I have always told my classes that in highly-touted Bordeaux vintages, such as 2000, 2005 and now 2009, often times the best place to look for top quality wines at modest prices is in the lesser properties, or second labels of classified wines. Bordeaux has become such an expensive commodity that finding affordable, classified wines is no longer an option for most buyers. This is especially true in recent vintages. So, when a wine like the Costes du Château Féret-Lambert shows up, I take notice.
I tasted this wine as a part of the selection process for redeveloping the Harvard Faculty Club wine list and the wine is, in a word: stupendous. At an average retail somewhere around $15.00, this wine is off the charts. Primarily Merlot (90%), as you would expect from the AOC, the property states soil types of clay, limestone and fossilized coral, which certainly comes through on the palate. Moderate oak aging and progressive wine making techniques have combined to produce a real star.
My tasting note:
Lush, black currant nose with jammy, mineral and cedar hints. Medium-to-full-bodied with moderate acidity and firm, structured tannin – great balance. Dark fruit core with black cherry, bittersweet chocolate and tar notes. Wow! Moderate length with a super smooth finish. Drinking well now and should continue to improve in bottle for another 5 to 7 years, perhaps more. Simply a superb value.
So my advice – although 40,000 cases were made, I would run to my local purveyor and take home at least a case. Cheers!