December 2005                              


Wines of the month - Paul DeRose

It's the Real Thing- Bordeaux

Last month I talked about Bordeaux Wannabes, red wines that are made from grapes that are used in or taste similar to red Bordeaux and come from many parts of the world. So many wannabes are made because fine red Bordeaux are the most famous and successful, expensive wines on the planet and everyone wants to get in on the act. Even in movies, chic wine references are often used by sophisticated characters (James Bond, and the like) as symbols of class, power and being in the know. Almost all of these references are to famous red Bordeaux. Even Miles, the Pinot Noir lover in Sideways brags about the most special bottle in his collection being a 1961 Chateau Cheval Blanc, a very famous Bordeaux that will only cost you $2000 to $3000 a bottle, if you can find it.

Bordeaux is one of the largest wine producing regions in the world and most of these wines are surprisingly cheap (less than $15 a bottle). Unfortunately, most are also not very good. Lists of “fine” red Bordeaux have been compiled over the years, starting with the 1855 classification of the Medoc, and are referred to as classified growths. These are the expensive ones. During other times of the year, I would consider fine red Bordeaux to be beyond the interest of the average reader of this column, but as the holidays are upon us, many search for special gifts and treats for friends and loved ones. So, I have listed some of my favorite “fine” red Bordeaux below for this purpose. I would stick with 2000, 2001 or 2002 vintages. I tried not to pick anything in the stratosphere, as far as price, but would be happy to make suggestions if you’re feeling particularly generous this year. Feel free to direct any questions or comments to me at

• Chateau Calon Segur – St. Estephe ($50)
• Les Forts de Latour – Pauillac ($50)
• Chateau Branaire Ducru – St. Julien ($45)
• Chateau Pontet Canet – Pauillac ($40)
• Chateau Clerc Milon – Pauillac ($40)
• Chateau Haut Bailly – Graves ($40)
• Chateau Lascombes – Margaux ($40) *
• Clos du Marquis – St Julien ($40)
• Chateau Duhart Milon – Pauillac ($35)
• Chateau Grand Corbin Despagne – St Emilion($30)
• Chateau Haut Bages Liberal – Pauillac ($28)
• Chateau Cantemerle – Medoc ($25)
• Chateau Potensac – Medoc ($25)
• Chateau Batailley – Pauillac ($25)

* indicates available in Montgomery County