Bordeaux value wines

I am a complete novice to Bordeaux. I had a few friends over for some steak over the weekend and one of them brought a $12.00 Bordeaux - 2019 La Rose de Virtrac - from the Total Wine at the retail level of my apartment complex. I was expecting a harsh, green wine. I couldn’t have been more wrong. It took a four hour decant to open up, but when it did, it was supple with brambly fruit, violets, and subtle earth and graphite notes, and a shockingly resonant finish. Is this indicative of Bordeaux at this price or did a good vintage just lift all tides? I don’t think I have ever tasted a red wine at this price point that was of such quality. Could find almost no information about this wine or estate online.

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As someone who was recently in the same boat, I would call it a “gateway” wine, though the vintage certainly helps. It’s a wine that opens your eyes to a style and makes you wonder how high it goes. Unfortunately for the cash-strapped novices, the peak of Bordeaux is pretty high. Not Everest high (Burgundy) or K2 difficulty (probably also Burgundy), but certainly up there.

I recall mine in 2017:
2010 Chateau Larose-Trintaudon Haut-Medoc Cru Bourgeois

I immediately went out and blindly bought a bunch of random Bordeaux in the $20-50 price range and 2013-2015 vintages, knowing nothing about the vintages, appellations, or Chateaux. No regrets, it’s what got me “into” wine.

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Green Bordeaux in the 2000’s? Harsh (tannins)?

I wish there still were Bordeaux wines that had firm tannins and showed any herbaceous qualities. Haven’t seen one in a long time.

So, yes, definitely indicative of contemporary Bordeaux. The more expensive bottles can have impressive tannic structures, but can’t remember a Bordeaux that had noticeable greenness that wasn’t from the 1990’s or older.

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You started with a perfect example! By coincidence I opened one last night - at peak but with plenty of time left. L-T is one of my bankers, which I buy almost every year. Excellent value and very reliable, better than many CCs at a fraction of their prices.

I’d never heard of it so I looked it up - in fact there was a slight spelling mistake:
https://www.wine-searcher.com/find/chateaularose+de+vitrac+bordeaux+france/1/france
It’s one of a myriad of similar domains, producing generic wines like this one - they seem to be based in Entre-Deux-Mers. Often they do indeed provide great value, but vintages do play a role at this level.

Money does make a difference and especially with non classified wines. The difference between a $30 and $50 wine can be very small, or inexistent, whereas there is usually a big difference between a $12 and a $20 wine. For example, the previously mentioned Larose-Trintaudon, costing around $20, will give you really quite a classy drink for only a little more. There are lots of alternatives which I’m sure have been mentioned in other threads.

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Pichon Lalande still has a slightly green profile, although muted. Ditto Sociando Mallet. Most of the wines I loved for that green edge have gone for ripeness, including Figeac. Not necessarily a poorer wine, but some of the tension from more angular tannins has been lost.

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Scott, to try to answer your specific questions: In general, inexpensive red Bordeaux is a great place to look for bargains, regardless of vintage. It may be unusual to find a great bargain at $12, but there are lots of good bottles for less than $20. Look, for instance, at the wines of Cotes de Castillon – Chateau Joanin Becot, Chateau d’Aiguilhe, Chateau Ampelia, Chateau Cote Montpezat (roughly in order of preference) are all excellent and all less than $20 in recent vintages.

There are 4,000 producers in the Bordeaux appellation alone – that’s the lowest category in the appellation hierarchy – and there are many overperformers in that crowd. Obviously, it is very difficult to navigate, but a good wine store will do a lot of the hard work for you. (If you are near Boston, note that the Wine Cask in Somerville is a shop that cares about inexpensive Bordeaux.)

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Thanks, Ted. I was able to procure four different vintages of the Becot today, starting with the 2014 vintage. Looking forward to a little exploration.

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Interesting thread. I was a tad confused by the title “value” vs the thread mainly dealing with inexpensive. Value can be had at all price points I think, eg Ch Batailley rewards the patient, it’s a long haul wine, and is a VG value in its bracket. So many others.

Def agree that inexpensive Bordeaux is often a delight for those seeking balanced, refreshing wines to go with lunch or mid week dinner. I pray it continues to stay out of the limelight.

Take a look at @William_Kelley 's latest report on Bordeaux. There are a number of highly regarded (both in terms of scores and verbiage) wines that can be had for well south of $50.

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I haven’t had many at all. But I have really liked the Les Griffons de Pichon baron 16 and 18 for 50 bucks.

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For a pretty good thread on less expensive Bordeaux (although one that is several years old), see Tasting of Wines from the Crus Bourgeois du Medoc - WINE TALK - WineBerserkers

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I just bought 2007 Lanessan from K&L from $18. Values abound, just ignore the vintage and buy freely. You’ll find both duds and gems and will learn a lot.

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My favorite value Bordeaux are Senejac, Lanessan, Lillian Ladouys, and Cambon Pelouse. All in the $20 range.

Bought some 2008 Cantermerle last week - really good and well priced in our market.

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I had a 2009 Castegens last night - a wine that in its current vintage is retailing for $14.95. I can’t say I enjoyed it that much. It was overly extracted and heavy on prune flavors, for my palate, but was objectively a good wine with what I assume is a long life ahead of it. I’m fascinated by how age worthy even the most entry level wines are.