A deal on this caliber of Bordeaux doesn't come around often

June 4, 2012

I had a very nice Memorial Day weekend with family and at work. Still doing a few days a week at Grove Market and this weekend we rocked. The place is always booked up, but everything fell into place for three blockbuster evenings.I love it when it is busy. Lots of smiling, satiated diners and the night goes by swiftly. I made an entrée of cod filled with lobster salad and topped with lobster soufflé (not that poor substitute imperial sauce) and some lobster bisque as an app. Sold like burgers and potato salad at a Memorial Day picnic.

Want to sample ready-to-drink Bordeaux on the cheap? Gary’s Wine is offering a six-pack of halves for $99.99 with free shipping. I hate to tout out-of-the-area sellers, but I can find no one who offers this type of half bottle situation in Delaware. Pretty sad! Here’s the lineup on the six: 2004 Chateau Cos Labory Saint Estephe (RP 89); 2005 Chateau Fonbel Saint-Emilion Grand Cru (RP 90); 2006 Chateau Siran Margaux (WS 88); 2007 Chateau Lacoste Borie Pauillac; 2008 Chateau Teynac Saint Julien; 2009 Chateau Seguin Pessac-Leognan (RP 91-93). Do yourself a favor if you enjoy great Bordeaux - buy an entire case. This type of deal does not come around often.

Rarely written about here, or anywhere for that matter, is the L’Esprit de Chevalier Blanc. The 2009 are wonderful white Bordeaux. Can be found for $25. Pretty, pale gold with a slight green tint; the nose is complex. I discern honeysuckle, peaches and almonds. On the palate, honeydew, lychee, gage plums and pleasing minerality lead to a long finish that is both rich and clean; 91 points McD.

Big buck buyers who held fire saw Jos. Phelps Insignia run up to $200 when Parker, Galloni and Stigman WS touted it as 95-97 on release. I realize that is big money, but it is a value now. Insignia is a Bordeaux blend, 89 percent Cab, 4 Merlot and 7 Petit Verdot. Still purple black, it is starting to lighten. Cassis, dark fruit, chocolate, graphite and flowers load the bouquet.. Silky tannins and great fruit are expressed on the mid palate; the finish goes on forever. Well balanced already, but will improve. Will cellar 30 years. Available in halves.  Recent price $135. A very solid 97 points at this price. Possibly one price point. I say hold in cellar for five years, but buy it soon. These prices will escalate when smart buyers catch on.

WS  rated the Argentinian Malbec QPR 90 points. Although Malbec is not my cup of wine, I sampled Trivento Amado Sur 2009, to give those interested a peek. The wine is produced by Concha y Toro. I have been a huge fan of theirs since the 1980s, as longtime readers will be aware. They did not drop the ball here.

The Trivento 2009 is a dark purple color. Its nose shows pungent ripe black currant, raspberry, ganache and black licorice riding a balanced frame of polished tannins and proper acid. The long finish is clean and the raspberry shines through. It is in its perfect drinking window now; 92 McD. Serve it with lamb or duck for terrific impact. Better use the fond in the cooking pan to make a quick sauce. Best, make sauce and accompany with rest of wine.

Wish to impress wino friends? Michel Fonne Hospice Strasbourg Vin D’Alsace Reisling 2006 is one of a select few produced by a collaboration of many Alsace producers. In my opinion, it rivals the top Grand Cru labels  from the region, and at two-thirds the price. It has some of the spice nose of a good Gewurztraminer. Cumin, fennel and licorice on opening gradually evolve into the flinty, gunpowder, petrol model one expects. Very dry on attack, the clean, acid-fresh construct flows through and carries an extremely rich mid palate. The finish is clean and bright with plenty of fruit. Fonne and colleagues have provided an Asian foodie’s delight. A case should run you under $300. May take time for local wine guy/gal to bring in.

Last blast - Chateaux Domaine St. Estephe 2009 is 94 points and on sale at $325/case. I can’t tell cellar starters enough times: buy 2009 Bordeaux. You don’t need to go out on a limb and pay for the big-name, high-priced labels, gang. This beauty is loaded with black currant, some cedar, tobacco and great structure on the finish, typical of Saint Estephe.