Maritime Bordeaux in the west of France is a large producer of quality wines. Although saying that there's a large gap between the top few who produce ultra-premium wines with hefty price tags (Lafite, Margaux, Y'Quem, Petrus….) and the rest of the field.
The Left Bank with its gravelly composition of soils is more suited to Cabernet Sauvignon while the Right Bank is made up more of clay and this is where Merlot and Cabernet Franc dominate (as they are earlier ripens and don't mind getting their feet wet). In the middle, the Entre Du Meurs provides a slew of whites and reds made for early drinking.
On the right bank outside of St Emilion and Pomerol, there are a lot of well-priced merlots made that are more for early consumption. These come from the satellite Bordeaux regions.
The English built up a thirst for the better Bordeaux reds which they have coined 'clarets'. These are often tucked away for a while in their cellars to age and drunk with a few years under their belts. But not all Bordeaux is built for aging, so choose wisely.
For whites, there are the crisp and easily quaffed whites from Entre De Meurs, or the more ambitious oak-aged Semillion Sauvignon blends from Pessac Legonan. The queen of dessert wines, Sauternes can also call Bordeaux home. French oak maturation is a common thread amongst the elite reds, whites and sweet wines.
White:Semillon, Sauvignon Blanc, Muscadelle
Red: Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Malbec, Petit Verdot
Some of the most highly rated recent vintages are 2005, 2009, 2010, 2016 and 2018.
Montrose, Pichon Lalande, Poitevin, D'Yquem, Coutet,
Sigalas Rabaud 2010 375ml
Sauternes (1st Growth)
This has quite a bit of sulphur on the nose at first, but it clears with aeration. It remains tightly-coiled, with lemon, honey, apricot and limestone, demonstrating fine minerality. The palate has great tension on the entry, quite spicy and nutty in style, with a vibrant, zesty finish. This is an exuberant Sigalas-Rabaud with great potential. NEAL MARTIN
A very full wine, with good but unobtrusive sweetness and above all a great brightness / freshness to the middle-fruit that, together with the just-enough acidity, take this remarkably full yet pure wine through to a very fine, minty, tight finish. This is clearly about to become the closest recent vintage to this chÃ¢teau's golden days of the 60s. It reminds me of a latter day version of the great 67.Â BILL BLATCH2010Sem/Sauv BlendFrance356$85.00 As low as $76.50
Langoa Barton 2006 375mlThe 2006 Château Langoa Barton has a lifted nose of small dark cherries, blackberry, incense and marmalade - quite showy for Langoa Barton - but there is joie-de-vivre here. The palate is medium-bodied with supple tannin, ripe and demonstrating impressive density plus a firm grip. This really coats the mouth in tannin, although it is still balanced. It just needs another 4-5 years in bottle. NEAL MARTIN2003Cabernet BlendsFrance356$115.00 As low as $103.50
The 2016 Rieussec has an elegant bouquet of pure honeysuckle, orange pith, peach and light minerally aromas. The palate is well balanced with fine precision and pleasant fatness, featuring white peach and almond-infused, honeyed fruit. A touch of vanilla emerges toward the finish. This was a barrel sample due to be bottled in January 2019, though it was virtually the finished wine (93) NEAL MARTIN
2016Sem/Sauv BlendFrance356$150.00 As low as $135.00