Give the gift of “Explore 4” without the commitment!
SommSelect’s “Explore 4” surveys the vast landscape of wine and breaks it into small, digestible bites. Each month, we select four bottles that fit a theme, allowing members to experience a diversity of styles while developing their own palate preferences. It’s an ongoing exploration of wine through a sommelier’s eyes and there’s no more effective, and enjoyable, way to learn about wine.
The first thing to know about Bordeaux is how massive it is: There are roughly 271,000 acres of vineyards in Bordeaux, making it France’s most prolific wine region. In all, Bordeaux accounts for 15% of all French wine produced.
Most press attention is lavished on relatively few “classified” estates, but the abundance of serious, cellar-worthy wine at affordable prices is unparalleled. Finding them takes a little looking, and we’ve got some tips for you herein. Here is what is in the box:
Château La Vaisinerie, Puisseguin Saint-Émilion 2019
Sometimes spelled “Puysseguin,” this is one of four village-appended AOCs that extend to the north and northeast of Saint-Émilion itself. The soils are effectively the same clay/limestone mixture found in Saint-Émilion. The estate is relatively small by Bordeaux standards, encompassing 25 hectares (13 of which are vineyards and dates to the 17th century. Vaisinerie favors Merlot, which represents 90% of this blend alongside 10% Cabernet Franc.
Château Lamoliere, Fronsac 2019
The Fronsac AOC may be one of the most underrated terroirs in all of Bordeaux. It is located just west of Saint-Émilion and Pomerol, in beautiful rolling hills north of the Dordogne River. Lamoliere is part of the Château Les Trois Croix, which is one of the oldest properties in Fronsac. Sourced from vines with an average age of 40 years, this bottling combines 86% Merlot with 14% Cabernet Franc, and it shares many personality traits with the wines of nearby Pomerol, which is famous for its dark-hued Merlots.
Château de Landiras Graves Rouge 2018
Blessed with the most evocative name in Bordeaux (graves = gravel), the Graves AOC is south of the city of Bordeaux along the Left Bank of the Garonne. Soils in the vineyards owned by Retired architect Michel Pélissié, a native of Périgord are rich in the whitish gravel the appellation is known for, and this bottling is composed of 65% Merlot and 35% Cabernet Sauvignon.
Château Aney, Haut-Médoc Cru Bourgeois 2015
Aney’s château and vineyards are in the town of Cussac Fort Médoc, which is “strategically” positioned between Saint-Julien and Margaux; it is relatively close to the Gironde and thus in a gravelly terroir that favors Cabernet Sauvignon, which comprises 65% of this blend, the other being 25% Merlot, 7% Cabernet Franc, and 3% Petit Verdot. Acquired by the Raimond family in 1972, the winery has since been revived in grand style and returned to its Cru Bourgeois status by the Raimonds.