2004 Chateau Haut-Maurac Medoc

Chateau Haut-Maurac Medoc In the intro to his chapter on Bordeaux in The WineAccess Buyer's Guide, Steve Tanzer explains that the region is "in a state of crisis" today, largely owing to the fact that a huge number of wine enthusiasts now chase the same handful of bottles (think Petrus, Cheval Blanc, Latour), driving up the cost of those few wines while leaving many smaller chateaux in a struggle to sell their wines at a profit.

As the saying goes, one man's crisis is another's opportunity--and for the past ten years, Olivier Decelle has made a reputation for himself due to his knack for spotting such opportunities. First, he restored the Roussillon estate Mas Amiel to its former glory. Then Decelle set his sights on Bordeaux: He outbid the owners of Petrus for Chateau Jean Faure in 2004, and his first vintage from that St. Emilion estate is already creating a stir among Right Bank producers.

Map of St. Yzans de MedocChateau Haut Maurac in the commune of St. Yzans de Medoc is another gem in Decelle's crown. He's teamed up with international winemaking superstar Michel Rolland, and together they've set about raising the profile of this small estate by producing top-quality--but affordably priced--wines.

Decelle knows from experience that they way to improve Haut Maurac's wine means starting in the vineyard. Using proven crop-thinning and sustainable-farming techniques, Decelle has reduced Haut Mauroc's yields--and harvested better fruit. When you visit the vineyards year after year, it's amazing to see just how quickly this extra effort pays off.

The 2004 Chateau Haut Maurac Haut Medoc is ruby red to the edge, with ripe, pretty black and red fruit on the nose. Beautifully balanced with a fine backbone. Drink now-2010.