Stained Fingers, Purple Teeth, and Some Really Good Wines – Specs Liquors Bordeaux Cru Classe Tasting 2010 Vintage

I had an exciting opportunity to taste over 50 2010 Bordeaux at the Specs Liquors Cru Classe tasting last week.  The impressive list of wines included the newly elevated Chateau Angelus, Lynch Bages, Chateau Clinet, Pichon Baron, and Smith Haut Lafite. For the complete list click here.

With so many wines and the social atmosphere at the event, it was impossible to fully contemplate each wine.   When this is the case, I employ the speed dating approach, tasting relatively quickly, making note of wines that stand out from the bunch.

The first wine I tasted was Smith Haut Lafite Blanc.  I immediately thought “This wine is really good.”  This impression held throughout the tasting.  In a sea of red wines with only four whites offered at this tasting, the Smith Haut Lafite would definitely hit my top five list.  Other standouts were Leoville Poyferre, Leoville Barton, Chateau Angelus, and Chateau Clinet.   Don’t get me wrong.  There were many excellent wines,  This is just a short list of wines that

Early drinking wines would be Clerc Milon, d’Armailhac, Haut Batailley, Clos I’ Oratoire, Cannon la Gaffeliere, along with the sub-$30 wines and most of the seconds.

Based on this sampling, my impression is that the hype for 2010 Bordeaux is justified.  The Bordelais characterize the 2010 vintage as classic Bordeaux.  In comparison, the wines of 2009 are slightly fatter and rounder, and if you must, would be better for early drinking.  The majority of the 10s were understandably tight with plenty of teeth-staining tannin.  Nonetheless,   the wines were sleek, precise, and hinted at the magnificent wines they will become as they integrate and soften a bit.

Like the 2005 and 2009s, 2010 is another vintage that will provide value at the lower price tier.  it is a safe bet to pick a wine at any price point from this vintage and expect to find a relatively nice wine. While the inexpensive 2005s are drinking pretty well at the moment, a 2009 or 2010 could benefit from a year or two of cellaring or an hour in a decanter.

I left the Specs Cru Classe tasting with stained fingers, purple teeth and confirmation that all the hype regarding the 2010 vintage is justified.  It is seldom I taste over 50 wines and don’t find a single dog in the bunch.  This was that type of tasting.

Take a look at the list of available Bordeaux from this tasting.  Pricing is quoted on individual bottles and cases.  Feel free to contact me if you have any questions.


Two Buck Upchuck

With Trader Joe’s recently opening stores in the Houston area, I felt this article lifted from the business section of the Houston Chronicle would be interesting.

“The wine known as “Two-Buck Chuck” will need a new name after the bargain beverage’s price was raised.

The Santa Rosa Press Democrat reports that over the past decade shoppers at Trader Joe’s California stores paid $1.99 for a bottle of Charles Shaw Shiraz or Cabernet Sauvignon.

The new $2.49 price tag has shoppers searching for new names.  Some joked that it should now be called “Inflation Chuck” or “Upchuck”.

Trader Joes sold 5 million cases of the wine last year.  At trader Joe’s Houston locations this month the price has been $2.99.

the maker, Bronco Wine Company, said it was able to keep the price so low because it owns 45,000 acres of vineyard, which insulated it from large fluctuations in grape prices.

For those of you who thought the “upchuck” in the title was in reference to the quality of the wine, I haven’t tasted the wines yet.  Incidentally, Spec’s has brought in a line of wines called “Mode” in anticipation of the “Two Buck Chuck” invasion.  Mode is made in Moldova, a country in Eastern Europe.  The line features Cabernet, Merlot, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Pinot Grigio, and Red and White Moscato.  It sells for $2.89. I haven’t tasted those wines either. I see a blind face-off in the near future.

I can see the headline: “Blind Tasting – Upchuck Wines!!”