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The Inimitable Charm of Bordeaux Grand Crus

Entrenched between the huge 2003 and the great 2005 vintages, the wines of 200 , both whites and reds, express the typical Bordeaux style: elegant and classy without what vintners there called the “Californian lushness” that characterized the 2003 millesime

by Simone Zarmati Diament

Miami, January 2007 -- Although Bordeaux is predominantly a red wine region, it also produces some of the world's finest white wines — like the dry whites from Graves and the sweet wines from Sauternes. No two wines are alike, yet they all possess qualities that make them Bordeaux. How to choose a good Bordeaux among the 8000 châteaux in fifty appellations? You’ve got to taste them all...

Good news for the lovers of Bordeaux wines.
This January 23, the Union des Grands Crus de Bordeaux had a tasting of the 2004 millésime at the Ritz Carlton in Coconut Grove with over 90 of the finest winemakers in Bordeaux, from Chateaux in Graves, Pessac-Léognan, Saint-Emilion Grand Crus; Pomerol, Médoc, Margaux, Saint-Julien, Pauillac, Saint-Estèphe, Sauternes and Barsac. Entrenched between the huge 2003 and 2005 wines, the 2004s, both whites and reds, express the typical Bordeaux style: elegant and classy without what vintners there called the “Californian lushness” that characterized 2003. “The whites of 2004 are better than the 2003,” said Tristan and Loic Kressmann of Château Latour-Martillac in the Pessac-Léognan appellation. “They are discreetly floral with herbal and mineral undertones, they all have a smooth and aromatic mouth feel with great acidity, balanced fruit, fresh and crisp.”

Hubert de Bouard de Laforest of Château Angélus, a premier Grand Cru Classé from Saint-Emilion, agreed: “ While 2003 was lush with very ripe, even dried fruit, because of the tremendous heat we had that year, the 2004’s are more classical, with better acidity, better balance and notes of toasted fruit.”
For a few years now, French wines, including Bordeaux have been roughed up by the New World wines as well as by European rivals such as Spain and Italy. But finally, exports are on the rise and, at least for Bordeaux, there is a joined effort for a better promotion thanks to the Union, said Christine Lurton de Caix of Château Dauzac, a Margaux Grand Cru Classé with 40 hectares of vineyards in the Margaux appellation in the Médoc. “Can you believe it? pointed Chritine Lurton; over 90 winemakers are right here showing their wines, whereas before there were only a few who traveled for promotion. The winemakers are much more open than they used to be and most are welcoming visitors all year round. The crisis has everybody on their toes. Everybody in Bordeaux has been energized and is striving to do better and better in order to outdo the competition.”

Christine Lurton de Caix knows competition from the craddle. Her family has been in the wine business for generations and her two brothers have acquired vineyards in Mendoza, Argentina; in Chile and even in New Zealand.
The 2004 Château Dauzac Appellation Margaux Grand Cru Classé, a full bodied, dark red blend of 52% Cabernet Sauvignon and 48% Merlot aged in traditional oak barrels is a compact and dense yet elegant Bordeaux with blackcurrant and dark berries, licorice and plum notes, firm yet not aggressive tannins, good acidity and a voluptuous, long and complex finish. Will be best aged an additional 5 to 7 years.

One can hardly go wrong with a Bordeaux Classified Grand Cru, even at the ongoing rates, which, compared to those of wines in a similar category is really not high. But there is an amazing variety of unclassified Bordeaux under $15 that are worth a try if you can find them in the US; i.e. Domaine des Chapelles; Château Lamothe-Vincent cuvée Héritage; Château Pey la Tour...

To request copies of the Conseil interprofessionnel du vin de Bordeaux (CIVB) booklet “affordable Bordeaux” or "Bordeaux abordables" call: 05-56-00-22-88 or send an e-mail to:

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