Our 2019 Bordeaux Discovery Collection Case, features top value picks from across the region. While the top Chateaux and their Grand Vins often steal the limelight, there are a plethora of wines that offer staggering value in this mecca for Cabernet and Merlot based wines. Many of these wines are in fact the lesser-known projects from some of the finest viticultural and winemaking teams in Bordeaux. For example, Chateau Grand Village is produced by the team at Chateau Lafleur, Chateau Capbern hails from the team behind Chateau Calon Segur and Chateau Montlandrie comes from the late, great Denis Durantou of Chateau L’Eglise Clinet. The aforementioned wines all sold out on release, so this is a unique opportunity to secure these revered bottles.
This is a collection of some of the finest under-the-radar wines from the 2019 En Primeur campaign. It provides a fantastic insight into the depth of this fine wine region and allows you to explore Bordeaux at your own pace, tasting and comparing the different styles and what the varying appellations and their terroirs bring to the wines.
Chateau Grand Village
“From this small estate, the Guinaudau family (who also own Chateau Lafleur) consistently produces a top-notch wine from its 40-acre vineyard.” – Robert Parker
If you want to get a taste of Château Lafleur but can’t afford this superlative Pomerol
domaine’s wines, you can’t go wrong with Grand Village in Fronsac. Grown and vinified by the same people – the Guinaudeau family and their winemaker Omri Ram – Grand Village is officially a Bordeaux Superieur but it is far superior than its assigned appellation suggests. With plants selected from Lafleur vines and improvements in the cellar, it makes an impressive Bordeaux and always shows superb precision.
Since 2012, this Saint-Estèphe gem has been run by the team behind Château Calon-Ségur and is on the up and up. It is a 38-hectare vineyard with a little more Merlot in the ground – and in the blend – than its third growth stablemate but it remains a classically structured Cabernet Sauvignon-based blend with all the carefully harnessed power you’d hope for from the appellation’s finest estates.
“…a property that has really been getting its act together in recent years.” – Neal
In the last decade, Labégorce has become a go-to Margaux for drinkers in the know and with
the completion of a new winery in 2019, its upward trajectory is likely to continue. There has been a greening of the vineyard, reducing chemical inputs and improving biodiversity while raising the quality bar. From 2014 onwards, the world’s leading critics have rewarded its diligent makers with praiseworthy remarks and impressive scores. It encapsulates all that is good about the Margaux appellation with its charm, restraint and elegance.
“With high-density planting and soils like Saint-Estèphe this is a great terroir and with old vines (40 years old) this is the reason why this wine is so delicious.” – Matthew Jukes
From Domaines Delon, the company behind the exceptional Château Léoville Las Cases, Potensac might only qualify for the Médoc appellation due to its northerly location but
it consistently produces wine that outperforms expectations. Its pedigree has long been recognised: the hamlet of Potensac cited in the first edition of Bordeaux wine bible Féret (1846) for the special characteristics and longevity of its wines. More recently, leading French wine publication Bettane & Desseauve say: “For more than 30 years, Potensac is the best value for money and has the best ageing potential for the price in all of Bordeaux.”
Château Mauvesin Barton
This is the new venture from the makers of Châteaux Langoa- and Léoville-Barton. The Barton
family has been a key player in the appellation of Saint-Julien since buying their first property in 1821 and for the first time, in 2011, they now expanded their reach to nearby Moulis-en-Médoc, buying Château Mauvesin, where Melanie Barton-Sartorius, the next generation of Bartons (and the family’s first-ever qualified oenologist) has taken over the winemaking. Since the acquisition, there has been major investment in both the vineyards and winery:
underperforming blocks have been replanted with more suitable rootstocks, herbicides have been abandoned, a new cellar has been built, barrel rooms have been restored and a new tasting room created.
“Always an accessible Bordeaux that doesn’t try to copy the oak or potency of the grands
crus but that masterfully plays instead with finesse, freshness and fruit.” -Bettane & Desseauve.
From the property of Pierre Lurton, the man who manages Château d’Yquem and Cheval Blanc by day, this Entre-deux-Mers makes far more complex wine than its appellation would suggest. Situated on clay and limestone soils around 10 miles south of Saint-Émilion,
this has been Lurton’s home and side project. In 2017, he employed a technical director and started vinifying parcel by parcel. The 40-acre vineyard includes old vines and even Malbec that dates back to the 1940s.
“…in terms of value, you cannot beat his crus from surrounding appellations such as Le
Chanade and Montlandrie” – Neal Martin, Vinous
Just days before the 2019 en primeur began, the Bordeaux wine community was in mourning for Denis Durantou. He had turned L’Eglise Clinet into one of Pomerol’s finest, as well as buying Château Montlandrie in the appellation of Castillon Côtes de Bordeaux in 2009. Under new ownership, it quickly made an impression: tasting the 2011 vintage in 2014, Robert Parker extolled its virtues. “this wine outperforms many of Bordeaux’s more famous names in this vintage. A stunner in quality and value”. Similarly, on tasting the 2015, Decanter’s Jane Anson said: “this Castillon shows what can be achieved outside of the usual top-line appellations. Before his untimely death, a 1,200-metre square winery had just been completed and he had started planting massale selections of Cabernet Franc from old vines at L’Eglise Clinet. The limestone-rich slopes of Montlandrie and Durantou’s daughters will continue to produce fruit that belies its modest appellation.
“Château Puygueraud is an outstanding value priced Bordeaux wine with character that has the ability to age and develop... ” – Jeff Leve, Wine Cellar Insider
On the Right Bank, a Belgian family has become a local institution. The Thienponts, whose
branches have spread across Pomerol and Saint-Émilion, are also doing their bit in the little-known, late-ripening appellation of Francs Côtes de Bordeaux. Nicolas Thienpont, the cousin of Le Pin’s Jacques Thienpont and Vieux Château Certan’s Alexandre Thienpont, grew up at Puygueraud, which was purchased by his parents in the late 1940s. Today, he runs Puygueraud, as well as managing estates including Saint-Émilion’s Pavie-Macquin, which was promoted to premier grand cru classé in 2012 under his stewardship. At one of the highest elevations of the Right Bank, the 14th century château Puygueraud surveys the 47-ha vineyard whose mainly Merlot vines (80%) sits on clay-limestone.
“This is a wine that has improved over recent years and is really one to watch” – Decanter
There have been big changes at this Lalande de Pomerol estate since the Artemis group, owners of Gucci and Château Latour among others, took a stake in the property in 2014.
Biodynamic viticulture has been introduced and Latour’s agronomist has made the move to the Right Bank while Jean-Claude Berrouet, formerly of Petrus, has been brought on as a consultant. Decanter’s Bordeaux correspondent, Jane Anson says: “There’s no doubt that the Latour name has added a serious amount of weight to the idea of Lalande de Pomerol being the next big thing in Bordeaux – the modest appellation where the smart money goes.”
Château Tour Saint Christophe
“This is probably the best value in all of Bordeaux today for high quality wine at a fair price.”
– Jeff Leve, The Wine Insider
This once-overlooked estate has always the right ingredients but not found the right recipe for success until Vietnamese-born banker Peter Kwok and his daughter Karen came along in 2011. Their group, Vignobles K, also owns six other properties on the Right Bank including Château Bellefont Belcier. Since the acquisition, “everything” has changed at Tour Saint Christophe: one-third of the vineyard was ripped out and replanted at a higher density, the winery had a total overhaul and a neighbouring estate was purchased to increase their holding. To say quality has improved under its new custodians would be an
understatement. If you want to find out why recent vintages of this Saint-Émilion wine have caught the eye of the critics, you’re in luck: it is one of the most welcoming estates in Bordeaux for visitors.
Château de Fonbel
“Alain Vauthier, who owns this small estate, has been ratcheting up the level of quality at Fonbel just as he has at his more well-known properties, Ausone and Moulin St.-Georges.” – Robert Parker
From the same stable as Chateau Ausone, Fonbel benefits from the know-how of its esteemed owners, the Vauthier family. Sitting on the flats to the south of the village of Saint-Émilion, the composition of the vineyard is rather unusual: yes, Merlot makes up the majority of plantings but Cabernet Sauvignon represents around one-quarter of the site, as well as a decent smattering of Carmenère and Petit Verdot. The resulting blend is an intriguing combination that offers precision and freshness of its elder siblings that’s should be enjoyed in the first decade of its life.
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