September 26, 2008

La Vieille Cure 2005

Bordeaux / Fronsac
$30 to $45 / 93 points Parker

It is not often that I will review a French Bordeaux. I usually stick to what I know, which are Californian, Australian and Spanish wines. There was so much press about the esteemed 2005 vintage in Bordeaux, I had to explore some of the smaller (Read as more affordable) Chateaus to see what all the fuss was about.

Robert Parker, wine critic and guru, wrote a great article on some of the smaller producers in Bordeaux. He called them the "Petite Chateau's", and discussed what wonderful values some of these wines represented. The point of his article is that the 2005 vintage was so strong, that the quality of all Bordeaux, even the smaller producers, was outstanding.

I culled through his report, and chose 4-5 of the higher rated wines, with a price tag under $30. La Vieille Cure was the top ranked wine on the list that still fit my budget. Parker Loved this one. Initially tasted in the barrel before release, he gave it 89 points out of 100. When re-tasted, he was thrilled with the way that this had matured. He re scored this a 93 out of 100.

This "upgrade" in score presents an interesting opportunity. Many wines are priced by the producers based upon these preliminary scores. Logically, the higher the score, the more the producer can expect to sell their wine in the marketplace. When a wine is scored below 90 points, there is a lot LESS interest in the wine from the general public. The wine is priced very reasonably to the importers and wholesalers, and the wine can then be sold at a much better price to the public.

When a wine is re-tasted and the scores rise, more often then not the prices have already been set. These wines can sometimes fall through the cracks and represent a fabulous bargain to the wine loving public. This particular wine is a great example of this scenario. It is a fabulous wine, reasonably priced, that continues to fly under the radar of serious collectors.

This wine poured out a beautiful deep inky red and coated the glass. It had aromas of sweet black fruit, black cherry, currants, and a bit of a sweet floral. It has wonderful mouth feel. Dense, Rich, concentrated, this wine tastes like a much more expensive bottle. The black fruit is superbly balanced and follows through to a long finish. It is a textbook example of what a fine Bordeaux should taste like.

This is so incredibly delicious now, that you may not have the patience to let this wine age. I still think it is evolving in the bottle and will probably continue to for another year or so. It has the structure and balance to age gracefully for 10 to 15 years. This wine presents a rare opportunity for those of us that cannot stomach paying $125 and more for a good Bordeaux. You can find this on-line, and it is worthwhile buying what you can find.

Don't wait.

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