Bordeaux Wines available exclusively to Avalon Wine customers



Tasted by Peter Smith between June and October 2001 in Bordeaux


White Bordeaux                                                                                        Jump to Red Bordeaux notes

Dame de Maucaillou 2000 (white Bordeaux)

This wine is one of my personal favorites, so please excuse my rather extravagant prose. It’s 100% Sauvignon Blanc, which is quite unusual for Bordeaux  where most dry whites are a blend of Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon. We drink it on just about every Bordeaux tour we run, and I have NEVER had anyone that has not thoroughly enjoyed it. The wine easily merits a price tag of anywhere from $14-18, but we are passing on the amazing value that it represents in this first offering. In the future I anticipate the price to rise to it’s rightful level, so this deal won’t be available for long! Incidentally, I have vintages of this wine that the winemaker considers should have been drunk years ago, but are still holding up beautifully in my cellar in France. Even the 94 is still very drinkable.

Nose:   White flowers and fresh cut grass.

Mouth: The wine was very new when I tasted it, and still had it’s hard edge from bottling. As always, very cleanly-made with the crispness of the fruit outlined by the wine’s acidity. At this stage it is heavy on flowers and citrus, particularly grapefruit, and by past experience this will flesh out into a rounder style with subtle hints of honey and white peaches over the next year or so. I wouldn’t recommend cellaring for as long as my older bottles in France, as the wine is really designed to be enjoyed for it’s freshness and vivacity in its youth, but there is no panic to drink it up either, if it’s in a good cellar.


Castres 2000 (white Bordeaux)

Nose:   Clean, very classic white Graves. Very nice.

Mouth: Good acid, with very nice ripe fruit. Clean and fresh tasting with a fleshy “sweet” feel that comes from the ripe fruit (the wine is fermented dry, of course). Extremely well made bottle of wine.


Red Bordeaux                                                                                        Jump to White Bordeaux notes

Lesquireau Desse 98 Haut-Médoc Red

One of my personal favorites. I discovered this wine with the 94 vintage, when I went over to see the local cooper to borrow some half-barrels to use for apple-dinking for my daughter’s school’s first Halloween. I saw some palettes of wine in the corner and asked what they were, and discovered M. Lassere had 3 hectares (about 7.5 acres) of vineyards as well as the family cooperage. When I tasted his 94 I was converted for life. He made a great effort in a year that was not easy for small producers, with a wine that I am still drinking with great pleasure today. Unfortunately the 94 is long ago sold out, but his wine is consistently well-made year after year, and my cellar is well-stocked with each vintage since.

Nose:   Very pleasant nose. Earthy, rich with a touch of smokiness and tar, and ripe dark fruits that keep it fresh and lively.

Mouth: Charming, elegant, earth driven-Médoc. Stone, tobacco leaf. Broad-shouldered style that keeps plenty of ripe fruit hidden for the future. I recommend aging this wine at least 2 years, but if you drink it now decant for at least an hour before drinking.


St. Ahon 99 Médoc Red

This is a great discovery that’s going to be a big “find” once the powers that be get to know it! It’s made by Joel Pradeau, a young winemaker who has worked at the property for about 7 years, and has been in complete control for the last 2-3 years. He is now left completely to his own devices by the owner, a French Baron, and is doing a tremendous job. He went to wine school with a friend of mine, who used to be the oenologist for Chateau Latour, which is how I came to find him.

Nose:   Black cherry & cassis with a touch of wood smoke and tar.

Mouth: The best vintage that Joel has produced to date. Bags of ripe fruit, layered with a rich smoky, coffee, spicy body - a very well-made modern style Haut-Médoc. Very drinkable now, and easily able to age for the next couple of years at least.


Castres 99 Red

Nose:   Warm, smoky with lovely black cherry.

Mouth: A really great bottle of wine. Big body, with plenty of big, round tannins to support it. Lots of chocolate, spices and coffee grounds wrapped around the fruit. Opens slowly in the glass to develop a good jammy fruit that’s held together perfectly by the wine’s structure. Good long finish with just a hint of green oak at the end. This is big wine that can easily age if you can keep yourself from drinking it all now.


Jouanin Cuvée Prestige 99

Nose:   Young rather grapey attack, with fresh crushed berries and a nice touch of oak.

Mouth: Good classic Bordeaux fruit, with a nice bite of charred oak. Should mellow out with some age. Firm tannins for future, but enough fruit for current drinking also. Definitely will improve with age, and needs a good hour in a decanter if drunk today.


Grand Mayne 99

Nose:   Subdued

Mouth: Very pleasant soft, approachable wine. Medium bodied with easy tannins and nice fresh fruit, in a good “St. Emilion” style. Very ready to drink now, and for the next couple of years.


Roland la Garde Tradition 99

Nose:   Nice dark fruits dominate, with a just a touch of wood.

Mouth: Good fruit, very nice soft tannins. Nice sweet finish with a firm edge that gives definition. Good to drink now, and probably for the next year or so while is still has it’s fruit.


Roland la Garde Prestige 98

Nose:   Very nice oak that rather dominates the nose at first, then fruit comes through.

Mouth: Ripe & oaky style. Very good. Good fruit, well balanced. Solid finish with wood & fruit nicely blending. Nice choice of barrels with good basic fruit to start with. Very nicely made, obviously with good quality and well-ripened grapes.


Rolland de By 99

Nose:   Quite closed at first, slowly opening as it breathed in the glass.

Mouth: Subtle but quite powerful. A stylish wine with lots of liquorice, blackcurrant and a touch of tar and cedar. Good solid, round tannins. Very nice wine, should be good to age for at least another 2-3 years. To drink now it would definitely benefit from decanting at least an hour or so beforehand, to let the tannic structure release the fruit.


Clos Magne Figeac 99

Nose:   Very nice, expressive “Figeac” style nose, in the sense of good ripe maturity and undertones of pleasant underwoods mustiness. Has hints of Elderflower and pine which were surprising but not unpleasant.

Mouth: Ripe fruit, soft wood & tannins. Medium body & volume but very soft & smooth. Quite elegant and very enjoyable to drink. Would appear to be at the right time to drink now, and maybe for the next year.


Teyssier 99 (St. Emilion)

Nose:   Stylish, expressive with vanilla, cherry and a touch of blackberry.

Mouth: Good solid fruit, lots of black cherry, liquorice, tar etc. Medium bodied with plenty of new oak, ripe fruit but not overly jammy. Soft, firm tannins, with a medium length finish. Very cleanly made and well balanced, in a very modern style. Very “Angelus” in style – the new wave that I call the “Parker/Rolland” style of St. Emilion. Not my personal favorite style as I prefer more traditional St. Emilions, but definitely extremely drinkable and perfect for the “American palate”.