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The 1996 Bel Air-Marquis d'Aligre is a completely different style of wine than modern Margaux, especially in this rather cool vintage. On opening the aromas are quite subtle, slightly musty, with bright, sweet red-currant fruit with violet, earth and mineral flavors, a bit austere, but lovely. The palate is deep, firm and earthy with red currant, black cherry and mineral flavors, with brown spice, cedar and licorice. We would suggest decanting six to eight hours in advance, or cellar for ten to fifteen more years. David Lillie
The 2009 BAMA shows bright deep red/black color with lovely high-toned red fruit liqueur - strawberry, black currant and cassis, with violet and earth. The palate is dense and ripe with bright acidity - not at all heavy, but with intense black and red fruits backed by flavors of mineral and earth. On day two the bright deep fruits have become more focused and linger on the palate in the long and very mineral finish. This is quite enjoyable as a young wine, especially after a day open, unencumbered by over-extraction and new oak - but beware, this style is for those who like some earth in their Bordeaux! Best to cellar for a very long time...
The 2010 Bel Air-Marquis d'Aligre is from very old vines and also from approximately 50 year-old vines planted by M. Boyer at 10,000 plants per hectare. There is a long fermentation without extraction, the juice remains in cuve until spring, then spends 6 months in old barrels followed by two to three years in cement vat. These are wines made in the lighter "claret" style of the 19th century, although the 2010 shows an incredible density of flavor, given the less-extracted style. Upon opening the wine shows subtle aromas of earth, red currant and cherry fruit with licorice and brown spice. The palate is deep and quite expressive with black cherry, strawberry, earth, licorice and mineral flavors, quite Burgundian in texture. The finish is very long with lingering tart cherry, sous-bois and mineral flavors. After two days open (re-corked) the aromas have broadened with prune, ripe cherry, tobacco, spice and rose and the palate is intense with red and black fruit liqueur, spice box and earth and ending with lingering red fruits and firm acidity. Delicious now with a long decant, this will be an extraordinary mature wine, best perhaps 2035 - 2050. David Lillie
75% Merlot and 25% Cabernet Franc coming from hand harvested vineyards (35-60 year old vines) in the revered region of Pomerol. The estate has long dismissed the use of chemicals but has recently transitioned to biodynamic methods. Wine has been aged in French oak, with 1/3 being new, 1/3 being old, and the last 1/3 being from the producer’s previous vintage. It has aromas of spiced black fruit, with a mix of bold herbs, charred meats, and pumpernickel. A palate of grilled beef, dried plums, and black pepper. David Hatzopoulos
One of the few Bordeaux estates to be certified Organic (since 2002), Château de Bellevue has 12 hectares of Merlot and Cabernet Franc on limestone and clay near Saint-Emilion. The grapes are hand-harvested and fermentations are with wild yeasts and the wine is bottled without fining or filtration. The 2008 has a dark ruby robe with a touch of bricking on the meniscus. A bit circumspect aromatically upon opening, but a quick decant (this has a touch of sediment) offers aromas of black currant, crushed herbs, and cigar box. The palate is dry, punchy, and racy with brambly hedge fruit flavors and a long, savory, mineral finish. John McIlwain
This fantastic organically-farmed Saint Emilion is a blend of 80% Merlot and 20% Cabernet Franc, fermented in concrete tanks for 25 days and then aged for 22 months in first- and second-use barrels. With a beautiful minerality of clay and limestone, the wine shows the finesse and elegance of a great vintage. The bouquet is complex with dark berry, prune, plum, dry tobacco, cedar, violet and herbal notes and the palate is luscious with supple tannins, good acidity and a lingering finish. A delicious wine at a great value to drink with brisket, roasted lamb and hamburgers. You can also cellar the wine for several years (+7 years) if you would prefer to consume it later. Caroline Coursant
The vines of Chateau Beausejour live naturally in the Saint-Emilion satellite region of Puisseguin-Saint-Emilion. Unlike many neighbors, the vineyard has never been exposed to pesticides or herbicides, the wine is fermented with indigenous yeasts, and remains unfined and unfiltered with minimal sulfur. The 2015’s taut structure holds together a generous array of aromas and flavors. A youthful and pronounced set of scents, like sharp dark cocoa, mint, and black cherry come from the glass. Flavors are of espresso, blackberry, plum, and sweet kirsch. Still, there is something very, very refreshing about this Merlot-based red. David Hatzopoulos
Château Massereau, an estate located in Barsac, has been farming organically since its acquisition by the Chaigneau family in 2000. Made from Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Petit Verdot planted on alluvial soils, the wine ferments in concrete vats and is raised in new barriques for 18 months with minimal addition of sulfur when devatting. The new oak is "white roasted", leaving no flavors of new oak on the wine. Fresher than its 2010 vintage, the wine displays a bouquet of juicy red plums, dark and red berry, and tart cassis notes with menthol, rose petals and cedar undertones. With a beautiful structure of great acidity, precise minerality and good tannins, the wine is complex and vibrant. A great wine to drink now, this wine will pair fantastically with hamburgers, brisket, beef bourguignon, lamb shanks and hard and blue cheeses. Caroline Coursant
The Clos du Jaugueyron Margaux is Michel Théron's top wine and a monument to traditional, old-school winemaking. The blend is dominated by Cabernet Sauvignon sourced from his parcel of old vines and some Merlot and a bit of Cabernet Franc planted on sand and gravel. All of his parcels are biodynamically farmed and he has never used synthetic treatments of any kind. This unfailing attention to detail in the vineyard carries over to his cellar work, which is precise and masterful. The wine is aged mostly in new wood for up to 18 months before spending another year resting in cuve. The 2014 is built to age but shows wonderfully hedonistic aromas already. Complex notes of sage, violets, and campfire mingle with graphite, coffee, and dark chocolate on the nose. The palate offers powdery, mouth-coating tannins, bright acidity, and cool mineral inflections beneath supple flavors of bitter chocolate, thyme, and plum. Decant 1-2 hours if drinking now or hold for 5-8 years (at least). Amanda Bowman
Never once have herbicides or pesticides touched the vineyards belonging to Chateau Coutet, a certified organic producer located outside the city of Saint Emilion. The property boasts oak trees, fig trees, and orchid meadows as a measure to ensure the land’s health, and thus the quality of its grapes and wines. On the first night open, the 2015 St. Emilion Grand Cru (mostly merlot with small additions of several other Bordeaux varietals) revealed toasted vanilla bean, plum and blackberry, with shades of autumnal earth and leaves. By the second night, it offered expressions of gravel, tobacco, and dark flowers, along with softer black and red fruits. David Hatzopoulos
This is a great Bordeaux to bring to your Holiday parties! Château Fonroque is a superb certified biodynamic and organic estate near Saint-Émilion. Owned by the Moueix family since 1931, the estate is a proponent of traditional wine-making techniques with hand harvesting, spontaneous yeasts, and limited use of new oak. An elegant Bordeaux with precise minerality, the wine is a blend of Merlot (80%) and Cabernet Franc (20%) of 35-year-old vines planted on limestone soils with some portions of clay on the hillside of the vineyard. The wine is fermented with native yeast in concrete vats and then aged in oak (with 30% new), keeping the freshness of the vintage. The resulting wine is a Bordeaux with energy and tension, bright calcareous minerality, great acidity and grippy tannin. On the nose, the bouquet is complex and lively with crunchy cranberry and black cherry, tart dark berries, dried tobacco leaves, Moroccan spices, earth, purple flower and savory notes. Drinking beautifully now, pair this wine with classic fare, such a steak, roasted rack of lamb, duck breast and full-flavored cheese, or age it for several years (7 years or more). Caroline Coursant
This is a delicious wine from a small biodynamic estate in Fronsac, next to Pomerol and St. Emilion. A blend of 70% Merlot and 30% Cabernet Franc, the wine displays a bouquet of ripe dark plums, crunchy cassis, tobacco, purple floral, and herbs de provence notes. With bright acidity and grippy tannins, the wine has a good complexity and persistent finish. Drink this wine now with braised duck, lamb shoulder, beef stew, or nutty blue cheese. You may also cellar the wine for several years (+5 years). Caroline Coursant
Biodynamic farming, native yeasts, wild fermentations, good value –all phrases not typically associated with Bordeaux. Yet, each year the Hubert family provides us with just that in their staple cuvee from the Côte de Blaye. The Cru Bourgeois is a blend of mostly Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, and a bit of Malbec. Generously aromatic owing to the rich clay soils in which it is grown, there's ripe red fruit, black currant, and spice, with supple tannins and an undercurrent of chalky minerality. This is a great addition to the dinner table alongside grilled meat or sipped on its own. Amanda Bowman
What's atypical about this delicious wine? It's a blend of Malbec and Cabernet Franc rather than Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, giving the wine a more supple palate and quite different fruit character. The 2017 has lovely, deep blackberry and cassis aromas with red currant, cassis and cherry on the supple, lush palate, with hints of earth and smoke. More "forward" than most Bordeaux, this versatile wine will pair beautifully with almost any beef, pork or lamb dish and is a fabulous value!