Affordable Bordeaux wines tasted by the SI/AdV Panel

For wine lovers seeking well priced Bordeaux wines, offering style, character and quality, Cru Bourgeois is the answer. Starting with the 2018 vintage, which will be released in 2020, a new classification is being introduced which will remain in place for five years instead of a fresh assessment every year. This is a return to the traditional hierarchical system comprising three tiers of quality; Cru Bourgeois, Cru Bourgeois Supérieur and Cru Bourgeois Exceptionnel. At their best, the top Cru Bourgeois wines can be better than some of the more famous and more expensive classed growths. Most can be enjoyed young and reach their peak between five to 10 years after the vintage. However, there are also several estates making quality Bordeaux wine which can age, and develop the complexities that wine connoisseurs love in old wines. So if you know which wines to look for, they represent excellent value for money. The SI/AdV Panel tasted a few varied examples available in India.
Here are our recommendations —

2014 Etoiles de Mondorion, Saint- Émilion Grand Cru, Bordeaux ★★★ 
Bright ruby appearance, youthful, with some signs of ageing. Red fruits dominant, fragrant nose with a faint layer of oak, some dried herbs, pinch of warm spices, with crushed florals. Bright palate, vibrant acidity, rounded soft oak, well-matured velvety tannins and balanced alcohol. Palate shows notes of warm spices, juicy red fruits like plums, cranberries, and red currants, with sweet cherries being prominent. Sweet tobacco, earthiness, and a savoury back. The wine is till developing and shows promise to age further. Cohesive and well-integrated. A well-structured mid-segment wine, drinking commendably. Importer Agnetta International New Delhi. (MRP Rs 3,280)


2014 Château Goumin,  Bordeaux ★★★–
Ruby rim with a dense core. The nose doesn’t show much vibrancy and is somewhat muted, with faint notes of dark fruit, cherry, raspberry and aged meat. The palate is bold and a tad showy promising a big wine but lacking follow through in the mid and back sections. Savouriness and dusty oak tones dominate. The tannins are still maturing and therefore convey a gripping mouthfeel. A pleasant wine, soft and sensual although the wine seems to have aged too quickly, indicating possible storage concerns. Will pair with meaty nibbles, chicken and other white meats. Limited potential to age. Importer Gusto Imports Pvt Ltd, Kolkata (MRP in Delhi Rs 2,500; Kolkata Rs 2,300)


2016 Château Lamothe, Grand Vin de Bordeaux ★★★+
Deep ruby colour, opaque core, slightly purple on the rims. Pronounced nose with dark fruit notes, black currents and black berries at the start, quickly followed by plush red fruits, cherries, plums, cranberries and more. Ample but mild oak, although a tad rustic in quality with some signs of tertiary character. The palate is amicable and in sync, with balance in place. Acidity, tannins, alcohol and fruit, none of them are trying to over impress but remain in harmony in their own intensities. Shrub-like mouthfeel, touch of earthiness at the back. Overall a good drinking Bordeaux, unlikely to age, but perfect to enjoy right now. Enjoy with cold cuts. Importer HRK Overseas, Panipat, Haryana. (MRP Rs 3,760)

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2011 Château Lamouroux, Graves, Bordeaux  ★★★★+
An older vintage brings in expectations of more complex flavours than fruit-forward ones. The wine took time to open with initial jarring and boozy notes, but soon blossomed into a delightful tipple. Mid-ruby core with fading brick red rim, showing definite signs of ageing. Initial hit of intense dark fruits, supple oak, spice, earth, forest floor, aged meat, and olive dust, which is taken over with a mildly oxidative, savoury character with aged fruits, and a hint of green character at the finish. Time has rounded the wine and its elements well and harmonised them into a cohesive wine. Good grip from the tannins, mostly round mouthfeel, with some texture. Acidity is fruity and the alcohol, though a little warm, binds the elements together. A discerning wine, nearing the end of its peak, should be relished now. Decanting is suggested.
Importer Agnetta International New Delhi. (MRP Rs 2,320)

-2014 Château Lamothe Vincent, Bordeaux.  ★★★
Dark ruby, with an opaque core. Dense nose with a layer of ripe dark fruits, currants and dried plums, resting on sturdy oak, smoke, spices, and sweet tobacco. Intense palate with a welcoming bright acidity, elegant oak, masculine but not rough,tannins, and supporting alcohol. The quality of oak is very well integrated and has softened the wine with a good, well-integrated palate. The wine has body and grip, poses with a bigger personality, although it doesn’t hold much promise to age, to be enjoyed with food now. Importer HRK Overseas, Panipat, Haryana. (MRP Rs 4,890)

-2011 Château Phélan Ségur, St Estèphe, Bordeaux  ★★★★++ 
An older vintage brings in expectations of more aged flavours than fruit-forward ones. Shimmering dark core, fading rims indicating the play of time on it. Complex layered nose with secondary and tertiary notes opening with herbaceous aromas, savouriness, mix of warm and sweet spices, candied oak, cocoa, mushroom, and forest floor. Then it reveals its “Graves” typicity and lets the fruit show a little. Round harmonious palate, mostly with aged characters, dominant tertiary notes, touch of mint, sweet tobacco, aged meats, chocolate, velvety tannins, and liquorice which is a keynote for St Estephe wines. This wine has been kept very well, and has thus matured into a delicious specimen. It can age further, but won’t improve significantly. Enjoy with a good chicken roast or a steak. Importer Wine Park, Mumbai.  (MRP Rs 10,392)

Tasting Notes by Gagan Sharma

Five stars – An excellent wine, both in itself and in its category
Four stars – A very good wine with charcater and complexity
Three stars – A good wine with fruit and style
Two stars – A pleasant wine without special character
One star – A dull wine without interest


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