Liquid Legends: Bordeaux

Those who like to argue such points could certainly claim with justification that Bordeaux is the greatest winemaking region in all the world. Blessed by the even climate and ideal soils of southwest France, the vintners there excel at producing the rich, full-bodied reds that have made them the oenological envy of the world. Moreover, the region’s magnificent chateaux, which preside over the sweeping rows of vineyards that stretch toward the horizon, have made it the model for the elegant lifestyle so many have come to associate with art of viticulture. 

Château Canon 2007 St.-Émilion

An underpriced hero from the Right Bank of the Gironde, this wine hails from an estate belonging to the Wertheimer family, the owners of Chanel and Holland & Holland. The rich and textured elegance from Bordeaux’s limestone soils is evident in this vintage, which overflows with crème de cassis, licorice, and lavender. ($60)

Chateau Haut-Brion 2007 Pessac-Léognan

This renowned estate was a favorite of Thomas Jefferson, who ordered its wines by the case. Philosophers John Locke and Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel both referred to this mighty red wine in their writings. All three of these historical figures would no doubt have fallen under the spell of the only first-growth from the Pessac-Léognan appellation, its 2007 vintage rife with the flavors of cassis, Asian spices, earth, and sweet blackberry. ($400)

Chateau Haut-Brion 2007 Blanc Pessac-Léognon

Perhaps the only wines from Pauillac that can surpass the reds from the first-growth estate, which dates to 1525, are its whites. A blend of 55 percent Sauvignon Blanc and 45 percent Sémillon, the 2007 vintage presents a medley of fresh melon, honeycomb, and lanolin layered over a delicious smokiness. ($700)

Chateau Latour 2007 Pauillac

Comprised of 62 percent Cabernet Sauvignon, 31 percent Merlot, and 7 percent Petit Verdot, this classic Médoc is aged in new barrels for 18 months to create a captivating profile dominated by black cherry, sweet crème de cassis, baked earth, and graphite. After a single sip of this red, it is difficult to imagine drinking anything else. ($400)

Chateau Margaux 2007

In 1784, when ordering a supply of Margaux for his cellar, Thomas Jefferson wrote, “There cannot be a better bottle of Bordeaux.” Anyone fortunate enough to acquire a case of the 2007 vintage will agree with his assessment: This wine has a soft, floral character on the nose, and its palate is loaded with cassis, pure dark chocolate, licorice, and black raspberry on the finish. ($400)

Chateau Palmer NV Historical XIXth Century Wine

Named for a former owner, General Charles Palmer, this historic grand cru estate in Margaux is now managed by Thomas Duroux, who was formerly with Tenuta dell’Ornellaia in Tuscany. This blend of Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Syrah will astound the taste buds with a lush mosaic of flavors that includes mocha java, plum, tobacco, and boysenberry. ($300)

Chateau Petrus 2007 Pomerol

We suspect that when Robert Louis Stevenson wrote, “Wine is bottled poetry,” there was a half-full bottle of Petrus on his desk. Managed by Christian Moueix, the estate in Pomerol has somehow captured in a single vintage, 2007, all the centuries-old mystery and magic of Bordeaux. Composed mostly of Merlot, the wine smolders with treasure from Pomerol and captures the fascination of many years of Bordeaux excellence with its allspice, dark-chocolate, caramel, and blackberry-jam flavors. ($1,200)

Château Pontet-Canet 2007 Pauillac

This fifth-growth estate in Pauillac, located across the road from Château Mouton Rothschild, should certainly be represented in any well-stocked cellar. The latest vintage contains 60 percent Cabernet Sauvignon and reveals rich raspberry, kirsch, and tobacco flavors atop layers of smoke. ($85)

Château Providence 2007 Pomerol

Like other offerings from Pomerol, this refined vintage from Château Providence will age gracefully for three decades or longer. A robust and ripe Pomerol, its wildflower scents prime the palate for the tantalizing tastes of fresh blueberry, tar, cedar, and licorice. ($100)

Chateau d’Yquem 2007 Sauternes

The only estate to be awarded the Premier Cru Supérieur designation in the Bordeaux Wine Official Classification of 1855, this Sauternes, which is composed primarily of Sémillon, became famous for using grapes affected with Botrytis cinerea, or noble rot, in its winemaking. With the potential to age up to a century, the 2007 vintage has glorious flavors of hazelnut and crème brûlée enhanced by a wisp of nutmeg. Drinking this Sauternes can only be compared to sipping pure sunlight. ($600)

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