Affordable Bordeaux in Pennsylvania!!!

Affordable Bordeaux actually exists!   This would seem a surprise during the current era when huge media attention is given to the steep annual price increases – driven, to a great extent, by Asian wealth discovering a taste for the most significant Bordeaux wines.   However, while it is true France’s most famous wine region produces some of the world’s most famous wines; Bordeaux also produces huge quantities of quite drinkable table wines and good quality mid-priced wines.   As a bonus to the consumer, Bordeaux has enjoyed several stunning vintages in the past few years, and the historic 2009 vintage resulted in high quality wines across all price points.

These three wines – all three available in the Pennsylvania State Stores – are great examples of solid quality, affordable Bordeaux wines that are worth a look and a taste.   If ranked against each other, they would sum up in price order from least to most expensive – but all three price points are well represented.

Chateau Camelot La Chapelle AOC Bordeaux 2009 ($7.99 PLCB code: 36348) – Proof that a $7.99 wine need not taste like its price.  Made from a traditional Bordeaux style blend of 50% Merlot and equal parts Cabernet and Cab Franc.   While this wine is not rich, or madly complex, it easily delivers light to medium bodied pleasant fruit against a back drop of earthiness that makes Bordeaux wines so popular.

Chateau Semonlon Haut Medoc Rouge 2009 ($13.99 PLCB code: 18655) – Chateau Semonlon is produced near the uber-famous Bordeaux sub-region of Margaux, which is known for producing delicate and stylish wines.  In this case the wine is a Merlot and Cabernet blend (60%-40%) that sees no oak ageing, resulting in a light to medium bodied effort with some depth in the fruit but even and balanced throughout – a nice wine for the price.

Chateau Haut Surget Lalande de Pomerol 2009 ($21.99 PLCB code: 36349) – A “right-bank” Bordeaux blend is apparent in this wine (70% Merlot, 15% Cabernet 15% Cabernet Franc) as the Merlot-driven blueberry notes are integrated through the medium bodied, well-balanced wine.   Some oak ageing took place and the balance is successful between fruit, oak, tannins etc.   This is a wine that could stand up against more expensive and better known wines, so we are fortunate to have access!

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Wine and Cheese at the Pittsburgh Public Theater Monday, January 30, 2012 6-8pm

We are excited to have a fascinating ‘world tour’ wine and cheese tasting with four wines and four cheeses.   The Pittsburgh Public Theatrer is dark on Monday, January 30, so we will have the whole place to ourselves.   The wine tasting will take place in the lobby space, then Artistic Director Ted Pappas will invite us into the theater space for a discussion about The Public’s “3-Play Passport,” featuring three plays set in fabulous international locales (just like the wines!).    All guests attending that evening will also receive an exclusive offer on this new package.   HOPE TO SEE YOU THERE!   Admission is only $20.  Call the box office 412.316.1600 to purchase.

Here are the selections for the event:

Argentina – Zuccardi Torrontes with Reggianito cheese – This Torrontes is fresh and lovely with some spice and melon notes and soft mouth feel.

FranceWhite Burgundy Domaine Thomas St Veran (100% Chardonnay) with Ossau-Iraty cheese.   This White Burgundy is made from 40-50 year old vines, and provides intense pear, citrus and apple flavors with great focus – it should not be served too cold as low temperatures will mask the flavors.

SpainPaternina Rioja Crianza Banda Azul with Zamorano cheese.   Banda Azul is a traditional Rioja Spanish Red made from mainly Tempranillo grapes with Garnacha and Mazuelo completing the blend.   After twelve months aging in oak barrels, this wine has a medium weight with round mouth filling fruit.

Australiad’Arenberg Footbolt Shiraz McLaren Vale 2009 with Roaring 40’s Blue cheese.   The Footbolt Shiraz is consistently favored by the world’s top wine critics for its balance of intense ripe fruit and spicy minerality at the finish.

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