Sometimes you want a nice bottle of red Bordeaux but you maybe don’t want a great bottle of red Bordeaux. I know. I get it. Sometimes the meal is casual or the occasion doesn’t warrant a great wine. Maybe it’s a Thursday dinner of a roast chicken you bought on the way home or grilled top sirloin (rather than a New York Strip). Or maybe you just don’t feel like spending more than ten-to-twenty dollars on an everyday bottle. Whatever the case, I’m right there with you. So here are three of my favorite under $20 Bordeaux reds suitable for that Thursday (or Tuesday or Wednesday … ) dinner or even for the after-church-on-Sunday-roast beef. Because – even though I do like drinking the flashy stuff – a lot of the time, I’m right there with you.
Ch. GRAND TERTRE, Castillon Côtes de Bordeaux, 2014 ($12.99)
A blend of 90% Merlot and 10% Cabernet Franc grown on clay-over-limestone terroir and fermented in temperature-controlled stainless steel tanks (full malo-lactic in tank) and aged 18 months in tank (no oak barrels). Red-purple color with well-formed legs; dry, medium-bodied with balanced acidity, medium phenolics. More rustic and traditional style but plenty of fruit is still there. Dark and darker red fruit with dusty earth. A bit of spice. Delicious and very drinkable everyday-priced, better-than-basic Bordeaux. BearScore: 90.
Ch. TOUR SALVET, Haut Medoc, 2014 ($13.99)
A mid-Haut Medoc (Cussac to be precise) blend of 51% Cabernet Sauvignon, 34% Merlot, 15% Cabernet Franc fermented in temperature-controlled, epoxy-lined concrete tanks and aged 40% in concrete tanks and 60% in French oak barrels (25% new). Red-purple in color with well formed legs; dry, medium-bodied with freshly-balanced acidity and medium phenolics. Supple, balanced and fresh with red and darker red fruit accented with gravel-dust terroir and tobacco. Classic Haut Medoc and a fantastic value. Yum.. BearScore: 90+.
Ch. HAUT VIGNEAU, Pessac Leognan Rouge, 2014 ($17.99)
A blend of 60% Cabernet Sauvigon and 40% Merlot fermented in temperature controlled stainles steel tanks with pump-overs and aged 12 months in all French oak barrels (15% new). Red-purple color with well formed legs; dry, medium-bodied with freshly balanced acidity and medium phenolics. Spicy fresh, lively, supple. Delicious. Red fruit and dusty gravel mineral with some tobacco and spice. Elegant balance and feel. A delight in the mouth. YUM. I love the balance and elegance of fine Pessac Leognan red and this wine is no exception to that expectation. Perfect at the table. BearScore: 92.