I need your expert opinions again. California reds vs French reds

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Re: I need your expert opinions again. California reds vs French reds

Postby Isaac » Thu Sep 21, 2006 5:23 pm

James Dietz wrote:Maybe not first growths, but there are very nice 2d-5th growths that can be had in the $50ish range... we had a wonderful Leoville Barton 1997 that we bought from K&L (http://www.KLwines.com) that shows what Bordeaux is all about. Poujeaux is often in the $30s, and can be excellent. Or Lagrange. Instead of buying 5 $10 bottles, buy 1 $50 bottle.
I still have to buy four more $10 wines for the other four nights.

Besides, I recently did just that. Having a little spare cash, I spent somewhere between $30-$50 on a 2000 St.-Emilion, which I found, frankly, ordinary. I also read, over and over again, both here and elsewhere, that a decent Bordeaux needs at least ten years to even begin to show what it's made of, especially to a novice like myself. All told, it gets complicarted quickly in a small town like mine.

And I have to note that my response was to Howie's that recommended the thread, "Mostly First Growths", so first Growths was what I was addressing. How is one to have any idea what an ideal French red is like, without tasting a mature First Growth?
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Re: I need your expert opinions again. California reds vs Fr

Postby Otto » Thu Sep 21, 2006 5:31 pm

RonicaJM wrote:So far, in the red French arena, we've tried a bordeaux and a beajolais- each about $10. Both were similar in that our initial tast impression was tartness. Also, the flavors were more subtle and more difficult to figure out. I won't be trying these again...next! [...] I know I've only had 2 bottles of french wine so far. But, are they, in general, more subtle and tart to the taste buds?


I'd really like to know the names and vintages of the wines you had. There is lots of trash made in both regions - especially in this price region. It may be just that you won't like these area's wines, but it may be that you had the bad examples.

Going from the clues you give to your tastes, I'd second the Rhone/South France recco. Also, I might try some very warm vintage Cabernet Franc from the Loire (1997, 2003, not tasted any, but 2005 might do also).

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Re: I need your expert opinions again. California reds vs French reds

Postby James Dietz » Thu Sep 21, 2006 5:32 pm

I think many would argue that there are excellent 2d, 3d, 4th and 5th growths that rival the quality of the 1st growths, and at a fraction of the price. Maybe others (Jenise?) will weigh in on this.....

And it is good to remember, that one of the most famous Bordeaux wines, and up there for one of the most if not THE most expensive, is not even a classified growth.. Ch. Petrus. If I were to wait to measure Bordeaux against that standard, it wouldn't ever happen.

So, I'll reiterate, Leoville Barton, Leoville Las Cases, Grand-Puy-Lacoste, etc. can provide quality that is the equal of the expensive first growths. And, sure, sometimes you don't get something great, but when you do.. wow!! And it is that search, and realization, that makes wine drinking so rewarding.

I, too, have the $10 wines other nights... most nights in fact.
Cheers, Jim
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Re: I need your expert opinions again. California reds vs Fr

Postby Otto » Thu Sep 21, 2006 5:40 pm

James Dietz wrote:I think many would argue that there are excellent 2d, 3d, 4th and 5th growths that rival the quality of the 1st growths, and at a fraction of the price. Maybe others (Jenise?) will weigh in on this.....
I, too, have the $10 wines other nights... most nights in fact.


Grand Puy Lacoste 1985 came out second best in a half-blind tasting of '85 First Growths recently! :) And another recent tasting showed that they rock. I like this Chateau very much in case no one had noticed....

I ran out of 10€ wines to try (all but three in our monopoly were crap) so now I'm onto drinking more tea than ever and trying out the beers we have here. But I think we just ran out of interesting beers also, so I'm glad we got a tea shop that has a better selection that our Alko!
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Re: I need your expert opinions again. California reds vs Fr

Postby James Dietz » Thu Sep 21, 2006 5:47 pm

Otto, at a recent tasting of 2000 Bordeaux, with no first growths present, but with a number of 2d growths, the Grand-Puy-Lacoste was my WOTN.. as it was when I first tried it a couple of years ago at another tasting. And it's, what, a 5th growth??... showing that the 1855 rankings are not `all that' perhaps??...
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Re: I need your expert opinions again. California reds vs Fr

Postby Jenise » Thu Sep 21, 2006 7:23 pm

Jim and Otto,

Here's another vote for Grand Puy Lacoste as a totally delicious Bordeaux that displays a lot of Bordeauxish grandeur for a relative pittance. In fact, not even an hour ago, FedEx delivered six bottles of the 01 here--I paid $17/bottle. Of course there's a healthy discount in there, but point is you can find this kind of price if you're willing to work for it. I first tasted this same wine two years ago--$21 at Costco. The 98 GPL is drinking fantastically right now.

Which addresses, in part, Isaac's issue: yes, most Bordeaux DOES need some time, but some of the so-called lesser vintages show very well in much less time.
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Re: I need your expert opinions again. California reds vs Fr

Postby James Dietz » Thu Sep 21, 2006 7:58 pm

Unbelievable price, Jenise!!! Congrats!!!

Now.. tell us where!!!
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Re: I need your expert opinions again. California reds vs French reds

Postby TimMc » Thu Sep 21, 2006 8:16 pm

Isaac wrote:
TimMc wrote:I'd stack California Zinfindels against French Zins any day.
Even if they have screwcaps? :wink:


Har.





sheesh
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Re: I need your expert opinions again. California reds vs Fr

Postby Isaac » Thu Sep 21, 2006 9:28 pm

James Dietz wrote:Otto, at a recent tasting of 2000 Bordeaux, with no first growths present, but with a number of 2d growths, the Grand-Puy-Lacoste was my WOTN.. as it was when I first tried it a couple of years ago at another tasting. And it's, what, a 5th growth??... showing that the 1855 rankings are not `all that' perhaps??...
Times change, wines change, but the 1855 rankings are forever - unless you're Baron Philippe, that is.
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Re: I need your expert opinions again. California reds vs Fr

Postby James Dietz » Fri Sep 22, 2006 2:40 am

Isaac wrote:
James Dietz wrote:Otto, at a recent tasting of 2000 Bordeaux, with no first growths present, but with a number of 2d growths, the Grand-Puy-Lacoste was my WOTN.. as it was when I first tried it a couple of years ago at another tasting. And it's, what, a 5th growth??... showing that the 1855 rankings are not `all that' perhaps??...
Times change, wines change, but the 1855 rankings are forever - unless you're Baron Philippe, that is.


Indeed.. money talks???
Cheers, Jim
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Re: I need your expert opinions again. California reds vs Fr

Postby Covert » Fri Sep 22, 2006 5:34 am

Jenise wrote: Jim, Otto, Jenise. Here's another vote for Grand Puy Lacoste.


I just posted a note about 1999 Grand-Puy-Ducasse, but GPL is a great representative of every-day Bordeaux, and sometimes is about as good is it gets. The '99 GPL is inexpensive, too, and very good.

Opened up still another '97 a couple of weekends ago, and it is still drinking beautifully. I might buy another six bottles of it, or so. It's among a flight of five batches that I induced a local wine store to carry in 2000. So far, it doesn't look like local folks bought up more than maybe six bottles since that date. I keep going back and picking up inventory, feeling guilty about having made the suggestion. Bought up all the Poujeaux and Talbot, but I think there is GPL left. I also suggested buying 2000 Malescot, which nobody bought either, even though the store never marked it to market since the original $60 price, which is cheap in the boonies.

That dynamic in that store, near Albany, New York, goes to show that a very limited proportion of the general population appreciates Bordeaux. So I don't suggest it as often as I used to when a newcomer asks me "what wine is good." I just say that if the person develops a taste for wine, he or she should give it a college try at some point, because the extremely rare individual who find that he or she likes it, usually really likes it.

I have mentioned before that the Stargazer Lilly has a bouquet that is remarkably like the special elements of Bordeaux that make it different. That could possibly be a pre-indicator for a newbie before taking the plunge to buy a bottle of a decent Bordeaux.
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Re: I need your expert opinions again. California reds vs Fr

Postby Isaac » Fri Sep 22, 2006 10:52 am

Indeed.. money talks???
Usually in a quiet but very insistent voice.
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Re: I need your expert opinions again. California reds vs French reds

Postby RonicaJM » Fri Sep 22, 2006 3:23 pm

Jenise wrote: As Oliver implied, there are many good reasons why some of us are gaga about Bordeaux and it's not because we enjoy sour wines! ...
Usually a bit of oxygen too: are you decanting/aerating your wines prior to drinking? An hour or so in an open decanter can do wonders to free up some fruit.


I'm glad to know that what I am eager to experience isn't sour wine and I agree that I've probably gotten some poor examples. But I am aerating my wines, usually about an half hour. Sounds like I need to increase to an hour.
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Re: I need your expert opinions again. California reds vs Fr

Postby RonicaJM » Fri Sep 22, 2006 3:52 pm

[quote="Otto Nieminen
I'd really like to know the names and vintages of the wines you had. There is lots of trash made in both regions - especially in this price region. It may be just that you won't like these area's wines, but it may be that you had the bad examples.

Going from the clues you give to your tastes, I'd second the Rhone/South France recco. Also, I might try some very warm vintage Cabernet Franc from the Loire (1997, 2003, not tasted any, but 2005 might do also).

-Otto-[/quote]

Two of the wines I had were a Chateau Grand-Jean 2003 and a Georges Duboeuf Beaujolais-Villages 2005

The Rhone wine was a La Vielle Ferme Cotes du Ventoux 2004. I liked this one better.
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Re: I need your expert opinions again. California reds vs Fr

Postby Otto » Fri Sep 22, 2006 4:03 pm

RonicaJM wrote:Two of the wines I had were a Chateau Grand-Jean 2003 and a Georges Duboeuf Beaujolais-Villages 2005

The Rhone wine was a La Vielle Ferme Cotes du Ventoux 2004. I liked this one better.


Well, 2003 was a weird vintage. I'd avoid that if you want an idea on what the area is like. Duboeuf I don't appreciate very much (do a search on this forum, you'll see a few notes from me....). Also for Beaujolais, I think a Cru would be more to your taste than a Village wine. Try Jadot or Drouhin Crus in 2005 and I think they will be much more to your taste.

La Vieille Ferme has usually been a rather nice wine. You should try some good producers' Cotes du Rhone - they are rather similar in style. They may be a couple dollars more expensive but should be worth the extra cost. I hope you continue to experiment and to report what and how you like the wines! :)

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Re: I need your expert opinions again. California reds vs Fr

Postby James Dietz » Fri Sep 22, 2006 4:11 pm

The Dobeouf is a pretty basic bottling...and it was very tart in 05. My wife won't drink it. It does go well making sangria, and that is what I used it for.

I have had a La Vielle Ferme white, but not the red you mention. Cotes du Rhones reds tend to be good values, and good food wines. But they are unlikely to be very complex. Nothing wrong with that. It depends on what one is looking for. Sometimes it is just a wine to have with dinner (or lunch.. maybe even breakfast). But more complex wines give pleasure of a different kind.

A couple of other on-line wine shops to look at:

Wine Exchange: http://www.winex.com

K&L: http://www.klwines.com/

Chambers St.: http://www.chambersstwines.com/

And for some really interesting wines and GREAT wine deals from a respected, and I mean highly respected wine merechant and wine writer, check out Kermit Lynch: http://www.kermitlynch.com/Every couple of months, they have amazing case deals.
Cheers, Jim
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Re: I need your expert opinions again. California reds vs Fr

Postby RonicaJM » Fri Sep 22, 2006 8:09 pm

Jenise wrote:Jim and Otto,

Here's another vote for Grand Puy Lacoste as a totally delicious Bordeaux that displays a lot of Bordeauxish grandeur for a relative pittance. In fact, not even an hour ago, FedEx delivered six bottles of the 01 here--I paid $17/bottle. Of course there's a healthy discount in there, but point is you can find this kind of price if you're willing to work for it. I first tasted this same wine two years ago--$21 at Costco. The 98 GPL is drinking fantastically right now.

Which addresses, in part, Isaac's issue: yes, most Bordeaux DOES need some time, but some of the so-called lesser vintages show very well in much less time.


I'm going to find this wine. I will consider it highly recommended and am anxious to see what it's like. :D
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Re: I need your expert opinions again. California reds vs Fr

Postby Isaac » Sat Sep 23, 2006 4:38 pm

I found some GPL for $18 - in a half bottle!
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