Grand Cru Bordeaux 2009s coming down in price, but be wary

October 29, 2012

Just in from a tasting of 134 red wines priced under $10. Here is a listing of the six the panel decided were best. No. 1 Bodegas Antano Crianza: It's 85 percent Tempranillo, plus Graciano and Mazuelo. Aromas of dried cherry, loam, bitter chocolate and old wood. The savory, herbaceous, vanillin and dried fruit flavors remind me of classic Rioja that would sell for much more than its $9 price tag. No. 2 Beso de Vino Seleccion 2010, $9.50. No. 3 McManis Merlot 2010, $9.50. No. 4 Tramontane Cotes du Roussillon: Fruity with earthy notes and excellent mineral lift, $10. No. 5 Alma del Sur Malbec 2010: Leafy and peppery, an Argentine Malbec in the traditional style of southern France, less jammy, more tightly knit and earthbound. It shows the color and tannin Malbec produces, $9. No. 6 Porcupine Ridge Cabernet Sauvignon 2010: Herbaceous forest floor, refreshing New World style, $8. All are wonderful introductory house wines that can be left untended if there are pilferers lurking about.

I wrote up the Dr. Loosen Wehlener Sonnenuhr (VAY-len-er ZON-en-ooer) Riesling Auslese 2009 last spring. At the time this 94-point lovely was released at $60, and you were asked to keep your powder dry. Those who waited will be happy to learn it is on sale on the net for $30. This German Auslese will cellar through 2035, no problem. I’m guessing you can buy a case for $350. Creamy and rich, focused but subtle, crisp apple, ripe citrus, white berry and currant flavors mid palate, with a lingering finish of spice and mineral.

Dr. Loosen produces only Riesling from traditional, slate-soil vineyards in the Mosel valley. The six grand cru single-vineyard sites also produce a full range of Prädikats.

Stephen Tanzer is one of my gurus. Here’s his review of Stolpman Vineyards Syrah Originals Estate Santa Ynez Valley 2010: "The nose offers complex aromas of blackberry, violet, crushed rock, licorice and wild mint. The first sip practically shocks the palate with its penetrating, sharply defined flavors of strawberry, crushed cranberry and pungent pepper. While this tightly coiled Syrah perfumes the mouth already, it's still a baby.

Its long, rising finish, with utterly fine tannins, suggests that it will expand and gain in complexity with several years of bottle age." Rating: 91 points. That is high praise indeed from Tanzer. I love the way he turns a phrase when he is enthralled with a wine. Best of all, Wine Access is selling it for $27/bottle when you buy a case. I would try to buy a mixed case of 2004, 93 points; 2006, 92 points; 2007, 93 points; and 2010. Make an offer of $340; expect to pay $1 shipping and everyone eats.

The 100-point Grand Cru Bordeaux 2009 are coming down in price, as expected. Don’t even think about buying any yet. Why, I just saw a 6L bottle of Chateau Haut Brion on sale for only $7,995 down from 10 grand. And a lovely 100-point Cos D’Estournel St. Estephe 750 ml for a mere $370/bottle. Folks, if you are lovers of highly rated Cos D’Estournel, please buy two bottles of the 2003 for $400 instead. It is ready to drink and came on the market at $210. Rated 98 WS, 95 RP and 94 by Tanzer.

Wise buyers with cellaring will latch onto cases of the petites chateaux or the cru bourgeois 2009 such as Chateau Le Crock ( I just love the name) rated 93 points for $350. You almost can’t go wrong with the 2009s. Unless you are a collector, avoid the big names. The prices will come down - a lot!

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