Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Chateau La Bienfaisance Saint-Emilion Grand Cru 2005

Bordeaux is arguably the most famous and highly regarded wine region in the world. This is not to say, however, that I'm personally making a case for the wines of Bordeaux as the best in the world. In fact for the last year, I had to work very hard to find wines from this famed region that I liked that didn't cost hundreds or thousands of dollars for a bottle. I'm sure I would love Petrus or Cheval Blanc, but there just aren't quite enough zeros at the end of my paycheck to drink those.

So about six months ago, I made it a priority to find some Bordeaux wines that are affordable and good. I figured that if so many people felt that this region is so great, then I must be able to find some good values in it. At first it wasn't easy. I started by attending a Bordeaux tasting at a local wine retailer, and the results weren't so good. Most of the wines I tasted were major disappointments. There was one exception, though, and I just revisited this wine last weekend with a wonderful dinner of lamb tenderloin with a blackberry demi-glace and a wild mushroom risotto. That exception is a wonderful blend of 80% Merlot and 20% Cabernet Franc from Saint-Emilion.

The Chateau La Bienfaisance Saint-Emilion Grand Cru 2005 is an intense purple red color in your glass. More modern in style, the nose brings black cherry, cassis, and a hint of chocolate. On the palate you get loads of cherry fruit with just a little bit of the cassis. Smooth, velvety tannins and some very nice acidity make this a beautifully structured wine that is right up my alley. I love wines that deliver delicious fruit flavor but also have structure and balance, and this fine offering from the Right Bank delivers on all accounts. This is a very good Bordeaux that is a steal in the $40 range. This wine is drinking very well now and should continue to improve with cellaring.

The wine paired beautifully with my lamb tenderloin with blackberry demi-glace, and would work very well with many French cheeses.

This is one of the first Bordeaux wines that I found that I love, but its definitely not the last. I'm going to have a lot of fun trying to find some more!


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