Wine Talk

Snooth User: cabulous

best Bordeaux (red) under $75...?

Posted by cabulous, Jun 8, 2009.

I am very inexperienced with Bordeux and did not like my most recent purchase. I know that everyone has their own very specific tastes when it comes to wine, but I am attempting to find a really good Bordeaux for under $75 (a bit over $75 is fine too). Another factor is I need one that is drinkable now.

Keep in mind that I prefer a red blend dominated by the Syrah and Cab grapes.

thanks for any help


Reply by Gregory Dal Piaz, Jun 8, 2009.

Well I hope I can help. The syrah element will make this difficult, since syrah is not allowed in Bordeaux, but it does say to me that you are looking for a bigger and maybe more sauvage tpe of Bordeaux. I would suggest that you take a llok at St. Estephe and the satellite appellations.

To begin with a satellite, my first choice, and favorite Brodeaux Chateau, is Poujeaux in Moulis.

The wines are slightly rustic with plump fruit and supremely affordable. Most vintages 2000 and earlier are drinking well so there is a good selection of wines to try, most under $50 a bottle. 1997, while not a great vintage, was a great vintage for poujeaux, they produced one of the wines of the vintage!

Moving on, north as one would have it, to St. Estephe, these wines tend to be tough Bordeaux, though many Chateaux have upped the percentage of merlot over the past 2 decades to help soften the wine. There are several chateaux that are well priced and producing wonderful wine.
Take a look at:


Ormes de Pez:

Lafon Rochet:

And of course witht he fine wine market they way it is today there are some amazing values popping up, particularly in vintages perceived to be weaker, but which are drinking very well today.1983, 1988, 1993 and in particular 1994, 1999 and 2002 offer many wonderful wines that are very inexpensive compared to other, more highly thought of, vintages.

I have recently had

1994 Cos D'estournel

1999 Grand-Puy-Lacoste:

2002 Leoville Barton:

All excellent and representative bottles of Bordeaux that can be found for less than $75ish a bottle. The Cos was definitely the most ready, the Grand Puy the easiest to drink and the Leoville the wine with the most potential.

You might also want to take a look at some of the 2003s. Coming from a torrid growing season, many of the wines are quite flamboyant and don't appeal to the typical Bordeaux collector/drinker so prices for many have remained reasonable.

I'll stop at that but please feel free to follow up with any additional questions you might have!

Reply by dmcker, Jun 8, 2009.

Getting thirsty reading Greg's recommendations, and it's still early morning over here in Tokyo... ;-)

Leaving aside the Syrah issue, which points toward Rhone reds rather than Bordeaux clarets, I've also found the following to be absolutely excellent go-to wines over the past couple of decades, when otherwise in doubt about what to buy. These are all superb wines that have been undervalued by the market, though that may be changing for some of them.

--Chateau Chasse-Spleen, also (like Poujeaux) from the overlooked Moulis district.
--Chateau Potensac, a Cru Bourgeous from the Medoc that far outclasses many of the traditional Grand Crus.
--Chateau Sociando-Mallet, ditto as for Potensac, made by a true Bordeaux iconoclastic 'character'.
--Chateau Pontet-Canet, Pauillac, a 5th Growth in the old Grand Cru classification that is much better than *many* of the higher-ranked growths. Its vines grow next to some of the first growths.
--Domaine de Chevalier, in Pessac Leognan, Graves (near Chateau Haut Brion and La Mission Haut Brion), which also produces a most excellent white.

All these wines are made in more-or-less classic Bordeaux style, and will benefit from or even require aging. Some will show 'sauvage' strength, as Greg mentions, and all will show layered complexity and sophistication which will be educating to enjoy. You should look for vintages from an earlier decade to drink now, though you should also buy from this decade and lay some down if you have the wherewithal to do so. And all of these wines should be well less than your cut-off price in the US market, especially if you hunt for less-popular vintage years.


Reply by cabulous, Jun 8, 2009.

thanks very much for advice guys - you've given me quite a list to explore and just know that I will do it with the utmost joy and vigor.

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