Don’t be fooled by wine discounts -Small Estate Wines can deliver much better value.
Wine critics over the years have pointed out that small estates can sometimes out-perform wines that cost 3 to 4 times as much. Why is that? A good location and proper matching of the grape types to the soil and local micro-climate are critical. Then the turning factor is the passion and detailed care that can be put into tending vines on a small plot. Better fruit will give better wine every time. At Bordeaux and Beyond we understand that and our local knowledge and on the ground expert tasters select small estate wines from France that are interesting and deliver value in spades. A $25 wine outperforming a $100 wine - and you thought a 50% discount on wine that wasn't cutting it at the higher price point was good value!
Time to join in with the smart crowd.
France is the origin of Malbec and for the last decade Argentina has become the high volume producer of this grape. There is a dramatic difference between the two because Malbec is really sensitive to terroir. The thin-skinned “black grape” is susceptible to rot, frost, and pests so ideal growing conditions are extremely hard to find and subtle differences impact the grape dramatically.
Argentina’s Malbecs are plummy and fruit-forward, with a velvety texture. France’s have more structure, firmer tannins, and an inky dark, brooding quality.
For centuries, Malbec played an important role in Bordeaux blends but disease problems meant over time its benefits were overlooked in favour of easier grapes. However, Malbec took a firm hold further up the Garonne River in the medieval city of Cahors where the Mediterranean influence allowed the grapes to ripen while cooling breezes from the Atlantic keep the vines rot-free. The limestone soils of the Cahors region produce darker wines showing blackberry fruit in youth, and tobacco, coffee, and meaty notes as they age. The calcium component in limestone helps maintain acidity in the grapes late into the growing season which gives structure to the wine. In Cahors, during the Middle Ages, Malbec was called “black wine” for its deep, purple-ebony hue and their truffles were called “black diamonds”. Famously the last stone of Cahor’s 14th century Valentre Bridge was not placed so as not to complete a “pact with the devil”. In this city of dark themes the “black wine” is always in fashion.
Sunshine in Mendoza, where most of Argentina’s Malbec is grown, gives Malbec a fruitiness. On the foot of the Andes, the Malbec is rich and robust with brambly black mountain fruit and sweet floral notes. The alluvial sand and clay soils lighten the colour and reduce the fruit acids so the altitude in this very sunny region is essential to slow down ripening and ensure the grapes develop enough acidity to ward off the “soda-pop” effect.
With some food critics looking for serious wines with structure and age worthiness that don’t over-power the delicate flavours they seek, dry rosés are on the rise. It is even being paired with aged wagu beef where the chef wants to highlight its more subtle flavours. Dry rosé is defined as rosé with less than 4g/l of residual sugar so these wines have sugar levels similar to the average Barossa Shiraz but the flavours are delicate, true, persistent and not over-powering. Serious rosé is also a great way to explore the characteristics of a particular grape or terroir.
Interestingly wines from Provence, France, recently took out the top 3 places in the premium bracket of the Drinks Business Global Rosé Masters 2014 and the judges descriptions show just how serious and delicate these wines are “slightly oaken, taut and youthful”; “lovely texture, nuanced aromatics and depth of flavour,” while “maintaining its freshness and playfulness”; “glossy, salty, soft, lively yet subtle,” with flavours of “pears and citrus, pineapple and wild strawberries”
We have a few rosés of this style for you to consider for your next dinner party if highlighting delicate flavours is your aim.
35 tasters including Jancis Robinson MW, Patrick Smith and Robert Joseph did a blind tasting in June this year. The tasting comprised top-end Sauvignon Blancs from New Zealand, California, Chile, Australia, Italy, South Africa and Bordeaux. When the scores were tallied up: numbers 1, 3 and 5 were from Bordeaux; number 4 was Huia Sauvignon Blanc from Marlborough NZ and number 2 was from South Africa.
This confirms a little secret we have known for quite a while…and we went out to find the best Sauv Blancs in Bordeaux at fantastic prices.
We go to great lengths searching Bordeaux and Beyond to bring you very drinkable, interesting and edgy wines made by the viticulturist and vigneron. Most are smaller family owned estates producing outstanding wines with unique personality but still characteristic of their region and terroir. In our opinion our prices represent excellent value and more affordable for everyday drinking which could re-ignite the passion for wine that Len Evans expressed in his Theory Of Consumption – “Whatever heavenly wines are available when we cross the great divide, I’m not going to risk it. I’ve got no more than 10,000 bottles to go, and I cannot afford to waste a single one.”
This is a member’s website which entitles you to a further 5% discount which can be combined with the 10% discount for ordering 12 bottles or more. That’s because we are as interested in giving you value as we are in giving you great wine.