15 December 2010

Wine Find : 2000 Bordeaux

You may know me as a well dressed cheapskate internet sensation, but in real life I've spent the last ten years in the wine business. Last night, I stumbled across a good bit of luck in a local shop, and I thought I'd share. You see a successful cheapskate knows how to find a deal in all aspects of his underhanded quest for "la bon vie".
2000 Chateau La Croix-Gandineau, Fronsac. I had never heard of this wine until yesterday, but what a treat. This Merlot based wine from Fronsac, just West of St. Emilion, had a heady, earthy scent, very French, which led to flavors of plummy dark fruits, earth and cedar/spice, with just a pinch of a vegetal edge in the background, likely from a bit of Cabernet Franc or Malbec in the blend. It took a bit of time to open up, being a bit rough edged at first, but it developed quickly into something quite yummy. Spot on with a simple meal of grilled pork chops in mustard and herbs, butternut squash, and roasted brussel sprouts, and a hell of a bargain at $14.99 a bottle in Massachusetts.

Knowing how to pick a wine is a skill that can only come from practice, but it's worth developing. In this case, I know that 2000  was an exceptional vintage in Bordeaux, from the bottom up. Like they say, "a rising tide lifts all ships". I haven't seen one on a store shelf in a long time, least of all for such a great price, but apparently there's some still around the Bay State, maybe New York too. If you see one you can afford, do yourself a favor and grab it while you can. If not, look for 2005, another great year more easily available with plenty of stunners in the $12-$20 range. And don't be afraid to try a wine from a obscure chateau you never heard of. At best it will be a memorable experience, at least it will be infinitely more interesting and exciting than that bottle of Penfold's Shiraz or Ravenswood Zinfandel for the same money. Besides, wines like that will be there the next time you come by, but this one may likely be gone forever.

Drink adventurously. Don't let wine be boring.


Alex said...

long time reader first time poster. I love your blog in general, especially as a fellow style blogger and thrift-store expert. But this post brings back some fantastic memories of the first thing I ever learned about wine my freshman year of college when a friend bought a case of 2000 bordeaux because "it's an awesome year." and we ran around the dorm yelling in french past a tour. I'll forever associate 2000 bordeaux with the awkward looks of the tour guide and some very unhappy parents. Thanks for the memories. Rock and roll G.

scone said...

Torbreck's, in Australia. Heaven in a glass.

Anonymous said...

Is there really any difference whatsoever between the cheapest and the most expensive wine?

Giuseppe said...

Yes, there is. But that doesn't mean that there isn't good cheap wine and bad expensive wine out there.

Young Fogey said...

As much as I enjoy a good red, I'm just an ignorant rube when it comes to understanding what any oenophile is saying when he talks about wine. All I hear is something like this:

"Pungently assertive, like a hobnailed boot to the gonads, the thick, heady yet beady mouth is redolent with burnt peanut butter, velvety corn chips, and chocolatey bubble gum, with overtones of herbal toe fungus, bass notes of moldering gym shoes, and a prepubescent driftwood nose."

OK, so I'm making fun of pretentious wine writing as well as myself, but what G wrote is actually as intelligible as anything I've ever read about wine, meaning he writes well enough to actually get through to a lunkhead like me.

More wine posts, please--I need the education!

Giuseppe said...


In all my years in the wine trade, I've found that florid and meaningless language are often the order of the day. Cheese suffers from the same stigma. It's too bad, because it puts a lot of people off who might otherwise really come to enjoy a great wine. I always try to put things in a tone most people can understand. Thanks for hearing me that way.

There's really only one hard and fast rule in enjoying wine: drink what you like. Remember, it's all just spoiled juice and rotten milk anyway.

Anonymous said...

A tavola non deve mai mancare un vino.

"Vino veritas," dicevano gli antichi Romani.


Young Fogey said...


When I was in Oz a few years ago, I made it a point to sample the local wine. Man, oh, man! I couldn't have bought a bad glass if I had tried!

I always thought Australian wine had an excellent price to value ratio. That was before I had to resort to drinking Two-Buck Chuck.

Ah, the sacrifices we make for our families!


Spot on. If you like it, it's good--it's that simple. (Though I was amazed when my wealthy oenophile uncle was unsatisfied with a perfectly nice bottle of red and replaced it with something even better. There is something to be said for experience and knowledge.)

Chris said...

I've always loved looking for the oldest/cheapest Bordeauxs in the shop at all of the mom and pops in NJ. After a few dozen 2000s in the past 2-3 years, not one has disappointed. Must have been a spectacular year. Congrats!


Bordeaux Wines said...

Can you tell us which wine shop in Massachusetts carries this wine?

Bordeaux Wine

Chris said...

I found this SAME wine at a wine shop in South Jersey back in October. For all the same reasons, picked it up, and it was VERY enjoyable.

Best wine advise I ever received: Buy french, as they will never send over a truly inferior product. I've never gone wrong with a 3+ year old Bordeaux for under $20.