Bordeaux is such a vast and intimidating wine region that it’s hard to know where to begin to find good, affordable wines you can count on year after year. Wines at the rarefied upper end, from such storied “first-growth” properties as Lafite, Mouton, and Latour — take up a lot of the Bordeaux oxygen, and are prohibitively expensive for most of us. On the other side of the spectrum, the so-called “petit chateaux,” relatively affordable wines from smaller, lesser-known estates, can be great finds — but they’re a hit-or-miss proposition.
One Bordeaux that consistently delivers is Château Larose-Trintaudon’s Haut-Médoc, and the 2015 vintage is drinking beautifully right now. Larose-Trintaudon’s 2015 Haut-Médoc is a classic blend of 45 percent Cabernet Sauvignon, 48 percent Merlot, and 7 percent Petit Verdot. Smooth and elegant with just the right tannic grip and oak influence, the wine drinks like a more expensive Bordeaux, with notes of blackcurrant, thyme, and touches of green olive and mocha. When I tasted it again the day after opening it, the fruit notes had emerged even more, which suggests that the wine will benefit from decanting for an hour before you serve it. Try pairing it with anything from roast chicken and lamb, to burgers and cheeses.
Larose-Trintaudon is a large property in the Haut-Médoc appellation on the Left Bank of the Gironde estuary, where Cabernet Sauvignon thrives in the predominantly gravel soils. Larose-Trintaudon likes to point out that its 440 acres of vineyards are next to the small and more prestigious appellations of Pauillac and Saint-Julien, whose wines are far more expensive. Widely available at an average price of $23, Larose-Trintaudon’s 2015 Haut-Médoc is a relative bargain, and a great-value Bordeaux.