Enjoy Affordable Left Bank Bordeaux With Your Steak

Bordeaux is Expensive, Right?
Many wine drinkers know that top Bordeaux wines are expensive. In 1855 Napoleon asked wine regions to classify their top wines. Bordeaux selected their Grand Cru Classé wines, with 5 wineries named to Premier Grand Cru Classé. These were the most famous and expensive wines of their day. Château Lafite Rothschild was one of those five wineries. You can purchase a bottle of the current vintage (2015) Château Lafite Rothschild, you’ll just need to bring about $750 in your wallet. For one 750ml bottle, not a magnum, just a normal bottle. Too much for a Saturday night steak? Yeah, me too.

(click on any photo for full size slide show, hit escape to return to the post)

Luckily for us normal wine drinkers, Château Lafite Rothschild makes more that just their top wine. They draw from young vines, from lesser sections of their vineyards, and also from some local grape growers in the district to make a series of much more affordable wines. Les Domaines Barons de Rothschild (Lafite) Légende Collection is that affordable collection of wines. These wines don’t receive 100% of the treatment the flagship wine, but they also don’t need years of aging to be approachable. They’re made for immediate enjoyment.

Disclosure: I received these wines as samples. No other compensation was provided, all opinions expressed are mine.

The grapes for the Légende Pauillac come from the same community as Château Lafite Rothschild’s flagship wine.

Les Domaines Barons de Rothschild (Lafite) Pauillac AOC “Legende” 2015 (sample, $50 SRP or online here)
70% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot. Part estate and part purchased grapes from the village of Pauillac. 40% of the wine is aged 6-9 months in oak.
Eye: Very slightly hazy, medium ruby with a cool ruby edge. Barely stained legs.
Nose: Clean, medium+ intensity. Blackberries and cassis, vanilla, caramel, violets and a bit of musk.
Mouth: Dry, medium+ intensity flavor. Medium+ acidity, medium tannins, though they are fine grained already. Medium body, medium alcohol and nice medium-soft texture. Friendly and ready to drink now, although it will hold for several years. Not really meant for aging, this wine is ready to go.

From the winery:

Légende Pauillac 2015 – $49.99 – Pair Cuddling!
Varieties: 70% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot
A major appellation in the Médoc, Pauillac benefits from exceptional terroir characterized by gravelly hilltops on a clay subsoil which ensures natural drainage and encourages the vines to develop deep roots – these are the perfect conditions for Cabernet Sauvignon. Pauillac is partly made from grapes grown in Domaines Barons de Rothschild (Lafite)’s own vineyards and the wines are made with the same attention to detail as the Grand Vin. Their structure is less concentrated than their prestigious elders, allowing them to age quickly, and after just a few months in bottle; they offer an original, unique style, with the fullness and complexity for which the appellation is renowned. A powerful, structured wine, with well-integrated tannins and a long aromatic black pepper, licorice finish.

Even More Affordable: Légende Médoc
If $50 is above your “affordable” price point, don’t despair. By going outside Pauillac, to the surrounding Médoc region, still on the Left Bank in Bordeaux, you can still get a Château Lafite Rothschild collection wine.

The Médoc wine comes from grapes in the region around, but not in the community of Pauillac.

Les Domaines Barons de Rothschild (Lafite) Médoc AOC “Légende” 2016 (sample, $25 SRP or online here)
65% Cabernet Sauvignon 35% Merlot 13.5% abv
Eye: Clear, deep ruby with a cool ruby edge. Lightly stained legs.
Nose: Clean, medium intensity. Blackberries, tobacco and leather.
Mouth: Dry, medium intensity flavors. Medium acidity, medium tannins. Medium body, medium alcohol. Flavors of ripe but fresh blackberries, a bit of earth and a nice medium length finish. Very enjoyable, and excellent with some small farm cheddar from Iowa. The most noticeable difference between the Médoc and the Pauillac was a bit less oak influence in the Médoc wine.  I appreciate a light hand with oak, so I thought the Médoc represented a particularly good value for my personal preference.

From the winery:

“The rich patchwork of châteaux in the Médoc produces ruby-coloured, well-rounded wines that are a fine accompaniment to many dishes. The Collection’s Médoc benefits from the same care as a Grand Vin: rigorous selection, extreme precision in the winery, with meticulous specifications, reduced yields, impeccable ripeness and purity of fruit, and traditional maturing. The star of the Médoc, Cabernet Sauvignon is given excellent expression and can be appreciated for its natural characteristics by lovers of Bordeaux’s wines. 3 to 9 months in vats, 50% with oak.”



4 Responses to “Enjoy Affordable Left Bank Bordeaux With Your Steak”
  1. spisark says:

    Excellent idea to bring these wines to the attention of your readers. I have been thinking of doing a post on the “second” wines of all the 1st Growth Bordeaux. Perhaps 2016 will be the vintage to get that done. Great photos on your post!

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