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Bodacious Bordeaux

Sept. 6, 2008 – Bodacious and Bordeaux: Two words you don't often find used together! In my mind there are few words that work as well together to describe the unique wine that is Bordeaux.
Bordeaux wine classifications are probably the most stringent government regulatory rules in place anywhere in the world governing what a wine can call itself. History was made when at the 1855 Exposition Universelle de Paris, Emperor Napoleon III requested a classification system for France's best Bordeaux wines, which were to be on display for visitors from around the world. Brokers from the wine industry ranked the wines according to a château's reputation and trading price, which at that time was directly related to quality. The result was the Bordeaux Wine Official Classification of 1855. The wines were ranked in importance from first to fifth growths (crus). All of the red wines that made it on the list came from the Médoc region except for one: Château Haut-Brion from Graves.
First Growths (Premiers or 1er Crus)
§ Château Lafite Rothschild, Commune de Pauillac, Haut-Médoc
§ Château Latour, Commune de Pauillac, Haut-Médoc
§ Château Margaux, Commune de Margaux
§ Château Haut-Brion, Commune de Pessac, Graves
§ Château Mouton Rothschild, Commune de Pauillac, Haut-Médoc (reclassified from Second Growth status in 1973)

The experts say that these wines are the top of the top, the best that the world has to offer, and if you want them you have to have the bankroll to allow you the pleasure of buying a bottle or a case, and they are worth the money! Current vintages of these wines will set you back between $700 and $1,200 a bottle
if you can find them…. I agree wholeheartedly that these wines are the greatest, but honestly there are great Bordeaux wines out there at much less.
There are over 7,000 vineyards in the Bordeaux region, and you can be sure some of them make wines on a par with the great first growths. Many winemakers have small vineyards passed down through generations, and have very limited production. They do not produce enough to export to the great wine-buying markets of the world that require thousands of cases per year, but they do produce enough for small importers such as ourselves to buy. (Often limiting our purchases to much less than we would like). These are the "secrets" of Bordeaux. You don't just go and find these growers and producers; they have vague addresses that sometimes take days to track down. If they do have signs (many don't) they are so small you drive by them three times before you spy a small, faded, hand-drawn sign on a piece of wood no larger than the top of a shoebox.
I am fortunate to have many friends in the Bordeaux region of France, both consumers and producers, who help me find elusive winemakers. Sometimes, having a meal in a small regional restaurant and asking the chef/owner for a great regional wine, is how wonderful wine producers are discovered. This is the way my business has evolved. I seek out the small, family owned producers, avoiding the large corporate-owned wine producers, who are more interested in production quantities than in maintaining the family tradition of making great wines at reasonable prices.
Our Bordeaux collection is a good reflection of the Bordeaux wines I have found ranging in price from under $10 to $88. There are some great Bordeaux red wines from $18 to $25. From there up, you will find superior Bordeaux wines such as Margaux, Pommrol, Pessac Leognan and St. Emillion, for well under $90 a bottle.
Go to WWW.VIWINEWHOLESALE.COM; click on the Red Wine Tab, then the Bordeaux list. I would love to hear back from my readers with comments or questions. Please e-mail me at: frank@viwinewholesale.com or check out our Web site, where you will find our current selection. There are more being added in June, so keep checking back.
I am still looking for two wonderful Bordeax wines that I have tried and love, but have remained elusive. Fear not! I will find them! And…I am always on the lookout for more.

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