Bordeaux is known for its famous châteaux and deservedly so but there are many excellent values that remain too hidden. From value in quality to price, these are some of the most consistent.
I received a sample of this wine from Valerie Féret over ten years ago and was impressed with the quality and price. Since then Féret-Lambert has been a staple at ABC. Valerie, her husband, Henri and brother, Olivier Sulzer do almost everything. The estate is just across the Dordogne River from St. Émilion and shares the same soil type as the côte of St. Émilion with a deep chalk/limestone deposit. The vines are 90% Merlot and 10% Cabernet Sauvignon. 2012 was a good year in the right bank and the wine shows bright ruby color, notes of plum, cedar and a touch of oak carried on a medium framework. The bright blue label makes it easy to find. $18.99
Jean-Philippe Janoueix bought this property in 1997 and had to renovate the cellar and abandoned vineyard. The 19 hectares of vineyard are clay and limestone planted in 85% Merlot and 15% Cabernet Franc. The wine is a beauty early with bright purple color; lush plum, chocolate and currant notes. It’s very approachable young and one of the best values in Bordeaux. $16.99
This St. Émilion was made for ABC by the Union des Producteurs de St. Émilion, the most impressive cooperative I have ever seen. The winery is spotless and has some of the most modern equipment including a laser sorting table which few classified châteaux have. The 2012 opens with garnet color leading to notes of blackberries, black currant and spice carried on ripe tannins. It’s one of the best values in the St. Émilion appellation. $16.99
The late Vincent Mulliez bought this 10.4 hectare estate in 2004 and turned it into one of the bright stars of the area. The vineyard which borders the Margaux appellation is gravel over clay and the vines are 50% Cabernet Sauvignon, 27% Merlot, 20% Petit Verdot and 3% Carmenère. The high percentage of Petit Verdot makes this wine fairly unique.
“With oak, licorice and dark berries, this wine is spicy, fresh and lively, offering good character. 88-90 pts” Jeff Leve, The Wine Cellar Insider $17.99
Another great value, especially for Florida’s climate and food, Martinon is a refreshing, crisp, cool, easy sipper. It’s 60% Sémillon, 30% Sauvignon Blanc and 10% Muscadelle which adds a flowery note to the aroma. It’s a perfect match for shell fish and grilled fish or chicken. $11.99
Olivier Bernard, owner of Domaine de Chevalier found this property in Sauternes and decided to make dry wines from it. The vineyard is planted in 70% Sémillon and 30% Sauvignon Blanc. Lune Blanche is the entry cuvée with no oak. It shows bright grapefruit and citrus notes with a round body from the high percentage of Sémillon. It’s a unique wine made in small quantities. $17.99
Brad Lewis, Contributing Writer