NEW YORK--Cru Bourgeois du Medoc, a superior wine produced on one of the eight prestigious appellations in Bordeaux, created a sensation in the luxurious surroundings of Manhattan's Midtown Loft and Terrace with its sun-drenched main salon and terrace with sweeping views of the Empire State Building. According to the Alliance's Directrice, Frederique Dutheillet de Lamothe, who presided over the event, this was their first-ever major marketing effort in the American consumer market. From all accounts, it was a huge success.
"This is the perfect time for Cru Bourgeois," de Lamothe said in an interview on the terrace." The Cru Bourgeois are well-suited to today's markets and the requirements of increasingly demanding consumers who not only want quality and superior taste, but a price that is affordable. We feel that we can offer all of that to the American consumer today."
First of all, wines that carry the Cru Bourgeois logo and authentication sticker, required since the 2010 vintage, represent a guarantee of the highest quality. They must meet a strict quality assurance process that involves selection over the course of a series of blind tastings. The wines are then identified with a secure visual recognition system, embedded in a sticker, which appears on all bottles of Cru Bourgeois du Medoc. This sticker contains a unique code for each bottle, thus providing a guarantee that the wine is authentic.
Cru Bourgeois wines are made primarily from Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot grapes. In spite of their uniform guarantee of quality, the wines are as distinctive and individual as the fingerprints of the men and women who make them. They offer both diversity and excellent value, with the majority of the wines in the $20-$30 price range, and most available at an average price of $25.50 a bottle. The few that are $40 and above are of exceptional quality and possess a quality and flavor that far exceeds the price.
The Midtown Terrace tasting proved to be an excellent platform for the display of these excellent wines. With some 65 producers pouring well over a hundred wines, mostly from the 2009 and 2010 vintage, the wines proved that they deserve the attention of serious wine lovers. They are complex red wines with a high level of satisfaction for drinkability. They're great wines to pair with food or to serve as an aperitif. A light buffet of assorted charcuterie, ranging from sliced spicy and dry meats to artisanal cheeses, vegetable crudite' and some delightfully semi-sweet dried figs made for a perfect afternoon pairing in the warm afternoon sun on the terrace. "It's almost like being in the Medoc," Directrice de Lamothe offered, raising a glass in toast, "only we don't get quite as much sun as you do here!" Vive le difference! Vive Cru Bourgeois!
Samplings from my tasting notes:
Chateau D'Agassac, AOC Haut-Medoc 2011-$23. Deep, gravel soil and a blend of 50 per cent Merlot, 47 per cent Cabernet Sauvignon, 3 per cent Cabernet Franc combined with 15 months of aging in oak barrels, produced a highly drinkable, complex wine with bright flavors of ripe red fruit; tart raspberries, plums and candied cherries with a hint of black pepper and an underlying texture of rich, dark earth and a hint of gravel on the tongue. Surprisingly complex for such a young wine, yet, its ready to drink now. It's a little tight and would benefit from 4-5 years of aging. At this price, buy a case and drink a few now and save the rest for later.
Chateau Guitignan, Moulis 2011-$25. A blend of 60 per cent Merlot, 32 per cent Cabernet, 5 per cent Cabernet Franc and 3 per Petit Verdot. This wine was vinified entirely in stainless steel to preserve its pronouced fruit flavors and elegant nose, bursting with the aroma of ripe crushed flowers and lucsious ripe black cherries. Aged a year in oak barrels, this wine has the structure of something many times the price. Another well-balanced wine that will go great with a good meal of lamb chops with rosemary and a side of couscous with mushrooms sauteed in the deglazed pan juices and a sprinkle of crushed mint.
Chateau Vieux Robin, Medoc 2011-$44.99- One of the more expensive of the lot, but vcertainly one of the best. You can afford to splurge after all of the bargain-hunting and it's well worth it! A lean, elegant wine of 40 per cent Merlot snd 55 per cent Cabernet, it bears the distinctive mark of old vines, average age 45 years and over a year and a half of aging in oak barrels, 40 per cent new. The result is stunning, with delicate floral aromas, rich flavors of dark ripe fruit and a hint of cassis, with a healthy underpinning of baking spices; cardamom, cinnamon sticks and nutmeg with hints of cedar shavings echoing in the background. This is a rich wine with a lean, supple structure. Serve it with ripe, aged cheese, such as a rare Roblechon or a deeply-veined Blu. A finely aged steak, like the one's they serve at David Burke's (they have them at Whole Foods everywhere and at Fairway in New York in their chilled meat locker) would make for a fine meal pairing. I'm not supposed to be eating red meat anymore, so you didn't read it here!
Marie Vialard-Mau-Gerante, Chateau Cissac, Haut Medoc