Matt Walker

Location: Northridge, CA

I am a Certified Specialist of Wine and uncertified Wine Geek! As a Snoother, I hope to raise awareness for smaller, lesser-known but quality driver producers. Major regions I specialize in include Washington, California, Tuscany, Bordeaux, and the Douro

Wines Less Traveled: Bordeaux Blends

My next "less traveled" list.  I feel obliged to admit Bordeaux Blends (or Meritage or Claret or whatever you want to call them) are my personal favorite type of wine.  Once again this list will contain wines many have never heard of  and unfortunately may not be readily available.  However, as always I promise each wine will go above and beyond its price point and be a great expression of its region.  I feel like a wine hipster...oh dear...

Rank Wine Rating Price
1 Sheridan l'Orage Yakima Valley (2007)
Comments: There are very few wines I come back to year after year but this is one of them. A blend of Cab Sauv and Cab Franc that is powerful yet harmonius. A woody and floral nose mingles well with the intense ripe blackberry jam. On the palate is dried lavender, herbs, more jammy blackberries, and a hint of tobacco. The Cab Franc rounds out the midpalate very well and adds complexity. Sheridan's wines drink well young but also age wonderfully.
Previously available for $49.99
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2 Chateau Arthemis Cotes de Castillon Bordeaux Red (2003)
Comments: This region of Bordeaux may not be the first that comes to mind but this wine could change that! Drinkable now, the nose shows cedar wood, espresso, currants and blackberries. Rich fruit hits you first and then opens up with cocoa, oak, spice box and tobacco. The tannins are perfectly ripe and well integrated provide great structure. Full bodied with a very long finish. Went perfectly with a braised leg of lamb.
Previously available for $49.99
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3 Bevan Cellars Ontogeny Oakville (2008)
Comments: Another knockout Bevan Cellars wine. There's Kirsch, dried herbs, oaky vanilla, cocoa plus a bit of smoke develops as the wine aerates. This is Bevan's drink now wine and as such has just enough tannin to maintain structure but not enough to overwhelm the freshness of the wine. The texture is like chocolate wrapped in velvet and the finish goes on for ages.
Previously available for $80.00
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4 Adams Bench Reckoning (2007)
Comments: This wine is dense with some big chewy tannins and full body. Lots of black plums on the nose with hints of dried herbs and graphite. The palette delivers with ripe black fruits, dark chocolate, espresso, and vanilla. This wine is, beyond anything else, a steal. A $50+ wine in a $30 bottle. Once again it seems Washington over delivers on quality.
Previously available for $34.00
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5 Kenefick Ranch Pickett Road Red Estate Grown Napa Valley (2006)
Comments: The blend of this wine caught my eye and along with the fact that Kenefick Ranch sells fruit to some of the top producers in Napa, was the deciding factor for purchase. I'm quite glad I did. The Petit Verdot provides prodigious structure and dark, brooding fruit. Lots of very ripe plum, blueberries and currants wrapped around cedarwood, cinnamon and (thanks to the top class Merlot) wonderful hints of cocoa.
Previously available for $40.00
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6 Shotfire Thorn Clark Quartage Barossa (2008)
Comments: Big, round and fleshy, this is a great wine for under $20. Plums, Indian spices and herbs on the nose. The palette is lush with jammy black fruits, cinnamon and a hint of eucalyptus. Everything is leveled out with nice acidity.
Previously available for $20.00
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7 Coup de Foudre Merlot Blend Stags Leap District Cuvée 37.2 (2009)
Comments: California's answer to Pomerol, this wine is soft, rich, and velvety. Blueberry and creme de cassis jump out with spice box, tobacco, charred oak and dark chocolate. This wine is quite soft and accessible (after an hours or so in the decanter) so I'm not sure that it'll really improve for more than 5 years or so but that's not a bad thing necessarily!
Previously available for $75.00
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8 Stevens Winery 424 Yakima Valley (2007)
Comments: Big and opulent with big black fruit, fine tannins and a nice long finish. Another steal from WA!
Average price: $39.99 from 2 stores
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9 Château Lilian Ladouys Red Bordeaux Blend St. Estèphe (2009)
Comments: A true Bordeaux value. This has all the classic Estephe character: big, up front and in your face. Big, mouth coating, ripe tannin presence supports brambly fruit and plum with touches of rosemary and cedar in the nose. This would be a great wine for CA cab drinkers looking to venture into Bordeaux.
Average price: $29.99 from 3 stores
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10 Palazzo Napa Valley (2004)
Comments: Another exciting "Right Bank" style wine from Napa. I have to admit I am becoming more and more enamored with this style. The wine is smooth like velvet, there are spice notes all around with red and black fruits lead by cassis. Some smoke and wood notes along the finish. Another wine to show how Merlot can lead and be the star in a blend.
Previously available for $40.00
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  • 155607lingprof I like your list! since there are a number of WA wines on here, you might want to try Chateau Walla Walla Masterpiece red. Just had it and loved it. I'm a B Blend lover like you.... ;-)

  • 425274duncan 906 Only two Bordeaux blends from Bordeaux?

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