Importer Laurent Givry of Elite Wines has compiled an attractive portfolio of French wines from both well-established producers and promising new ones. The wines reviewed here are from his Bordeaux collection and consist of some delicious, affordable wines from both established and up and coming estates from the Gironde and other wine growing regions of Bordeaux.
Elite Wines is located in Lorton, VA Tel. (703) 339-8150
Château Mondesir 2009 Mondesir-Gazin Blaye ($27) 90 This bottling from owner and winemaker Marc Pasquet is a blend of 65% Merlot and 35% Malbec grown on the clay and limestone slopes of Château Mondesir-Gazin, a 14 ha estate of densely planted vines farmed organically. The wine is fermented in stainless steel and aged for 22 months in oak barrels , 1/3 new. It is fruit forward with light red cherry and plum fruit and shows hints of earth and spice. It has a soft texture, round tannins and is long on the finish.
Château Haut Mondesir 2009 Côtes de Bourg ($27) 89 A blend of 90% Merlot and 10% Malbec, this wine offers ripe red plum fruit aromas and flavors with hints of spice and minerals. Aged for 22 months in barrel, 1/3 new, it has a soft texture and a ripe full mouth feel. The tannins are round, and the finish is refined.
Château Gontey 2009 St. Emilion Grand Cru ($36) 90 This bottling is a blend of 80% Merlot and 20% Cabernet Franc from a small 3 ha estate located near Pomerol. It offers aromas of light cherry, earth and forest floor. It has a soft texture on the palate with hints of underbrush and truffle. Aged for 18 months in 1/3 new oak, the wine reveals round and ripe tannins, a pleasant mouth feel, good balance and a lingering finish.
Château Cornélie 2009 Haut Medoc ($27) 89 This is an attractive blend of 80% Merlot and 20% Cabernet Sauvignon from a 5 ha plot of sandy clay and gravel in the Haut Medoc, where Merlot is not all that prevalent. It is medium ruby in color and offers rather ripe spicy red and black fruit aromas and flavors with hints of earth and truffles. It is full and flavorful in the mouth with round tannins on the finish. A wine crafted by winemaker Patrick Grisard.
Château Haut Peyrous 2009 Graves ($23) 89 This red Graves was crafted by the young Gascon winemaker Marc Darroze from a 12 ha organically farmed property in Graves that he acquired in 2007. It is a fresh and fruit forward blend of 65% Merlot, 15% Cabernet Sauvignon, 15% Cabernet Franc and small amounts of Malbec and Petit Verdot. It offers aromas of red fruit, minerals and a touch of truffle. It has a pleasant mouth feel with good ripeness of fruit, soft round tannins and a pleasant finish. A very fresh tasting wine from a good albeit warm vintage.
Château Des Eyrins 2009 Margaux ($60) 92 This is a gorgeous new wine crafted from low-yielding 45-year old vines of a 2.9 ha property in Margaux. A blend of 70% Cabernet Sauvignon, 27% Merlot and 3% Petit Verdot, it offers concentrated red and black fruit aromas and is soft, round, and elegant on the palate. Aged for 18 months in 50% new oak and 50% stainless steel, it is beautifully balanced with medium weight and a light tannic grip on the finish. A superb tasting and very enjoyable wine.
Château Gilette 1989 Sauternes 375 mL ($135) 91 This is the current vintage of this lovely Sauternes produced form a 4.5 ha property in the village of Preignac. Aged very slowly for up to 20 years in concrete vats, it sees no oak and reveals light aromas of stone fruits and pear. It is also light on the palate without the honeyed viscosity of most Sauternes. It is elegant, low-keyed and refined, more suitable for pairing with fruit and light cheeses than with foie gras.