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A delightful six-pack of wine

If I mention Bordeaux, it would be understandable if your first thoughts were “too expensive and too complicated”.

In reality, this land of historic villages, ancient Roman churches and over 6,000 chateau properties is now offering many very good values. As I was looking at our stock levels with the thought of writing about this area, it became obvious that many of ours are developing an impressive following. Let me tell you about a few that offer very good value.

Chateau Peyrabon has a history that dates back to the mid 1700s. Their wine had become popular enough that by the late 1800s they were priced at the same level that some of the 1855 Classified Growths were selling for.

The owner at the time, Arnaud Roux, was so sure his wine deserved to be classified, along the same lines as his neighbouring estates that he actually sued, hoping to force a reclassification of the medoc that included Chateau Peyrabon. He of course lost as, fair or not, the only change was in 1973 when Mouton Rothschild was elevated to a First Growth.

I will quote their winemaker as he describes what will be one of the classic vintages of this century: “2016 Château Peyrabon comes from a blend of 67 per cent cabernet sauvignon, 27 per cent merlot, 4 per cent petit verdot and 2 per cent cabernet franc. The vintage is rich in colour and is seen through its almost ink dress.

“The nose is immediately greedy, generous in black fruits dominated by touches of blueberry and blackberry. The entry is refreshing, quite dynamic with a good acid support. The mid-palate is tannin with a very elegant grain that is smooth, delicate and coated with flesh. 2016 Peyrabon reveals beautiful cabernet sauvignons and pretty petit verdot bringing this singular spicy touch to the whole.”

Wine Enthusiast rates it 91/100 and writes: “With its high proportion of cabernet sauvignon, this wine has a good structure and ripe, generous blackcurrant flavours. Its fresh character gives juiciness that contrasts with the rich fruits. It's a wine with tannins and ageing potential. Best Buy.” $31 (Stock #9646).

Over the past 20 years the vineyard of Chateau Baret, in the Pessac-Leognan, has been completely refurbished, as has the vat room and cellar. In this area of northern Graves, unlike Bordeaux in general, the whites are as important as the reds. I find it remarkable that a wine that we part with for only $34.20 a bottle can rate a superb 94/100 from James Suckling.

This is what he has to say about this blend of cabernet sauvignon, merlot and cabernet franc: “Superb intensity and clarity of fruit, ranging from blueberries to blackcurrants to oyster shells and lightly tarry accents. Finely laced tannins inhabit vibrant layers of blue fruit, liquorice flavours and a tight, silky texture. Minerally and very polished.” Our stock number for 2016 Chateau Baret is 8317.

Thanks to grapes picked at full maturity, 2015 Chateau Chauvin Folie de Chauvin St. Emilion Grand Cru presents ripe red fruits notes with freshness followed by round and smooth aromas. The finish is long with a touch of oak. Blend: 95 per cent merlot, 5 per cent cabernet franc.

Once again, critic Suckling is very impressed as he scores this 93/100 and comments: “Attractive baking spices and custard-powder aromas with blackberry and cassis. The palate delivers a silky, even-paced and vibrant array of plum and blackberry fruits amid dark-roasted spices.” $42 (Stock #7766).

For a price of $39 I find the scores for 2016 Chateau Saintayme St. Emilion Gran Cru amazingly high. Here are a few: Suckling 93/100; Jeb Dunnock 92/100; Decanter 92/100 and Wine Spectator 91/100. I will quote Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate: “Has a medium purple colour and opens with cedary scents over a core of black and red plums, kirsch and unsmoked cigars plus a touch of smoked meats. Medium to full-bodied and packed with savoury layers.” Stock #9645.

I cannot leave St Emilion without mentioning a man, who with his wife Murielle, started the “garagiste” movement, literally in their garage on a back street. I refer to Jean-Luc Thunévin, who has always had a mischievous smile on his face when I have met him. In honour of the name that Robert Parker bestowed on him I refer to his 2015 Bad Boy, that on its label, adorned with a black, woolly animal, also refers to Parker’s description of him as “the black sheep of Bordeaux”. Today these small producers are making some of the finest wines being offered.

Canadian critic Natalie MacLean writes: “A terrific Bordeaux red wine blend of cabernet sauvignon and merlot grapes from winemaker Jean-Luc Thunévin. Aromas of fleshy ripe blueberry and blackberry with anise on the finish. Robust and delicious. Decant one hour and pair with a rare steak. 92/100.” $31.95 (Stock #9331).

Summer is close, so I will finish my story with a lovely inexpensive blend of 75 per cent sauvignon blanc, 20 per cent sémillon and 5 per cent muscadelle that is our 2019 Chateau Bonnet Blanc Entre Deux Mers from the area between two rivers in Bordeaux. It is a brilliant clear pale yellow with green highlights that starts out beautifully straightforward on the palate, becoming round and full-bodied mid-palate. Pleasantly fresh on the finish and offers a lovely long aftertaste. A well-balanced wine with delicious aromas of white fruit.

Wine Enthusiast rates it 89/100 and says: “From the largest estate in the Entre-deux-Mers, this is a classic herbal and green-fruit-driven wine. Grapefruit and lime flavours have an herbal texture that gives the wine a food-friendly bite. Drink now.” $20.30 (Stock #7502). I think that you will thank me if you include this with your summer whites.

This column is an advertorial for Burrows Lightbourn Ltd. Contact Michael Robinson at mrobinson@bll.bm. Burrows Lightbourn have stores in Hamilton (Front Street East, 295-1554) and Paget (Harbour Road, 236-0355). Visit www.wineonline.bm

Bordeaux, a land of historic villages, ancient Roman churches and over 6,000 chateau properties is now offering many very good value wines

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Published May 07, 2021 at 7:59 am (Updated May 07, 2021 at 7:56 am)

A delightful six-pack of wine

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