On April 26, 2010, Robert Parker dropped a bomb of a vintage report. His now-famous “Once Upon a Time” feature called 2009 “the finest vintage I have tasted in 32 years of covering Bordeaux.” Comparing the 2009 crop to four of the most extraordinary vintages of the last 120 years (1899, 1929, 1949, 1959), the most influential wine critic of our age declared: “the peaks in quality in 2009 may turn out to be historic.”
A little less than two months later, Bloomberg News published a headline: “Bordeaux 2009 Futures Sell 700 Cases, Freeze Computer.” Retailers were snapping up cases from the vintage so fast — hundreds by the hour — it was literally frying their ordering systems. Just as Parker had predicted, unprecedented interest from the Asian market had escalated demand and prices to heights never seen before, inciting bidding wars seemingly unaffected by sticker shock or Europe’s severe austerity climate. To this day, prices for top-rated wines from the vintage remain suspended in the stratosphere.
If you were a venture capitalist with a generous budget set aside for First Growths or a Hong Kong billionaire able to lock into a few bottles of the 100-point Pontet-Canet, Léoville-Poyferré, or Smith Haut Lafitte, we salute you and your stash of wines of almost indescribable olfactory complexity.
But if you were one of the avid collectors who have filled our inboxes with bargain requests, asking us to seek out perfectly stored, highly-rated, affordable Bordeaux: We heard you. And, after many months of knocking on cellar doors and squeezing our best suppliers, we finally struck gold.
While nearly all of the voluptuous 2009s from Bordeaux’s Right and Left Banks have long disappeared, a few remain — from a bargain-hunting perspective, none more jaw-dropping than the plush 2009 Château Côte de Baleau.
A stone’s throw from the medieval St-Émilion village, the ancient Château Côte de Baleau estate dates back to 1643. The 40-year-old vines threaded through the limestone-and-sand soil are primarily planted to Merlot with smaller amounts of Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon. In charge of the winemaking process and blending is none other than Michel Rolland, whose work at top Bordeaux wineries like premier Grand Cru estates Château Pavie and Château Troplong Mondot — not to mention Napa’s Harlan Estate — have made him the most famous winemaker in the world.
In most vintages, we’ve found Côte de Baleau to be an elegant, medium-bodied crowd-pleaser. But the superb 2009 Château Côte de Baleau, like so many other Grand Crus of the vintage, is a St-Émilion of another class.
Bright ruby to the rim, infused with delicate aromas of violets, blueberries and raspberry. Broad, full-bodied and fleshy, with a lush, succulent core of black cherry and crushed red fruit, braced by silky, ultra-refined tannins.
James Suckling, praising its full body and superb tannins, let loose with a rave 93-point review, making this without a doubt the highest-scoring, best-value 2009 St-Émilion Grand Cru on the market. We don’t get this excited very often. We’re offering a taste of potentially one of the greatest vintages of a lifetime at just $29—a deal you’ll not soon see again. Shipping included on 6. 600 bottles.
Excellent wine, great find, a real Saint-Emilion sleeper. Needs a good 45 min before tasting. Kudos to WA for landing this one !!
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