On the Trail

Drinkable Bordeaux for the Holidays

Clyde Beffa Jr.

We’re getting into the thick of the holiday season here at K&L, which means we’re packing as many shipping containers full of Bordeaux as we can and having them sent over the Atlantic as fast as possible. As K&L’s co-owner and Bordeaux buyer, I’m constantly on the search for wines we can drink now. My cellar is packed with fantastic vintages from my favorite properties, but some of my collection is either too precious for Wednesday evening or too young to open tonight. That’s why I put together a shipment of delicious and reasonably-priced Bordeaux selections that can be consumed at any point between now and the next five years. As the days become cooler and the sun sets earlier, I’m practically itching to get back home and start decanting my bottle for dinner. Here are a few of our most recent arrivals to enjoy this holiday season without breaking the bank:

From Chateau Meyney, one of the great Cru Bourgeois Exceptionnel of St. Estephe:

2010 Prieur de Meyney, St-Estèphe $19.99 – This is the second wine of Meyney and it offers much of the flavor for half the price. This sold out quickly last time (mostly to our staff) and will likely fly out this time. Toasty aromas with sweet and delicious fruit that you can enjoy right now. 2010 was a fantastic vintage and second wine deals like this are becoming few and far between.

2000 Meyney, St-Estèphe $49.99 – Even though this is a sixteen year old wine from the outstanding 2000 vintage, this wine is drinkable, but it’s not quite ready today. Give it a few more years. It’s a great near-term cellar addition you can drink in 2020 and beyond. Drink the Prieur de Meyney while you’re waiting. 

If you’re are interested in large format wines for the holidays, we received in a few magnums from La Fleur de Bouard, a Lalande-de-Pomerol property owned by Angelus. I’m really enjoying the freshness and the charm of the 2012 vintage, especially for drinking today. If you’re having a few guests over for dinner, decant one of these for the roast:

2012 La Fleur de Boüard, Lalande-de-Pomerol (1.5L) $59.99 - With some decanting you can enjoy this wine right now. It’s made in a very approachable in style with dark fruits and subtle hints of spice and earth. This got 91 points from Parker and James Suckling, but it would get a few more from me. 

Also from the Right Bank (and another over-looked vintage) is a stunning wine from one of our favorite producers here: Chateau Barde-Haut in St. Emilion. We tasted through a number of older vintages at the property this past Spring when we visited and our entire team agreed: the 2004 was a winner, especially for the price.

2004 Barde-Haut, St-Emilion $29.99 - There are only 25 cases and it was, purchased directly from Hélène at the property. 91 points from the Wine Spectator and a rave review from our Bordeaux boys. Our assistant head buyer David thought this was one of the best wines he tasted on the trip. Deep ruby in color with a silky smooth finish.

For stocking stuffers, we’ve got half bottles of our best selling Bordeaux of the last five years: the 1997 Potensac, a wine I’ve enjoyed more than fifty times over the last decade. This is the wine that earned me the name: “the king of the off-vintage” because I was able to appreciate the subtlety of a less-ripe, more classically-tailored claret. For $12.99, it’s an over-achiever.

1997 Potensac, Médoc (375ml) $12.99 - This is made by the people at Léoville-Las Cases. It's a superb older Bordeaux for an extremely reasonable price. The latest in a recent string of wildly popular and affordable '97 vintage Bordeaux bargains.

The last three wines are properties to watch in Bordeaux. They’re renowned at K&L for their value, quality, and their relatively below-the-radar status. When the K&L staff wants to drink a little claret after work, we’ll often be opening a wine from one of these producers:

2009 Tronquoy-Lalande, St-Estèphe $39.99 - We’ve already sold out of this wine on three separate occasions, so we’re back for another round to help satiate demand. Full of black fruit and licorice, this wine demonstrates great complexity and length. Rated one of the top 100 wines of 2012 by the Wine Enthusiast and a 91 from Parker, this is a great value from a great vintage.

2010 Poujeaux, Moulis $39.99 – Poujeaux is the darling of the staff here at K&L. Ralph Sands thinks it’s one of the best values in all of wine, and the 2010 got a string of 90+ scores from just about every major reviewer. This is a juicy and expressive wine that you can drink now or hold for another decade.

2012 Lespault-Martillac, Pessac-Léognan  $24.99 — TOP VALUE! This is a winery to keep your eye on. Their initial wines have been top notch and since it’s owned by the folks at Domaine de Chevalier, you know it’s going to be good. Olivier Bernard is a great winemaker, known for his plush and mineral-driven style. You’ll be competing with our staff members for these bottles.

-Clyde Beffa, Jr.