have shown all of you that French wine does not necessarily have to be overpriced to be great. Many of the French Chateaus make really great, easy drinking white and red wines for under $30 a bottle so, the next time you are in your local wine shop, why not see what the French are offering up…

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