Bordeaux is king. It rules the world of wine, and protects a sacred tradition that most wines of the world use as a benchmark for excellence. However, most who drink Bordeaux look to the vineyards of Pauillac and the Médoc to find rich investment-worthy bottles for long-term cellaring and showman appeal. All around the world, the first-growths set the standard for price structure and dictate the quality of a vintage. Some may look to the Right Bank for the famed Pétrus and Cheval Blanc bottlings. Others enjoy the lesser known regions of Graves to the south, and its real value lies in Pessac.
In the year 2009, Bordeaux experienced what has been called “picture-perfect growing conditions,” the likes of which the region has not seen since 1982. As said by the famous Christian Moueix, “I’ve had two vintages in 42 years where I didn’t worry from A to Z. They were 1982 and 2009. The difference is that in ’82 we didn’t really have the control of yields yet in the vineyards.” Moueix owns acreage in some of the Right Bank’s most revered estates (Trotanoy, La Fleur-Pétrus, Bélair-Montage). He continues by saying “for sure the ’09’s will will age for a very long time, but what is unusual is that I am enjoying them now so young.” It is for this very reason, that we highlight a wine of elite quality, that represents everything we enjoy about fine Bordeaux in its youth.
Bordeaux has an ever evolving lifespan which makes it a very lucrative commodity in the wine world. The wine improves with age, and can be valued as high as many homes in the midwest United States. And then there is Château Brown. A hidden Goliath among its Pessac-Léognan peers. While not a classified growth, the Graves classification is not set in stone. Château Brown could very well be next in line for promotion, alongside Haut-Bergey, La Louvière, and other neighboring châteaux in the region.
The outstanding Château Brown 2009 is a wine packed with pleasant minerality, blackcurrant, tobacco and vanilla cedar notes, with a sophisticated multi-layered structure and a long finish that doesn’t fade. It has weight and muscle. It has richness and complexity. The only thing it doesn’t have, a Bordeaux price-tag. At $35, it’s a bottle you can’t live without. This blend saw a touch more Merlot than usual at 56%, married with 40% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 4% Petit Verdot. The gravelly and clay limestone in the vineyards give this wine its mineral quality. French oak barrels put the final touches on its 12-15 month maturation before bottling. Pair this with an Entrecôte or a Duck Cassoulet, or something that carries good weight to balance the richness of the wine. Open it now, or store it for 10-15 years, but at $35, it’s something you should experience as soon as possible. –JT
CHÂTEAU BROWN, Pessac-Léognan 2009
Related scores: WS: 92, WE: 92
Market price: $39-$44 http://www.kdwine.com
Decanting time: none needed
Glassware: Riedel Vinum Cabernet/Merlot/Bordeaux Glass
Food pairing (video): Châteaubriand (by Jacques Pépin and Julia Child)