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Friday, May 25, 2012

Budget Bordeaux - Six French Bordeaux Wines For $10 or Less

Budget Bordeaux. Six great Bordeaux red blends for around $10 or less.
Six tasty Bordeaux wines for around $10 or less. (Not a typo.)

Ahh, Bordeaux. A region that conjures up images of expensive French Chateaus and even more expensive wine. What you may not know is that of the over 10,000 Bordeaux labels produced each year, around 80% of them are under $25. It's actually a great place for reverse wine snobs to find good inexpensive wine and that's just what we bring you today.

The six varietals allowed in Bordeaux red blends are Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Carmenere, Petit Verdot and Malbec with the first three being the most popular by a good bit. The Bordeaux area is made up of about 50 different regions and each has their own laws which govern grape varieties, alcohol levels, even the methods of pruning and harvesting and the winemaking itself. (France takes their wine seriously.) With that bit of background, let's check out today's wines, all for around $10 or less.

First up is the 2009 Vinum Natura de Chateau Vallon des Brumes Bordeaux Rouge. This blend of 80% Merlot, 10% Cabernet Sauvignon and 10% Cabernet Franc has an SRP of $9 and is available at that price. This wine features organically grown grapes and begins with aromas of raspberry, black cherry, cola, spice and black pepper, plus tea and tobacco. Those tea flavors are quite strong when tasting the wine as well as some dark fruit and licorice and dusty tannins. The finish is dry and of medium length with lingering tobacco notes.

Other details: 13.5% Alcohol. 80k bottles produced. See a listing of local retailers selling this wine here.

Taste Rating: 7              Cost Rating: 8
Overall Rating: 7.3


Next is the 2010 Chateau Lamothe Vincent Bordeaux Rouge 2010. This 80% Merlot, 20% Cabernet Sauvignon blend has an SRP of $13 and is available for as low as $10. It opens with soft plum aromas and a hint of tobacco. The wine tastes fruit forward with black cherry, plum and a nice spice component. It also features some good soft and slightly dusty tannins. The finish is dry and medium-long with a hint of tobacco.

Other details: 14.5% Alcohol. 250k bottles produced. See a listing of local retailers selling this wine here.

Taste Rating: 7              Cost Rating: 8
Overall Rating: 7.3


The 2008 Chateau Buisson Redon Bordeaux Rouge is a blend of 60% Merlot and 40% Cabernet Franc. It has an SRP of only $8 and is available at that price. The wine smells of strawberry, plum, spice and a little leather. Tasting the wine shows prominent but not harsh tannins. This one is pretty upfront with lots of flavor and features a good body. A really good all around wine that is easy to drink, especially at this price. The nice finish is dry and shows a little bit of heat. One of my favorites of the bunch and also the cheapest.

Other details: 14.0% Alcohol. 60k bottles. See a listing of local retailers selling this wine here.

Taste Rating: 7              Cost Rating: 9
Overall Rating: 7.5


The 2009 Chateau Marjoureau Bordeaux Superieur Rouge is a blend of 70% Merlot and 30% Cabernet Franc. It has an SRP of $10 and is available at that price. It begins with aromas of black cherry, cola and cinnamon spice. The wine tastes substantial with rich tannins. It features similar flavors to bouquet plus a good bit of smoky oak. This is not a fruit forward wine. The finish is medium-short and dry.

Other details: 13.5% Alcohol. 20k bottles. See a listing of local retailers selling this wine here.

Taste Rating: 7              Cost Rating: 8
Overall Rating: 7.3


The 2008 Mission Saint Vincent Reserve Bordeaux Rouge is a blend of 70% Merlot, 20% Cabernet Sauvignon and 10% Cabernet Franc. It has an SRP of $10 and is available at that price. The wine opens with pleasant aromas of blueberry and spice. This is more of a laid back wine that still hits all the right notes. Another wine that is really easy to drink and a great all around wine to keep in your rotation. The dry finish has really good length and a good bit of spice. My favorite of the group.

Other details: 12.5% Alcohol. 300k bottles. See a listing of local retailers selling this wine here.

Taste Rating: 8              Cost Rating: 8
Overall Rating: 8.0


Last, is the 2008 Chateau Vergnes-Beaulieu Bordeaux Rouge. This 100% Merlot has an SRP of $10 and is available at that price. It opens with aromas of smoky plum, a little cranberry and some earthy herbal notes. The wine tastes dense and meaty with strong tannins. This is not a fruit forward wine but is quite nice to drink. The finish is dry with a little spice and medium-short in length.

Other details: 13.0% Alcohol. 30k bottles See a listing of local retailers selling this wine here.

Taste Rating: 7              Cost Rating: 8
Overall Rating: 7.3


All wines received courtesy Planet Bordeaux for review purposes.

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