13 Oct Bordeaux Favorites for Cellaring and Aging
Aging wine is one of the most interesting aspects of wine collecting and enjoyment. There is an excitement of tasting a wine over months and years, as it develops in the bottle from something delicious to something exceptional and interesting. It’s always a joy to rediscover a wine in your cellar that has been undisturbed for years, only to discover it has matured into something memorable. Even more of a treat, is when a more ordinary, reasonably priced wine tends to get better and better as time goes on, a virtue generally reserved for the most expensive wines. But why should it be a surprise, or even a mystery? One of the benefits of tasting successive vintages of a given wine is the ability to taste the past to predict the future (it’s not an exact science, but past performance does indicate future results).
One genre of wine that can provide a great deal of pleasure and upside from proper cellaring is Bordeaux. The structured and traditional elements of this “Old World” winemaking region is perfectly suited for cellaring, with wines that are high in acid, balanced tannins, and moderate alcohol levels. While there are some blockbuster Kosher Bordeaux that will provide literally decades of enjoyment, I wanted to highlight a few moderately priced Bordeaux favorites that have the bones (and track record) to provide years of cellaring potential, without stretching the bank account too far. While there’s no perfect value formula, it’s my opinion that the wines below provide more than their fair share of cellar worthiness at their respective price points.
This is a modest property in Lalande-de-Pomerol in the outskirts of the Merlot dominated, Right Bank Bordeaux region. This winery is virtually unheard of in non kosher wine circles, but has been releasing reliably delicious kosher blends since the previous decade. With a generous amount of Cabernet Franc blended in, I tend to enjoy the cooler “off vintages” of this wine, which can easily age for 10 years past harvest. A recent sampling of the 2014 vintage was just right. Price point is between $40 and $50.
Chateau Marquisat de Binet
This is a small family owned winery in another Right Bank satellite region called “Montagne St. Emilion.” The hillside vineyards produces only Merlot, from which a uniquely un-oaked kosher “Cuvee Abel” has been made many times since the inaugural release in 2012. The wine is gentle upon release, with a unique texture and inviting savory flavor, and only gains more character and depth of flavor with time. Look for inviting salinity/soy with a dusting of forest floor and cocoa, truly representative of well aged wine. Current vintage is 2015, drink the 2014 now. Price point is under $40.
Chateau Haut Condissas
Part of the Jean Guyon family of wineries, this estate is from the Cabernet dominated, Left Bank region of Bordeaux, in the deceptively generic region of Haut-Medoc. While considered less prestigious than the major appellations of Margaux, Pauillac, and others, there are wonderful values to be found, and of course, excellent wines. There have been kosher runs from this property on and off since 2001, and they will generally have up to 15 years of drinking from the vintage year. The 2001/2002 are mostly past peak, the 2005 is still a legendary bottle if perfectly maintained, and more contemporary vintages provide optimism for the future. Price point is under $80.
Echo Roses Camille
This old vines Pomerol blend comes from a 60 year old vineyard next to the Domaine Roses Camille winery. It’s aged in new and previously used French oak barrels, and the barrels are “married” in stainless steel tanks for an extended period of time before bottling. This is a highly structured Bordeaux blend that is enjoyable on release with several hours open. The inaugural kosher release of this wine was the 2011 vintage, which is just now coming into its drinking window. The more approachable 2012 is drinking well now, and the current 2014 vintage will do well in the cellar for a few more years before consumption. Strong vintages of this wine can age at least 15 years past harvest. Price point is under $80