Though many consider Bordeaux the largest, most venerable and finest wine region, it remains invisible on restaurants’ menus and at local retailers. There’s a misperception that Bordeaux is always very expensive, as well as a lack of familiarity and general confusion about its style—not to mention its complicated pronunciation. These are formidable obstacles, but Bordeaux is making a strong comeback. Last year, the U.S. consumed nearly 20 percent more Bordeaux by value than in 2016. These three won recent blind tastings in their categories and are great starting points.
Chateau Meyney, Saint-Estèphe, 2014
This rich, concentrated wine would surely satisfy a California cabernet lover. With 25 percent merlot and 10 percent petit verdot, it has an intriguing aroma of black fig, coffee and spice, and a full-bodied expression with dense, chewy, complex flavors: spicy cherries, cedar and blueberry. The tannins are assertive, and it would benefit from 3 to 5 years in the cellar—or decant and enjoy it now.
$60, Common Vine
Chateau La Tour de Bessan, Margaux, 2015
Margaux, at least by reputation, produces the most elegant and subtle wine of all the famous
Bordeaux villages. From the outstanding 2015 vintage, this bottle has signature herbal, dark berry aromas but is more intense and ripe than one might expect, with cocoa-like, tobacco and blackberry flavors. It’s a wine that will age for up to 10 years, but is fine right now with a hanger steak.
$35, Whole Foods
Vivens by Chateau Durfort-Vivens, Margaux, 2013
This is what is known as a “second wine” from a famous estate, one of the 61 “classified growths” of Bordeaux. Made with grapes harvested from younger vines on the property and aged less in the barrel, it’s ready to drink earlier. Spicy, bold and strongly marked by bell pepper and cassis notes, this delicious wine’s substantial tannins and velvet texture match well with roast lamb and rosemary.
$45, Urban Grape