Affordable France: 4 Crus Bourgeois Bordeaux Red plus a Dessert Wine #Winophiles

Bordeaux in general and Sauternes in particular are NOT wines that people think of as affordable. In fact, a quick search on 1000 Corks shows Sauternes for sale with the sky seemingly as a limit with a number of wines listed as going for five figures.

Along with Champagne, Bordeaux captures the imagination as “THE French red wine” of note and prestige.

But you might be surprised by the high quality Bordeaux wine you can find for around $25.  For that reason, consider bringing one of these bottles of Bordeaux as a hostess gift or to share at a holiday meal.

This month the French Winophiles group is looking at “sweet wines of France.” But what’s dessert without dinner? That’s how we ended up with opening four bottles of Bordeaux red wines before we opened our Bordeaux dessert wine!!

Open at least an hour in advance, decant if you choose to. These wines are better appreciated if opened up before drinking.

The night we met to taste these wines and write this post was our first get together since the Thomas fire broke out last week on Monday December 4.. Naturally, our conversation kept gravitating toward the recent events and all that we had been through. It was difficult to stay on topic and think about the wines but we persevered. Great wines, great food, and great conversation. It has been a full week, we had so many things planned that were postponed due to the fire, so we kept the meal simple with the emphasis on the wines and the conversation.


French Garlic Sausage
Mashed Potatoes
Green Salad with picked beets and blueberry goat cheese.
Brocoli and cauliflower
Apple Almond Spice Gallete

Half of our sausage was precooked with the red wines we were tasting tonight and half of the French Garlic sausages were prepared on their own.

WINES: All Cru Bourgeois SRP around $25

2014 – Chateau La Haye – Saint – Estephe – 13.5% alcohol
2014 – Chateau Tour Castillon – Medoc – 13% alcohol
2014 – Chateau Meyre – Haut Medoc – 13% alcohol
2014 – Chateau Castera – 13% alcohol

Sue: “I have been enjoying all of these wines in their own way all evening”

The meal was easily prepared, and not very expensive, but made special with high quality ingredients and excellent wine.

2014 – Chateau La Haye – Saint – Estephe – 13.5% alcohol

Fresh, youthful, playful and fun,

Color – really pretty, matches my tablecloth…

Nose – minerals and black peppery spice, cinnamon, cloves, tart cherry, there is a fare amount of alcohol on the nose

Palate – earthy cocoa, bright tart fruit, tart cherry with mellow tannins, but yet still tangy and tart.

Stands alone on itself, has an elegance, is a nice cocktail wine. Many times there are cocktail wines that have a bit of sweetness to it; that was not the case in this wine, it was quite assessable. easy to drink.

2014 – Chateau Tour Castillon – Medoc – 13% alcohol

Color – all were pretty much the same.

Nose – pepper, violets, forest floor, mint, licorice on the nose and palate

Palate – Herbal, sage, minty lavender notes. to Sue this was very typical of a Bordeaux. It was what is expected when you taste a bordeaux. Bitter cocoa nib on the finish, cocoa and carob nibs on the finish. the minty part drops off and goes away and you get the cocoa cocoa nibs and carob on the finish. John expressed that  it is very dry. especially when without milk. That is why the cheese brings the wine around.

With the aged gouda on the cheese plate is so yummy, makes the cheese creamy, and makes your mouth water. So nice with the french baby swiss. This wine tastes so nicely with food. especially rich creamy foods.

2014 – Chateau Meyre – Haut Medoc – 13% alcohol
Biodynamic? Need to learn more about what vin biologique means!
44% Merlot, 40% Cabernet Sauvignon, 11% Fetit Verdot, 5% Cabernet Franc

Before we did official tasting, we tasted through quickly, we decided that this was going to be our favorite wine– and it was!

Color – deeper color than the last two, deeper, and darker, dracula would like all of these wines, crimson in color, like blood.

Nose – very spicy, very much like black pepper, lovely woodsy quality, low tide mosses, fresh part of the muscles and kelp

Me: “I’m thinking of forest…”

John: “Dank forest maybe, maybe a banana slug, I have never tasted them, but can imagine that is what they taste like.”

Me: “I have kissed a banana slug.”

then continued into a conversation about how banana slugs procreate…

Palate – very balanced with notes of spice, pipe tobacco on the palate, Gwen stated like snuff, you get it on your nose and taste it on your palate. There is also a lot of deep rich fruit, without being cough syrup on the mid palate, bright tart cherry fruit. “Makes everything seem kind of awake ” Gwen, but balanced with the fruit.

John” not super tannic”

This food loves fatty foods, they balance the pucker tannins. These foods like the fat. With the food, I got a bit of cucumber with the food and wine together.

This was the favorite at the beginning of the meal, but at the end of the meal, the Chateau Castera had the most complexity.

John felt that you should pair that wine with rosemary, it makes the rosemary shine.

The great basin nuts and the honey ginger, pickled beets in our salad went so wonderfully with this wine.

2014 – Chateau Castera – 13% alcohol
65% Merlot 25% Cab Sauv 5% Cab Franc 5% Petite Verdot.

This wine was funky and weird at first, but it opened up beautifully.

Color – all of the wines were pretty much the same color. As John stated they would probably need to meet certain criteria to be able to be labeled as cru. So being the same color would be part of that criteria.

Nose – weird earthen, barnyard aroma, that was almost overwhelming, and not particularly pleasant, as this wine opened up much of that funk went away.

Palate – Did not go great with the dill havarti, or the french swiss,

While this wine was funky upon opening, it dies off , it is the ocean breeze coming through the forest canopy. The salad was lovely with this wine. and pretty too. The ginger in the beets  made me doubt that we should have used ginger pickled beets, but the minute you take a sip of wine the crazy beetness turns into raspberry yumminess.

The wine mellows out the pickled flavors in the beets and brings out a dark chocolate characteristic, like black walnut skin, some dry mouth feel, but according to  Sue this wine and pickled beet combination, totally made her mouth salivate.

2007 – Domaine De Monteils Sauternes – White Table Wine – 13% 

What makes Sauternes so special — and so expensive?

Wikipedia explains that: “Sauternes is a French sweet wine from the Sauternais region of the Graves section in Bordeaux. Sauternes is made from Sémillon, Sauvignon blanc, and Muscadelle grapes that have been affected by Botrytis cinerea, also known as noble rot. This causes the grapes to become partially raisined, resulting in concentrated and distinctively flavored wines. Due to its climate, Sauternes is one of the few wine regions where infection with noble rot is a frequent occurrence.”

Later the articles states that, “Sauternes region has a maritime climate which brings the viticultural hazards of autumn frost, hailand rains that can ruin an entire vintage. The Sauternes region is located 40 km (25 mi) southeast of the city of Bordeaux along the Garonneriver and its tributary, the Ciron.[1] The source of the Ciron is a spring which has cooler waters than the Garonne. In the autumn, when the climate is warm and dry, the different temperatures from the two rivers meet to produce mist that descends upon the vineyards from evening to late morning. This condition promotes the development of the Botrytis cinerea fungus. By mid day, the warm sun will help dissipate the mist and dry the grapes to keep them from developing less favorable rot.[4]”

Fascinating, yes? Now on to the wine!

Sue got honeysuckle, I got creosote plus apricot kernel which can be toxic the same as turpentine and creosote.  John wanted something salty, maybe more stilton, roqufert, or mancheco.

Sue stated that it was exactly like sucking out the middle of the middle of a honeysuckle flower, it is all about the nectar.

I reported that it has gotten mellower as it has gotten older. When it was younger there was more of the turpentine. harshness to the wine that was not present in the wine that we tasted today.

Lay it down, hang on to it, grab a few that an be played down and enjoyed throughout the years.

I felt that this wine would have gone with the earthy goodness of pomegranate juice, the juice is thick and rich and would go great with this wine. A trifle with pomegranate  jam and pomegranate seeds in a type of a dessert, we had a trifle two weeks ago with a port, this sauterne would have been great with it.

Sue brought over her traditional Christmas cookie platter that her and her mom work on together every year. We were sampling these cookies with our Holiday wine post, and while some of the cookies were excellent with those wines, we kept thinking about how well they would  be with our Sauterne wines.

We whipped them out and what a treat they were. With our shortbread cookies spread with maple cream and lemon cream, they were nothing short of amazing!!! The shortbread cookies were insane with the Sauterne that we had sampled the other night with our Sweet French wines focus.

So what did we prepare to pair with it? Like the rest of the meal, simple comfort food:

we used an already prepared  pie crust which we rolled out flat and piled it up with sliced apples, tossed in some chopped candied almonds, and a few raspberries to make a galette which means you just fold the edges of the pie crust in to make a nest.

I’ve done variations of this dessert a number of times — and with wines infected with the noble rot they really shine!


Here’s what our French Winophiles will be sharing:

13 thoughts on “Affordable France: 4 Crus Bourgeois Bordeaux Red plus a Dessert Wine #Winophiles

  1. Your short bread cookies pairing with the Sauternes sound Dee-li-ciousss! (I’m a cookie kinda gal 😉 It’s really too bad more people don’t know about this affordable vin liquoreux.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Pingback: Sweet Secret of Barsac – Château Doisy-Daëne – Savor the Harvest

  3. I love Sue’s observation that the Sauternes tasted like the nectar from a honeysuckle blossom! It reminds me of my childhood, when my sister and I used to pick the flowers in our grandmother’s back yard. And so glad you are now able to relax a bit, after the chaos of the past couple of weeks.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Pingback: 2010 Cave de Rasteau “Signature” Vin Doux Naturel and Brutti Ma Buoni #Winophiles – ENOFYLZ Wine Blog

  5. Pingback: Discovering Maury AOC for December’s French #Winophiles Chat – avvinare

  6. Pingback: Sweet Secret of Barsac - Château Doisy-Daëne - Savor the Harvest

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