Review of Chateau Blaignan Cru Bourgeois Médoc 2010
I’ve written before about how much I love the city of Bordeaux; of course, the surrounding region is equally uplifting, with its landscape of wineries, vineyards, chateaux, and those craggy and wondrous medieval towns.
The wines themselves are far and away my favorite red wines in the world. In fact, whenever we open a good bottle, Mr. Sportcoat takes a sip, sighs, and says, “This is the wine of the world.” Bordeaux reds are, in fact, the only wines that I ever truly fawn over. (As you probably know by now, fawning over wine is something I rarely do: Wine, for me, is part of the journey to a pleasure, not the the sole destination itself.)
Trouble is, for me, it can be difficult to seize a good, moderately priced Bordeaux red. Sure, if you’re willing to spend $70 or more on a bottle of Pomerol, that’s a pretty sure bet. But the really good under-$20? Few and far between.
Yet every once in a while, I find a fine bottle in the $20 to $25 range that really does it for me. That was the case with my Chateau Blaignan Cru Bourgeois Médoc 2010.
First, a word about Cru Bourgeois: In a nutshell, wines from the Médoc area of Bordeaux are ranked by a system devised in 1855. These rankings range from Premier Crus (first growths) to Ciquiemes Crus (fifth growths). Just below that fifth rank is “Cru Bourgeois.” Of course, this ranking system makes it sound like cru Bourgeois wines come in sixth place on the quality scale. But the system was devised in 1855, and many wine-pros question its validity (for example, one might wonder whether the premiers crus simply resting on their laurels, demanding high prices for decent if not exceptional wines, since that “first growth label” can’t be taken away….)
Suffice it to say that in my experience, Cru Bourgeois brings a taste of what you love about Bordeaux wine for a good, everyday price.
And that’s exactly what I found with Chateau Blaignan. I first adored it at my local Fleming’s restaurant, where it cost about $65 for the bottle. Then, I spotted it at a local wine shop, where it was on sale-for $22.99; the wine merchant told me he thought it was worth twice that. So, I bought a couple bottles. Then I went back and bought six more. And I continue to buy a few bottles every few weeks. These days, it’s the weekend red at my house.
Tasting notes: For me, what I notice first is its spicy-earthy qualities; yes, there’s rich fruit (cassis comes to mind), but mostly, I’m loving that it’s richly flavored, but none too heavy, with that brightness on the finish that I always look for when pouring wine with dinner. While I found it for $22.99 a bottle, the suggested retail price is more like $26. PS: You may want to decant this one. I found some sediment at the very bottom–which is perfectly natural, by the way.
Got any great Bordeaux to recommend? I’d love to hear about them.