Sometimes you want to experiment. Other times you want something familiar, something easy, and something more sensual than hedonistic. For me that sometimes means Boyd Cantenac.
This is not your typical modern Bordeaux. Instead, it is a divisive wine that many people see as rustic, increasingly so perhaps as the world is moving away from this style of winemaking. To me, that rusticity is textural detail and in a sea of smooth, opulent Bordeaux Boyd Cantenac remains a little tough and austere, though cloaked in rich berry fruit, and that is what I look for in my Bordeaux!
4. Te Mata Coleraine
New Zealand is about as far from Bordeaux as you can get, but there are certain similarities that promise greatness from some areas, Hawkes Bay in particular. There you can find some of the cool, damp climate of Bordeaux, but more importantly you can find the gravels, those seeming endlessly deep pools of coarse stone that are good for nothing with one exception: growing fabulous Bordeaux blends.
Te Mata is one of the first growths of New Zealand, not that they have actual first growths. Their wines are setting benchmarks for Bordeaux blends in the region. The Coleraine is a blend of Cabernet and Merlot with a dash of Cabernet Franc added for good measure. It’s a wine that brings together the best traits of both the modern and the traditional and might just represent the greatest value for this style of wine today.
It’s hard to find a Bordeaux blend that is both affordable, delicious and consistent, but Potensac seems to have nailed those points down. Potensac is never a “wow” wine, but it does deliver that elusive Bordeaux experience. A wine that drinks well early yet somehow manages to combine the firm appeal of classic Bordeaux with some of the complexity that age brings. Many might be surprised by my inclusion of Potensac, but it is a wine that has never let me down. How can you exclude a wine like that from a list like this?
2. San Leonardo
You’ve read my review of these wines right? I love them. Not only are they relatively affordable, they also are a bit of an oddity in today’s bigger, blacker, bolder world of wines. There are red-fruited Bordeaux blends, elegant and perfumed with a transparency that reveals the detail of soil and subtlety of flavor that the blend of grapes contribute here.
Yes, some people might call this wine light and weedy, but in truth it is an elegant, middle-weight wine with remarkable finesse and layered complexity that is truly hard to find.
1. Grand Puy Lacoste
Since this is a list of Bordeaux-influenced blends, it is only fitting that a Bordeaux occupies this top spot. It’s fitting not only symbolically, but historically as well since all of the wines on this list and all of the wines I’ve been tasting over the past pair of weeks owe their inspiration to cool, damp Bordeaux!
Grand Puy Lacoste is far from cheap but to me it combines all of the greatest attributes of Bordeaux. It is rich, powerful, well fruited and ages spectacularly well, developing nuance and complexity with rich, yet elegant style.
Want to Learn More?
Check out the Top 10 White Rhone Producers and why we like their blends!