Posts Tagged ‘Bordeaux’

Traditional method bubbles are getting more affordable these days.  When you stumble upon one that you’ve never heard of before, don’t search for an excuse to save it for a special occasion. Chill it and have it tonight.  You don’t even have to pair it with anything!  Well, when I say affordable, most budget to moderately-priced bottles (under $25) are fair game.

I’ve written about bubbles in the past: how they’re made, whats in them, etc. Some are tasty, others not so much.  How do I decide which ones to buy that I’ve never seen before?  *shrug   The label is typically no help, the dark-colored thick glass makes it impossible to see the wine…  The only senses left are taste and smell and we can’t do that if the vino is trapped in the bottle.

The wine is lightly yellow in color and the soft mousse has a curiously subtle green tinge.  Oranges, light spices and soft hints of yeast make for a pretty complex aroma. Mouth-feel is slightly sweet and the fizz is bright. Palate is fresh, tangy and more than a little complex with layers of grain drifting to the back of the nose.  The finish has a faint sourness but the yeast essence makes up for that.

I think I’ll give this a recommendation if you can find it.  Even then, its not overly rare, so expect a  price tag of ~$20/btl.

There’s no special day like today.  Cheers!



**images credit:  Google Image Search. claims no ownership and republishes under fair use provisions for product review and critique.

One of the most consistently delicious and pedigreed wines I’ve been keeping very detailed notes on is an affordable junior-level vino from one of the most recognizable vintners in the world: Louis Jadot. Its trademark frieze of Bacchus and uniquely colored label stands out on any shelf in any vino purveyor’s shoppe.

Though my tastings have only dated from the 2004 vintage, this historic vino travels back in time to the early 1800’s.  The winery has been passed down through the last 200 years to various parties whose best interests ensure the sustainability or the vineyards and most importantly the consistency of the final product.

(V) 2004 – the beginning of my tasting was almost the end.  A prominent barnyard aroma, slight cherry flavor yet thin on the palate and no finish at all.

(V) 2005 – dark and ominous in the glass, the faint layer of earthiness is rather pleasing with a strawberry essence on top.  Berry-forward palate with the earth on moderate finish.

(V) 2006 – We went through two bottles of this amazing vino at an out-of-the-way bistro during a trip to Paris. Took another back to the hotel for the evening.  Smooth palate, flavors of raspberry and cherry with a silky finish. Great for breakfast sopped up with day-old baguette. Best bottle yet!

(V) 2007 – Predominantly peppery on the nose, tangy strawberry flavor, bright acidity –  deliciously gulpable!  Almost Nouveau in style.

(V) 2008 – Spicy cherry on the nose with hint of peppercorn.  Rather light-bodied and finishes with a hint of anise.  Strange flavor profile for this type of vino but still drinkable.

(V) 2009 – Crushed strawberry and barnyard on the nose, lively acidity on the mid-weight palate, distinctive peppercorn finish.

Prices range from ~$8/btl to as high as ~$17/btl as your local vino merchant

Six years, six bottles of the same vino produced from vines as old as 200 years. Consistent and enjoyable and ready for the release of 2010’s offering.   I have several other vinos with years of detailed notes like this; look for another retrospective sometime soon.

A Santé!!



**image credit: via WineAlign. makes no claim to ownership and republishes under fair use provisions for review and critique.

Not too long ago, a friend emailed me a list of bottles he had in his cellar and the two questions I hear a lot: “How long can I cellar this?” and “Is this still drinkable?”  One such bottle on that list was the Christian Moueix Merlot 2005, Bordeaux.

Like the recently reviewed Chateau La Fleur Terrien 2008, Bordeaux, the Moueix winery is located in that portion of the Right Bank appellation of the Bordeaux region.  As such, this mass-produced vino may come off as unrefined and/or lacking the depth and complexity we’ve come to expect from these regional blends and single-grape varieties.

With an off-red almost tawny hue, the nose is very wooded and alcohol forward with some scents of red berry coming through.  Mouth-feel is tannic and stemmy and middle of weight.  The finish is rather bitter and lastingly dull.

This 2005 vintage has a drinkability date of 2011, so most of whats in stock wherever you purchase your vino should be consumed if you’re up to it – personally, I’d not even cook with it.  If you have it in your cellar try it for yourself but this vinoboy can no longer recommend it.  More recent releases of Moueix Merlots no longer carry a vintage date.

Though honestly turned off by this unbalanced and uninspired offering, I’m game to try another fresher bottle of what Christian Mouiex has to offer.



**image credit – republished using the image posted at – no ownership of image is expressed or implied by

Thank you to Mel from Hamilton Ontario for suggesting this vino.  He received the bottle as a gift, went searching for reviews, and though I’d not tried it as of yet, he was impressed enough with this vinoblog to submit the recommendation via .

This is a rather beginner-level Bordeaux. It originates from a portion of the region that focuses on more of a mass production scale rather than smaller more carefully tended batches.  In this humble vinoboy’s opinion, a mass produced Bordeaux lacks quite a bit of the refinement and complexity to that of its peers.  We all know the main components of a Bordeaux-blend, this one is primarily Merlot, Cabs Franc and Sauv in equal amounts make up the balance. With that in mind, I popped the cork…

*gasp  Though the  nose is certainly alcohol forward – scents of cherry, earth and a mild peppery note come through nicely.  The earthy essence stimulates a medium mouth feel with a sensation of violets, mild cedar and the faintest hint of toasty nuts. A moderately grating finish of curious cocoa and tannin.

A barely-recommended value at ~$15/btl, buy two bottles, drink one now and cellar the other for 3-5 years.  This should take some of the grating edge off.




**image credit – Winealign (links on the right) via Google Image search. claims no ownership of the image and reproduces it here under fair use provisions for review and critique.

1930 – 2010.  Celebrating 80 years, they’ve made a lot of it, sold a lot of it and made lots of money.

Back in its heyday of the 1970’s and 80’s, Baron Philippe de Rothschild was THE wine to drink with your table-side service at the finest restaurants.  It tasted like nothing else on the market at the time and even though you might not have liked it back then you still drank it because you were seen as a certified wine snob drinking ACTUAL France-french wine! WootWoot!!

I’ve been debating now for a few weeks reviewing this vino as its a very well-known winemaker, well-priced to make it accessible and everyone has tried it.  This is one of the drawbacks to a real French wine in the ~$9-$14 price range.

As with its red counterpart, this Bordeaux Blanc is a regionally-named blend of Sauvignon Blanc, Semillon,  and Muscadelle.  In an attempt to refine my wine-tasting skills, with the help of a vino-friend; I’ve been tasting most of my new entries blindfolded.  I carefully ponder all the non-visual aspects of a vino and as I ramble and consider, my vino-friend takes notes.

The nose is obviously lemon with unripened melon-y notes. A characteristic spritzy sensation dominates the forward palate while herbaceous grassy flavors, twangs of lychee and mineral round out the palate.  The finish is short and easy-going but leans very much towards boring.

Admittedly, this IS one of Baron Philippe de Rothschild’s more junior brands, but come on! Really? To say this stuff is only barely borderline drinkable is to be overly kind.  With all the competition and product knowledge in today’s marketplace, this wine is a let-down on a Bordeaux-sized scale.



**image credit – Google Image Search.

So…  Having sampled California and Ontario Clarets and Meritages, I thought it high-time I tried the true Bordeaux-blended vino. Also, at ~$17/blt, its a bit of a splurge right now; even for a dinner with friends and a good cut of beef.

Dark red to the point of looking like blood, my first impression based on its aromas of black cherries and currants would be a dense, complex wine a little out of my league. But no! I am surprised by its medium mouth feel and pleased by a silky structure and round not-too-puckery tannis.

Dinner isn’t quite ready yet, so I gently decanted the whole bottle to let it air for a bit.  This made a remarkable difference in the lingering finish; heightening the woodiness of its 12 months in classic light-toasted French oak and the subtle wisps of vanilla.

Most sources I researched after I wrote this review say this vino is mature right now for best characteristics. I think this can be stored for another four to five years and still come out tasting true to its roots.



**image credit goes to Google Image searching. Though the images on the winery’s website are exquisite, they’re not large enough to have fit the motif of this vinoblog.

One of the more rare wines I’ve had the opportunity to experience is very much a mouthful. Domaine de la Solitude’s Bordeaux of the Holy Commune of Saint-Familie 2004 from the Pessac-Leognan region of southwestern France, in the countryside outside of the city of Bordeaux itself.

I had picked this $64 bottle up for a special occasion and hoped the dinner guests and our host would enjoy it, but as it turns out, none was a wine drinker. So I savored this deep garnet yumminess over the course of the entire evening.

At first uncorking, and pouring a bit into the glass my initial reaction was to that of opening a box of chocolate-covered cherries. The bouquet of warm spices led to a smooth, toasty flavor of rich oak and tobacco, and finished with a lingering tannin. As the bottle breathed over the next few hours, the flavors softened even more until the last glass, though not as vibrant as the first, was supple and dry with soft leathery notes.

Sipping all by itself before dinner was nice but it was great with the grilled NY Strip and garlic mashed potatoes our host served. I’m sure it would pair fabulously with a very old cheddar too, but at $64 a pop, that would have to be one really special wine-and-cheese party!


Pessac-Leognan France