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Wine of the Week

Brilliant Bargain Bordeaux

The Union des Grands Crus de Bordeaux—an association of top Bordeaux producers, though not the First Growths—held its annual U.S. road show recently. Tempted by the chance to sample the 2007 offerings from what is still the world's most important wine region, I put aside my dislike of walk-around tastings and sallied forth, sticky notebook in one sticky hand, sticky pen in the other.

My overall impressions confirmed the conventional wisdom about the vintage—namely, that a wet summer resulted in an extremely mixed bag of wines, some that will make for pleasant early drinking and some that should be avoided at all costs. There were no great wines, but the opportunistic, value-oriented drinker will find some very pleasant bargains.

One is the Chateau Beaumont 2007 at an astounding $15 a bottle. This an area where Bordeaux has suffered much in recent years—the inability to produce pleasing wine at a modest price from lesser appellations—but Beaumont has excelled brilliantly.

It is a lovely bright scarlet color with soft, round tannins and brimming with refreshing acidity of red-berry summer fruits: I am thinking strawberries and dark cherries. It's hardly a typical Bordeaux, but that doesn't matter—it's the perfect everyday house wine, and restaurants will make a fortune pouring it by the glass.

Next week I will be featuring a more upscale and serious winner from the same tasting.

To find this wine, try

When to Drink: Now, and for the next five years

Breathing/Decanting: Half an hour's breathing is very helpful

Food Pairing: Lighter red wine dishes, such as pasta, charcuterie, and pork

Grapes: 60% cabernet sauvignon, 33% merlot, 4% cabernet franc, 3% petit verdot

Appellation: Haut-Médoc

Region: Bordeaux

Country: France

Price: $15

Availability: Good

Web Site:

Nick Passmore is an independent wine writer and consultant based in New York. For five years he contributed a widely read monthly wine column to, in addition to which his work has appeared in such publications as Forbes, Discover, Town & Country, the Robb Report, Wine Enthusiast, Saveur, Sky, and Golf Connoisseur. He is currently artisanal editor for Four Seasons magazine and contributes a twice monthly column to He is also a judge at the annual Critics’ Challenge wine competition.

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