The truth is there was a time when all of these were valid claims -- to varying degrees, of course. However over the last few decades there has been a shift in Bordeaux.
Château Du Champs Des Treilles 2015 “Vin Passion” Sainte-Foy-Bordeaux ($15)
This producer has twenty-four acres under vine, sixteen for red and eight for white. They farm using biodynamic methods and harvest manually. This wine is a blend of Sauvignon Blanc (34%), Sèmillon (33%), and Muscadelle (33%). White flowers, orange zest and white pepper dominate the nose. The palate is remarkably fresh and loaded with appealing fruits such as yellow melon and hints of green apple. Wet limestone leads the long, crisp, pleasing finish.
Close Des Lunes 2014 Blanche Bordeaux ($20)
This blend of Sèmillon (70%) and Sauvignon Blanc (30%) comes from the Sauternes region, an area most famous for outstanding dessert wines. Aging occurred over seven months on the lees. Stone fruit and lemon ice aromas lead the way here. The palate shows of restrained gooseberry, peach and wisps of savory herbs are evident on the even-keeled palate. Continued citrus notes are evident on the persistent finish.
Château De Cérons 2013 Blanc Sec Graves ($28)
Twenty-seven of their sixty-four acres are dedicated to white grapes, some of which go to sweet wines. This one blends Sauvignon Blanc (50%), with Sèmillon (40%), and Sauvignon Gris (10%). They harvest by hand and age in stainless steel on the lees. White peach and hints of papaya are evident on the nose. The concentrated palate is loaded with stone fruits, citrus and tiny bits of Anjou pear. Kiwi, white pepper and lemon ice are all in evidence on the finish. Lively acid keeps things mouth-watering.
Chateau Tire Pé 2012 “Diem” Bordeaux ($12)
This is one hundred percent Merlot from vines with ten to fifteen years of age on them. This family owned and operated organic producer makes their everyday wines with minimal use of oak. This offering was aged in concrete tanks for nine months. Red cherry aromas are underscored by a gentle hint of tar on the nose. The palate is stuffed with a burst of fresh red fruit flavors from the aforementioned cherry to bits of raspberry. Dried strawberry, black pepper and earth are all evident on the finish. At around $12 this is absolute steal. If you need a new house red, look no further.
Chàteau Mauvesin Barton 2012 Moulis-En-Mèdoc ($21)
This blend of Merlot (48%), Cabernet Sauvignon (35%), Cabernet Franc (14%), and Petit Verdot (3%) came from thirty-five year old vines. The fruit is harvested by block and optically sorted. Each lot was separately aged over twelve months in new and previously used oak. The dollop of Petit Verdot blended in here provides a velvety edge that is evident from the first sip onward. Black cherry and bits of blackberry are evident on the nose. Cassis and bits of black raspberry dot the palate. Chicory, black pepper and a hint of chocolate are all evident on the solid finish.
Clos Puy Arnaud 2013 La Cuvèe Bistrot De Puy Arnaud Castillon Còtes De Bordeaux ($25)
All twenty-seven acres of their vineyards are dedicated to red grapes. They are certified biodynamic. This is a classic Right Bank blend of Merlot (70%), and Cabernet Franc (30%). Aging took place over 3 months in cement vats; it is one hundred percent unoaked. Leather and cherry aromas leap from the nose. The palate shows off plums, cloves, and black cherry. Currant, minerals and additional red and black fruit flavors continue through the above average finish.
Château De Reignac 2010 Bordeaux Supèrieur ($31)
Three quarters of their two-hundred acres are dedicated to red grapes. The vines have an average age of forty-two years old. Merlot (75%), and Cabernet Sauvignon (25%) make up the blend here. Aging took place in French oak barrels, stainless steel and wooden vats. Hints of toasty oak underpin oodles of red fruit aromas. The palate here is filled with fresh red cherry flavors, black pepper and bits of thyme. Hints of roasted coffee, earth and continued spice notes are evident on the long finish. Racy acid and firm tannins provide excellent structure.
Clos Du Jaugueyron 2012 Haut-Mèdoc ($36)
This small producer has only 7.4 acres under vine. They are certified organic and biodynamic. This is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon (53%), Merlot (40%), and Petit Verdot (7%). Barrel aging took place over twelve months in new (25%) and used (75%) oak. Ripe wild strawberry, cassis and vanilla aromas burst from the nose. The palate is loaded with rich berry fruit flavors that are underpinned with hints of espresso. Chicory, black pepper and a bit of sage are all evident on the long, layered finish
Chàteau Du Seuil 2014 Cèrons ($34)
This certified organic producer has thirty-seven acres in Graves and twenty-four in Còtes de Bordeaux. It’s composed entirely of Sèmillon. Hand harvesting occurred over several weeks to assure proper levels of Botrytis. Fermentations and aging took place over twelve months in new and previously used oak. White peach and apricot aromas are joined by bits of vanilla bean. The palate here is stuffed with oodles of fresh, pure fruit flavors. The honeyed finish shows off mango, and dried apricot. Firm, racy acid keeps this balanced and refreshing.