Bordeaux is such a huge region that its vast reservoir of enjoyable, affordable wines are often overlooked with all the publicity received by its highly rated wines that sell for hundreds, even thousands of dollars per bottle.
So when I uncork a bottle of red that costs $20-$30 or less a bottle it feels a bit like returning home to those early days of learning about fine wines, and red Bordeaux was Lesson #1.
We’ll get to some of those Clarets after we taste through a flight of interesting Northern Italian Pinot Grigios.
2022 Riff Venezie “Pinot Grigio” ($12) – Very floral with mellow apple, blended in with the greener fruits – a little juicy with bitter notes around the edges.
2022 Alois Lageder “Terra Alpina” Dolomiti Pinot Grigio ($17) – Creamy-tart fruit with a lot of herbal, savory notes.
2022 Marco Felluga “Mongris” Collio Pinot Grigio ($21) – Enjoyable – tart, minerally green fruit with a hint of whey before a crisp finish.
2021 Alois Lageder “Porer” Dolomiti Pinot Grigio ($30) – Gamey nose followed by light, juicy flavors of tart apples and a few savory accents for complexity.
2022 Marco Felluga “Russiz Superiore” Collio Pinot Grigio ($35) – Lovely floral aromas, soft and light on the palate with modest fruitiness and an underlay of stony minerality.
2019 Château Reynier Bordeaux Supérieur ($16) – A lean Bordeaux, light in body and fruit, very savory with a crisp finish.
2019 Château Biac “Felix de Biac” Cadillac Côtes de Bordeaux ($24) – Easy drinking, though with a lot of dusty tannins – mainly blackberry fruitiness with good oak notes.
2016 Château Larrivaux Haut-Medoc ($24) – Very enjoyable tart red and black fruitiness with a lot of savory undertones, modest tannins, and a crisp finish.
2020 San Simeon “Estate Reserve” Paso Robles Cabernet Sauvignon ($24) – A big sipping wine with perfumed flavors of blueberries and blackberries, dusty tannins, and a dry-chocolate finish.
2015 Ramón Bilbao Rioja Reserva ($27) – Very enjoyable dark cherry fruit, well-structured, full-bodied without being lush, with a lean, sinewy finish.
2018 Château du Taillan Haut-Medoc Cru Bourgeois Exceptionnel ($28) – Quite nice – good body, moderate cherry fruitiness, a lot of dry wood notes, smooth and harmonious, lean, satisfying finish.
2015 Ramón Bilbao Rioja Gran Reserva ($37) – Mellow but dark fruit with a lot of smooth wood notes, good acidity in finish and dusty tannins.
Prices listed are generally SRP or from wine-searcher.com. As more wineries are now shipping direct-to-consumer, check the winery website if you can’t find a bottle in your retail store. Check out Drizly to receive wine directly shipped to your doorstep.