Home Food & Wine The Gentleman’s Cellar: Top 10 Traditional Bordeaux

The Gentleman’s Cellar: Top 10 Traditional Bordeaux

When Arnie and Jack are teeing off at the Masters, and a faint sniff of NHL playoffs is in the air, Spring has officially arrived. The traditional food of the season, which has borrowed the name, is fresh spring lamb. Of course in the days before industrial farming and freezers the window for sheep farmers to produce spring lamb would have been much tighter, and hence this meat has been tied tightly to the spring season, along with the shoots of vegetables and flowers amongst other foods. Lamb is one of the most versatile of foods to pair with wine, with the sweetness and complexity of the meat, combined with dashes of herbs like rosemary, creates magic with wines that display their own complexity without being too overwhelming. The perfect foil is mature Bordeaux.

I discussed last week my preference for Bordeaux in a more traditional mold, favouring freshness and elegance while still maintaining intensity of flavour. I love the delicious modern style wines as well, but am less interested in putting them in my own cellar. The traditionally made wines are in practice harder to find than you might think. Tasting the wines young, when they are in a dumb phase, can be difficult because of the heaviness of tannin and lack of expressiveness on the nose. Relying on the notes of other tasters is often difficult as well, since the focus from the big critics, many of who prefer more modern styles, usually is on a general likability rather than specifying a wine’s style. Combining my own tasting notes with some reference notes in Bordeaux books, with a dash of owner and consultant winemaker considerations, have led me to this list of ten wines for traditionalists. I’ve made a list both for those with a bigger budget and one for those with more modest aspirations. I should note here that I’ve left the first growths off this list, since first of all most of them are out of reach for the average consumer, I have very little experience tasting them, and almost all of them are made with traditionalist leanings. Many of their second wines, such as La Clarence, Pavillon Rouge, Alter Ego, etc could belong here. Here’s my list of top 10 Bordeaux for Traditionalists:

French wine - Bordeaux
Image by Carabo Spain for Pixabay
  • Chateau Magdelaine
  • Chateau Calon Segur
  • Chateau Figeac
  • Chateau Ducru Beaucaillou
  • Chateau La Conseillante
  • Chateau Haut Bailly
  • Chateau Canon
  • Chateau L’Eglise Clinet
  • Chateau Vieux Chateau Certan
  • Chateau Beychevelle

To get 3 times as much wine for the same price, try these 10

  • Chateau Chasse Spleen
  • Chateau Potensac
  • Chateau Phelan Segur
  • Chateau Latour Martillac
  • Chateau Carbonnieux
  • Chateau La Dauphine
  • Chateau Faizeau
  • Chateau La Tour de By
  • Chateau La Grave a Pomerol
  • Chateau de Fonbel