"drinkable now" moderately priced red Bordeaux suggestions?

I’m seeking advice on $25-$75 red Bordeaux that are drinkable now. For me, that means both young releases that aren’t overextracted tannic monsters, and those with enough age on them to be showing more mature characteristics. Mostly I’m looking for something to drink while the heavier hitters from '00 and '05 slumber. Bordeaux is a region where we stocked up on long term agers when we first started getting in to wine (there may have been some shameful points chasing, but we were all new once, right?), but really haven’t paid as much attention to in the years since. It’s time to correct that a little.

Based on limited exposure, we tend to prefer left bank over right, and would prefer things that aren’t too spoofulated. Oh, and I’m looking for actual Bdx wines so we can explore the region, not semi-lookalikes from other regions. We’re starting to enjoy more Loire Cab Franc based on the board’s suggestions, for example, but that’s not the point of this exercise today.

Jeff J

If $75 is your cap for moderately priced…

'83 Talbot (seen some popping up occasionally at places like HDH for about $60-70)
'86 or '89 Meyney (usually in the $50-65 range)
'86 or '89 Sociando Mallet (if you like Loire CF, this should be your style - a bit of green, but I’ve always liked the green aspect to PLL and Sociando and find it adds some freshness/complexity to the wine.)

look for 01 Vieille Cure Fronsac on Berserker Day tomorrow [whistle.gif]
(although Merlot based I think)

$75 is actually pushing what I’d call moderately priced - I went that high to open up a few more options for older bottles. Under $50 would be better, particularly if they’re recent release stuff. I know Bordeaux tends to get to silly prices quickly, so I’m trying to open the budget a little…

see my post–under 30 I think

I strongly second Salil’s recommendation and I would expand it to include '85 and '88. '85 may be the best of all of these.

I’m sure under $30 many of the same suspects will pop up; Lanessan, Lilian Ladouys, Caronne Ste. Gemme, Le Thil, etc. I also would be afraid to seek out some of the bigger names in the 2008 vintage as a lot of those are still available at substantial discounts.

I recently reviewed my tasting notes, CT notes and some pro scores on this exact question to do some back filling myself. These all seem acclaimed across the board (I have not tried them all, but I hope this helps your search). Prices current per Wine Searcher. You may want to look at 2001 Malescot, which is out there for $60. Version 2004 is out there for $50. 2003 Smith Haut Lafitte can be had for $60.

2003 Legrange is really nice and drinks well with a long decant. ($48) Right now the 2002 is drinking even better ($60).

You may want to look at 2003 Clerc Milon ($68) or Canon La Gaffeliere at $65 (right bank, I know).

At the top of your range, if you see 2000 d’Issan on sale, I would recommend it. Even more so, I would highly recommend Ferriere (3rd Growth, Margaux). Probably my wine of the year last year and the CT notes indicate I wasn’t the only one who thought so. $75. This wine is all silk and refinement. Another option is 2000 Langoa Barton at $70. 2004 Pontet Canet can be had for $72.

Just north of your range are the 2000 Legrange ($80), 2000 Giscours at $85 and 2003 Clos Fourtet at $80. The Clos Fourtet is also right bank, but it is brilliant right now.

Good luck!

'01 and '04 are good years to look at for this purpose. Towards the lower end of the range, I like to keep a supply of Medoc cru bourgeois from the last vintage or two on hand - doesn’t much matter which. They don’t cost enough to finance spoofulation so they’re usually pretty satisfying.

I’m surprised that no one has mentioned 1999 yet. Great vintage, drinking fabulously now, and priced appropriately. The Leoville Barton is excellent and may be just above your price range, but there are lots of options at lower prices as well.

For readily available, young Bordeaux, Lanessan 2009 is the bomb. If you are getting in to Cab Franc, you will like this red-fruited wine. The Le Thil is way too oaked for my palate. I’m looking forward to trying the 09 Lilian Ladouys.

2009 Lanessan is a great recommendation.

Ch. Rollan de By 2009 superb for 30 USD and Ch. la Tour de By 2008 equally good for 23 USD.

Lots of great suggestions so far. Salil hit a number of really fine 80s era bdx that are within your strike range. I also heartily endorse Keith’s mention of Lanessan, which is a ridiculous value in almost any vintage. It is known for long life, though, so some recent vintages may not be too friendly (haven’t opened a 2009 yet). The 2003 is an anomaly; a terrific drink already, and somewhat atypical as it edges just a touch to the fruity side. It isn’t Magrez-like, by any stretch, but it is somewhat more generous than most vintages.

I’ll add to the list when I have time

Another vintage that somehow has been omitted so far is 1996. I can’t recall being disappointed with '96 left-bankers. Just bought Sociando at $60/btl from JJBuckley. Cantemerle, Poujeaux, and Les Ormes de Pez are other good choices. Pontet Canet, Leoville Barton, Calon Segur, and Lagrange are all superb, and occasionally available in your range.

Sorry guys - I never got a chance to reply to all of the advice in this thread. Lots of good suggestions. I particularly appreciate the suggestions for vintages, as that’s really half the battle. Now to do a little browsing for retail bottles (I don’t do auctions, and I’m looking for no more than 1-2 bottles of a given wine to start), and hopefully the cellar should be primed for a few evenings of grilled meats :slight_smile:

And it’s nice to know that Bordeaux can still be approached successfully without triple digit price tags. I get enough of that in Burgundy, thank you very much…