CSN Wine and Spirits: Bordeaux Bonanza

by Adrian Bryksa

There are certain feelings of anticipation that come over a person when they are given the opportunity to try a wine deemed perfect. I was faced with that on my way to the Bordeaux Bonanza hosted by CSN Wine and Spirits. When the word Bordeaux is mentioned, it conjures up thoughts of a part of the world that is revered as being the center of the wine production with enthusiasts and pundits excitedly giving their perspectives on some of the worlds most expensive and highly sought after wines. Needless to say that when an invitation was extended to try some of these wines, I didn’t have much problem adjusting my schedule. The details: a selection of 35 wines from the regions that Bordeaux consists of, ranging from entry level ($20.00) all the way up to the super luxury (coming in at over $700.00) and spanning vintages from 1996 all the way up to the banner year of 2005. All this was held in the wonderfully appointed and extensively stocked wine room at the CSN retail location.

As we worked our way through the tasting, there were several bottles that were outstanding examples of wines that are varied stylistically and in price. As well, I would be remiss not give a warning around the consumption of wines of this grade. If you do decide to make a commitment to a wine of this level, make sure you consult with the staff of your preferred market and know when it is ready to be opened. I can think of no bigger letdown than to make a significant investment in a special wine to have the experience dampened by it not being ready to be enjoyed. This to me was most evident in the testing of 2005 Château Leovile Las Cases, which was rated as a 100 point wine by Wine Spectator which suggested its anticipated maturity in 2017. It was odd, I had something different in mind when tasting what an expert would consider a perfect wine, but palates and opinions are subjective. I could however see the forest for the trees and recognize the serious potential this wine has but I might have a difficult time waiting the next 9 years to try this wine as patience is a virtue that eludes me. I digress…

Without further ado, the stars of the tasting from my perspective:

Château Guionne, Cuvee Renaissance

Vintage: 2003

Region: St. Emilion

Varietal: Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc

Price: $39.99

This blend of Merlot / Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc stood out for me due to its breathtaking scent with a fragrance that was akin to those gummy coke bottles I used to relish as a child. It presented more as a new world style with lots of rich dark fruit and mouth-watering tannins over a superb length finish. I am still kicking myself for not picking one of these up for my cellar at home. A stunning and delicious example that should be savored with friends.

90 points

Château Quinault, La Fleur De Quinault

Vintage: 2001

Region: Cotes De Bourg

Varietal: Merlot / Cabernet Franc

Price: $93.00

This blend of Merlot / Cabernet Franc is a wine of serious elegance that was drinking perfectly. Coming in at $93.00, it was aromatic and floral on the nose ( I probably swirled and sniffed for about 5 minutes) with a delicate blend of plums and dark berries on the palate coupled with silky smooth tannins. It was subtle yet complex with a lengthy and pure finish and it has some serious contemplative value. This wine should be looked at by someone who wants to experience what a ready right now wine from Bordeaux can offer.

92 points

Château Palmer

Vintage: 2005

Region: Margaux

Varietal: Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Petit Verdot

Price: $761.34

This is one of those wines that everyone wanted to try, it is the highly priced and coveted Palmer from the 2005 vintage. I tried this blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Petit Verdot at the very end of the tasting and although my senses were starting to tire, this wine just floored me with its almost black color and rich, almost port or cognac like notes on the nose. On the palate, it was a monster in such a outstanding way with massive amount of rich fruit and a gripping feel that just coated every part of my mouth with that beautiful fruit along with notes of charred wood and liquorice and huge tannins that give it enough backbone to age for 30+ years. Although some experts feel that the anticipated maturity for this wine is 2017, it was approachable and delicious today and I can only imagine what the next few years will hold for those patient enough to hang on to it.

97 points

Château d’Yquem

Vintage: 1997

Region: Sauternes

Varietal: Sauvignon Blanc, Semilion

Price: $483.09

A superb example of a Sauvignon Blanc / Semillon blend in the form of a dessert wine that absolutely must be tried once. It is a looks like sun kissed syrupy honey and on the nose a curious experience as it is shows notes of stone and mineral and gives only slight clues as to the ethereal and sensational taste. It is sweet and delicious but at the same time complicated and balanced with aspects of flowers, sugared nuts, caramel that finished so delicately that I had to keep sipping it to make sure I wasn’t dreaming. It reminded me of one of my favourite desserts, baklava. By far and away, the best and most expensive white wine I have ever tasted.

98 points

When thinking of the paltry $50.00 admission fee for the event, I can honestly say that this was an incredible value for the caliber of the product offered. Along with this, CSN discounted all of the wines being offered which was another huge gesture of goodwill to the patrons attending. A huge offer of thanks and gratitude to Andre Kok and his staff for graciously hosting such a special one of a kind event; additional thanks to Andrew, Mark and Mark from the various agencies representing these fine wines. Attending this event was a great privilege and I would encourage people to put aside any prior obligations to attend the next one. A must do for any wine enthusiast, at any level.

  • CSN Wine and Spirits: Bordeaux Bonanza
  • by Adrian Bryksa
  • Published on December 3rd, 2008
November 29th, 2008
CSN Wine and Spirits

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