Planete Bordeaux is the consortium of Bordeaux Superieur producers. This tasting is held at the Millesima warehouse in the southern part of Bordeaux. It is a perfect picture of the dichotomy that exists in Bordeaux between the Grand Cru Classe wines and everyone else. To come from the UGC tastings and attend this tasting is like going through culture shock. The UGC tastings are held in idyllic settings in beautiful chateaux in the Medoc with unlimited food and wine. This tasting is held in a warehouse on the Quay de Paludate – and while the warehouse is beautiful inside- this is NOT an area of town you want to walk around in on your own (day or night). It is industrial. It is a club district that acts as a partial red-light district during the day. The sidewalks and roads are in poor repair and it looks the part of the quintessential underprivileged urban area.
For Bordeaux Superieur producers there could not be a more fitting setting for their tasting. These wines come from the less desirable areas of Bordeaux and they do not have any classifications to rely on for sales. They retail for between 1.90 euros and 5 euros a bottle. Some lucky owners can get 7-10 euros a bottle for their special cuvees. In the current market system, these wines are very hard to sell.
Once, inside the warehouse, however, things are very different. The tasting resembles the GCC tasting in almost every respect. I decided to spend a lot more time than normal here this year – because of my belief that given the conditions of the vintage that the real bargains would be found at this level. I was not disappointed. There were a number of excellent wines – many of which my customers will be familiar with.
Wine of the Tasting: Ch. Tayet – Cuvee Prestige was deep and dark with a nose of luscious fruit that was exploding out of the glass.There was a surprising amount of acidity given the concentration and a good amount of tannin. This will be another Ch. Tayet that will be able to age for 10 years or more.
Showed well: Ch. de Parenchere was excellent. This wine is not oaked and is made to preserve the fruit flavours and aromas. This was an excellent strategy this year with the high tannin levels naturally in the fruit. This wine was deep blood red with yummy fruit. It is not for ageing like Tayet but will be delicious drinking for 5 years or more. Ch. Beau Rivage was also surprisingly good – this is a real value wine and so if you see some of this from the 2010 vintage pick it up. Ch. Lestrille-Cap Martin was also very good.
Overall, these wines had far more concentration and structure than they normally do. Some of them were actually approaching Cru Bourgeois quality levels. Given that they cost 1/3 to 1/2 of a Cru Bourgeois price – these are real bargains. Combined with the Bordeaux Sups from the Rive Droite tasting, I think there are at least a dozen excellent wines at this level that will offer real value in this vintage.