Mr. Duroux -
Thank you so much for entertaining our questions.
Palmer represents one of the great Bordeaux made, but at its price point, it is for many of us a luxury commodity. A welcomed commodity, but not one that many of us drink on a regular basis.
There is considerable debate on his website regarding whether Bordeaux has priced itself out of the market for the average drinker. Some of us truly believe otherwise, as there remain many well-priced Bordeaux in the marketplace.
Can you make any recommendations of Bordeaux estates, especially “up and comers,” that you think represent a great value, and which remain true to the varied terroir of Bordeaux?
I totally agree with the idea that Bordeaux has a lot of incredible opportunities to offer. Just remember: 10 000 chateaux!!!
I was yesterday walking in a supermarket and could see a bottle of Chateau Poujeaux (Moulis) 2010 for 20 €. This is a true bargain (great terroir, very good winemaking and fantastic vintage).
Last night I poped up a bottle of “La Tour de Gilet” 2009. This is a Bordeaux Supérieur made in Ludon (close to Margaux) with 60% of Petit Verdot in the blend. I payed 6,50 € for it. And this very good. Of course this is very different from a classified growth, but I really believe there is a time for everything.
Thank you so much. I love Poujeaux, and buy it in many vintages, including '09. Will now have to grab the '10. Will search for the other bottle you noted.
Are any of these easily accessible in the States?
Well Poujeaux is for sure. La tour de gilet I would be surprised…
That’s the problem with small estate in Bordeaux: there is no good distribution
And if there was good distribution, they would be less of a value as the price would go up!
We have so many really good specialty importers in this country and it is a shame that none of them other than maybe Rosenthaul devotes any real attention to Bordeaux.
Actually this harkens to a question I was wondering as well. Why do you think that American based importers that supports vignerons do not devote attention to Bordeaux? Does it have to do with the financial structure? A history of chemicals being used in the vineyards? Style? Or even the impression of Bordeaux among the American consumers of “natural”/ “minimalist” wines?
Well I think that the answer is much easier: none or very few of the small Bordeaux producer have a commercial structure. That means that they don’t have an exclusif importer in the US. Their wines are sold through the négociant system in Bordeaux. So any importer can buy what ever they want… the result is a strong price competition and in the end there is no interest anymore for cheap wines with no margin
Poujeaux is very easy to find in the States. Been buying it for years. The '95 I recently had was delicious.
In your neck of the woods, both K&L and JJ Buckley carry it.
Yes of course but Poujeaux is not exactly the unknown little bordeaux we were discussing!!!
No, but it is an exceptional buy (i.e., quality price ratio - QPR)! I paid $30 USD for the 2009 and see the 2010 for $32-35 USD. I put La Lagune and Sociando Mallet in this same QPR camp, but they are a bit more. I paid $55 USD for the '09 La Lagune. These two wines represent great values in Bordeaux, and can serve to graduate new wine connoseurs to the pleasures of the top-flight Bordeaux, like Palmer.
Any QPR Margaux that suit your fancy?
You may be pleased to know that fellow Board Member, Marc Fontario, thinks Alter Ego is the best QPR coming out of Margaux, if not the Medoc peninsula.
Well I can’t agree more with Marc!!!
Angludet and Montbrison are the two I am thinking of in Margaux
05 labegorce zede was a delight for the $$$. Alter ego unfortunately has been getting pricey, but I will never knock the free market system.
My other love is D’issan. Alter ego and D’issan all day please!
Chateau Palmers attention to quality is top notch…just look at Alter Ego in less herald vintages like '02 and '04…they are gorgeous examples of Margaux terroir.
a bottle of 2000 Siran I had recently was quite good, and definitely affordable.
Never had it… too bad. I will ask Edouard Miaihle to let me taste one!
Howard asks a very good question.
I think the answer is that Bordeaux is too strongly associated with the great growths on certain markets.
Serving a Palmer is chic and a status symbol - or the sign of a true wine lover, not necessarily a snob!
But the “petits Bordeaux” are a minefield in terms of quality, let’s be honest.
Still, it is a mystery why no one seems to have put together a portfolio of carefully-selected, affordable Bordeaux châteaux and sold them far and wide in the US. Why, if I were 20 years younger… .
Of course, there is the problem of estate wines everywhere: if you did have the perfect “petit Bordeaux” at an unbeatable price, there’s only so much of it to go around…
The holy grail in Bordeaux is to produce brands: good quality at the right price, with great packaging and marketing clout. This may sound like heresy to connoisseurs, but I think that this is possible. Mouton Cadet has showed us the way.
I read messages on the wine boards about people who enthuse about esoteric wines like Cour-Chervney, Bugey, etc., but these same people avoid Bordeaux because they think it’s “old hat”, and the drink of stuffy bourgeois consumers.
I think too that, if they were honest, these same people would admit that, with thousands of châteaux, it’s a lot easier to turn their back on the whole thing with a sour grapes attitude than try to investigate what’s good…
But, for sure, Bordeaux offers tremendous value for money, particularly in the Côtes appellations. For me, these wines - when good - are a no-brainer compared to California cabernets on the low-to-medium end of the market.