Wine Talk

Snooth User: JonDerry

Best Bordeaux Blends under $40

Posted by JonDerry, Jul 4, 2011.

After visiting Ridge in the Santa Cruz Mountains earlier this year, I came away impressed by a few wines not named Monte Bello. One was their Estate Cabernet Sauvignon, nicknamed the "little monte bello".  I had my second bottle of this yesterday, and was very impressed yet again.  It got me thinking, what other distinguished Bordeaux Blends are still out there available for under $40.  Please chime in if you've got one. 

2008 Ridge Estate Cabernet Sauvignon.

Sweet plums and licorice on the nose. The palate is rich and creamy, but still light on its feet showing plums, licorice, fig, sweet tobacco, and a hint of leather. Medium acid, which is felt more than tasted, with bold and slightly sweet dark fruit up front. Very well balanced and integrated oak, with fine grained tannins leading to a seemless transition from the palate entry all the way to the (medium plus) finish. Very judicious blend of 75% cabernet sauvignon, 20% merlot, 3% petit verdot, 2% cabernet franc. Love what the Merlot adds to the texture and taste of this. No real reason to wait IMO, but should hold well for another 5-10 years. 92-93 points.


Reply by EMark, Jul 4, 2011.

Over the years, I have enjoyed St. Clement's Oroppas.  The winery price comes a tad over your $40 threshold, but I have generally been able to get it in my favorite stores for less than that--not much less, mind you.  Interestingly enough I was in a store, yesterday, and held a bottle of the current Oroppas offering in my hand and it was labeled "cabernet sauvignon."  Previous versions of it were described as "Red Table Wine."  So, maybe they've moved away from the meritage blending for that brand.

Trivia quiz:  How did the St. Clement marketing geniuses come up with the Oroppas name?

Another good meritage blend that definitely hits your price range is Girard's Artistry.


Reply by duncan 906, Jul 4, 2011.

I am not an American and I live in London and I reckon 40 dollars is a generous budget.I would go for a genuine French Bordeaux and I would either look on or else go to a Calais supermarket on my next trip to France.For that money I could easily get a St Emillion Grand Cru or a good Bourgeois Cru Medoc  

Reply by Richard Foxall, Jul 5, 2011.

EMark: Guessing they were bought by Sapporo... and that turned out to be correct, if my research (2 seconds on Google) isn't too far astray.

JonDerry (if JD isn't claimed here, I think you've got it), Mt. Eden makes wines also in the Santa Cruz mountains, blended, including the Saratoga Cuvee.  Reasonable and good, although they came in second to a reasonably priced Bordo in blind tasting last year.  Sadly, I can't remember right now what that was, but it was under $40... maybe Clos L'Eglise. Now that I think of it, that's what it was, the Cote de Castillon bottling. $40 at, but I paid quite a bit less.

Reply by JonDerry, Jul 5, 2011.

Thanks for the suggestion EMark.

Fox, I almost mentioned Mt. Eden, but left that open.  They do make good, and reasonably priced cabernet.  I've only had the 06', but it was solidly around 90-91 points from what I remember. 

It seems like there's a big cluster of American Bordeaux Blends at the $60 retail level, but not much under that.  There are so many wineries in Bordeaux that there are bound to be more qualifiers.

Reply by EMark, Jul 5, 2011.

Yup.  My first sampling of Oroppas was at the winery (on my own while my wife was attending some jamboree at the CIA), and the very nice tasting room gent filled me in on the derivation of the name.  At the time, St. Clement was owned by the Japanese Sapporo Brewery.  Oroppas is Sapporo spelled backwards.  I'm pretty sure that Sapporo sold them off shortly after that.  I noticed at the St. Clement web site that they now describe Oroppas as their "premium cabernet sauvignon."  So, between that and the escalating price I think Oroppas should be withdrawn as a candidate from JonDerry's quest. 

Reply by VegasOenophile, Jul 6, 2011.

Lasseter makes a nice Bordeaux blend that I believe can be got for around that price range.  Also, I think at times, the Coppola Claret is a great value for the price.  Many CA meritage blends will run over $40, but St. Francis in Sonoma makes a very good blend and I know there are many others.  Names are just escaping me right now.  I'd have to look back through my reviews to find them and that's a project I just don't have the motivation for right now lol.

Reply by 1 jayjay, Jul 6, 2011.


the last time i went to france i came across CELLIER YVECOURT 2009 at less than 6 EURO'S a bottle its very good value for your money as i live in England cant say what that is in $

the only snag is i can not find a supplier this side of the pond !!!

Reply by lingprof, Jul 12, 2011.

I'm a huge fan of BV Tapestry.  It started out around $30 or $35, then it popped up to $40.  The newest vintage I've seen listed at $45, but I got a deal at napacabs by buying a 6-pack so it was 35.

It might not be everyone's cup of tea but I loved the complexity and slight spiciness, and I wouldn't describe it as particularly oaky (which puts a lot of people off in big CA reds).

Reply by JonDerry, Jul 13, 2011.

Good call LP, BV has been a consistent label over the years, with that classic and gritty Rutherford soil.  I haven't really followed it recently and there was talk of a dropoff somewhere in the last ten years or so, but supposedly since the 2007 vintage the new winemaker is bringing back some of its older glory.  Would like to check in on the Tapestry, though not really sure i'll get around to it @ $40.00

Reply by JonDerry, Jul 24, 2011.

Have to say i'm bullish on 2008 BV.  Just had the Rutherford Cabernet, and it has a lot of good stuff going on.  Good tasty fruit, acidity, and mouthfeel.  Some pretty harsh tannins and all the oak you'd expect, but not overbearing for me. 

Will definitely plan on sampling the Tapestry, Georges de Latour, and will keep a few of these bottles around to drink, and a few to age.

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