Home > Fair, Good, ModGood, Tasting Notes and Wine Reviews > Tasting Affordable 2009 Bordeaux

Tasting Affordable 2009 Bordeaux


Jenn and Lou

Late last month Lou and Adriene came over to taste affordable 2009 Bordeaux.  Lou, having drunk a few bottles, was generally impressed by the quality and suggested we put together a few organized tastings.  Unfortunately the selections are still thin in Washington, DC with containers due later this winter.  So Lou grabbed several bottles from Calvert-Woodley and I grabbed several from MacArthurs.  After reviewing our purchases Lou suggest we start with Merlot-based wines.

I was completely pleased by our selections of wines.  Having spent only $10-$20 per bottle this was our least expensive tasting, yet both nights I enjoyed drinking these wines.  I would group #1, #2, and #6 as my top three followed by #4, then #3 with #5 as my least favorite.  With the variety of styles I suspect many people could find an enjoyable, affordable bottle from the six bottles we tried.  Both nights I went to bed eager to try more 2009 Bordeaux.  I suspect there will be many quality wines that may be drunk now while others benefit from short-term aging.  Hopefully Lou and I may find evocative and interesting bottles.

The wines were double-decanted two hours ahead of time and served in brown paper bags.  The leftover wine was gassed with Private Preserve so they could be tasted the following night.  My tasting notes are in the order that the wines were tasted.

#1 – 2009 Chateau Cheval Noir, Saint-Emilion
This is imported by Shaw-Ross and available at MacArthurs for $19.99.  This wine is a blend of 70% Merlot, 20% Cabernet Franc, and 10% Cabernet Sauvignon.  This was a brighter color than #2 and #3.  Lorelei found “Strawberry” on the nose.  This was a little earthier in aroma with some cassis.  It was racy in the mouth with good initial weight.  The flavors became short midpalate which was followed by a simple aftertaste.  On the second night I found a subdued cherry nose and a little gravelly fruit.  There was still a simple finish and aftertaste.  Jenn preferred this wine over #6. ** Now-2015.

#2 – 2009 Chateau Croix de Jauge, Saint-Emilion
This is imported by MacArthurs and available for $16.99.  This wine is 80% Merlot and 20% Cabernet Franc.  This was darker than #1.  With greenhouse aromas it revealed good concentration, racy flavors, verve from acidity, and a classic profile.  There were very fine tannins that coated the inside of the mouth. There was a good aftertaste which was a tad more coarse/rustic and bigger in flavor.  Overall there was good balance.  On the second night the nose was still strong and interesting.  There were black fruit flavors in the mouth, enjoyable acidity, and tannins.  Quite nice. *** Now-2017.

#3 – 2009 Chateau Guillon Nardou, Montagne Saint-Emilion
This is imported by Monseiur Touton and available at MacArthurs for $10.99.  This wine is a blend of 90% Cabernet Sauvignon and 10% Merlot.  This was concentrated and more muted than #1 and #2.  There were dark flavors and herbs which were lean in the mouth.  This was structured, gave up the least, and modern.  On the second night this was a coarser wine with a very light nose, dark and simple in the mouth, almost watery midpalate but a bit a lift in the finish. * 2014-2017.

#4 – 2009 Chateau Grimont, Cadillac
This is imported by Calvert Woodley and available for $9.49.  This wine is a blend of 65% Merlot and 35% Cabernet Sauvignon.  This sported tarter red fruit and roast meats.  The more vibrant red fruit burst initially bursts in the mouth then falls over before the tannins come out.  On the second a meaty whiff blows off before bright, acidity red fruit (a tad cranberry or pomegranate like) comes out.  There are drying, fine tannins that coat the lips. * Now-2015.

#5 – 2009 Chateau Le Chene de Margot, Cotes de Blaye
This is imported by Calvert Woodley and available for $9.49.  This had a very fruity nose of ripe, red fruit that was almost sweet.  In the mouth it was powdery in texture with confected fruit flavors.  This would appeal to many people.  On the second night the sweet, simple fruit persisted into the nice aftertaste.  This was not reminiscent of Bordeaux. * Now-2015.

#6 – 2009 Chateau Lafont-Fourcat, Bordeaux
This is imported by Calvert Woodley and available for $12.34.  This wine is a blend of 75% Merlot, 20% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 5% Malbec.  There was a dark nose of almost sour fruit with a wee bit of stink.  In the mouth, the concentrated dark fruit was a little spicy with drying tannins.  The wine was balanced and refined.  On the second night this was racy, enjoyable, and drank really well. *** Now-2017.

Aaron and Adrienne

We wrapped up with another selection from Lou.  Chateau Couhins was promoted to a first growth of Graves in 1959 and acquired by the Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique (INRA) in 1969.  Supported by several researchers at the estate, they investigate both viticulture and vinification.  An Integrated Protection strategy for the vineyard combines natural parasite regulation and a decision protocol to minimize the use of tractors to reduce CO2 emissions and soil compaction.  Precision Viticulture allows the mapping of homogenous parcels in the vineyard down to one square meter.  Here is Lou’s description on how he acquired the bottle:

The wine was a gift when we were in Paris two summers ago. We had purchased a week’s stay at an apartment in Paris at a charity auction we had attended.  The family that had donated the place were ex-pat Americans who had lived in Paris for many years.  He was a scientist and she a musician. They lived in a place just next door to the apartment.  They were gracious hosts, and helped make our stay even more enjoyable.  At the end of the week, after a two day side trip to Reims we had dinner with our hosts. We drank some Champagne and another bottle we had brought. We never got to this bottle of Bordeaux that he had pulled from his cellar for dinner, so he gave it to me to take.  The wine was produced by the INRA, for whom he worked.  I’ve had the wine since then and just hadn’t found the right occasion to drink it.  The bottle, besides its charms as a wine, is a fond remembrance of part of an amazing trip with my family that summer.

1997 Chateau Couhins, Pessac-Leognan, Graves
This is made from Merlot, Cabernet Sauvigon, Cabernet Franc, and Petit Verdot that was aged in 30% new French oak barrels.  With both a mature color and nose of mature fruit on the nose this was drinking at its peak.  Notes of wood box, a short phase of acidity, and mature short flavors left the impression of a completely pleasant wine that put on some weight.  So satisfying the bottle was finished the first night. ** Now.

Aaron and Lou

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  1. January 3, 2012 at 9:23 am

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