Review: 5 Affordable Wines from Cotes de Bordeaux, 2015 Vintage
Never mind your Latour and Lafite. There’s another side of Bordeaux, found in the hillsides of Bordeaux’s Right Bank, the Côtes de Bordeaux. Made up of five sub-appellations — Blaye, Cadillac, Castillon, Francs, and Sainte-Foy — this is a rustic region where small family-run estates make simple wines using the same grapes as their chateaux-dwelling neighbors.
Today we look at five wines from the various villages in this region, all affordable spins on the austere traditions of classified Bordeaux.
2015 Château Puygueraud Francs Côtes de Bordeaux – Initially a bit dusty and leathery, this wine slowly opens up to reveal its fruit, though here it is tough and dried — notes of currants filtered through layers of slate and mushroom, with more leather and some dried violet notes on the back end. Very tannic and extremely dry, making it a better companion for a rich meal. B / $18
2015 Château Hyot Castillon Côtes de Bordeaux – Again quite dry and dusty, with intense notes of coal dust and graphite overwhelming the experience. The fruit present is quite dried and dialed back — barely there at times — again against a body with a heavily tannic backbone that shines brightest with food. B- / $15
2015 Château Couronneau Sainte-Foy Côtes de Bordeaux – Compared to its brethren, this one’s shockingly sweet, a veritable fruit bomb that layers notes of blackberry and raspberry against fresh and dried herbs, though some of that iconic, leather-and-tar character creeps into the mix, particularly on the heavily acidic, almost green finish. B / $17
2015 Château Gigault Cuvée Viva Blaye Côtes de Bordeaux – A standout in this collection, soulful and chewy, with notes of licorice, tobacco, and leather, with dried berries and cherries lingering around the outside. Quite dry and austere, this feels like the rare wine in this lineup that could benefit from some time in bottle, though today it’s a surprisingly food-friendly offering that speaks directly of the earth from which it came. A- / $18
2015 Château de Fontenille Cadillac Côtes de Bordeaux – Fairly typical of this lineup, with a boldly earthy, almost gritty quality. Notes of cloves, coffee, and black tea give it a bit of a lift, and more to grab onto the blackberry-heavy palate, though the finish is a bit on the green side. B+ / $14