King of Cabernet

King of Cabernet

It’s not hyperbole to say that Pauillac is home to some of the greatest expressions of Cabernet Sauvignon in Bordeaux. With the likes of Châteaus Mouton Rothschild, Latour and Lafite Rothschild producing highly rated, stellar classed growths, rich with black currant flavors, juicy acidity and firm tannins, it’s not surprising that these wines are expensive collectibles that put big dents in your wallet.

But there’s no reason to fret. There are other producers offering quality wines that demand aging, pair perfectly with food and sell at affordable prices. Some of these wines are classed growths, while others are made with the same care: low yields, strict grape selection along with some new-wood aging.

The 2008 vintage, now available in the U.S., is one you can drink in two to three years, or keep for slightly longer, but at these prices, you won’t want to. Here are our top picks for Cabs to purchase now:

92 Château Fonbadet 2008 Pauillac
Fonbadet is one of the few chateaus that are not classed growths on the heartland vineyards of Pauillac. It has a strong proportion of Cabernet Sauvignon, giving the wine a strength of tannins and intense black currant flavors. With its firm tannins, it will age for many years. Republic National Distributing.
abv: 13%    Price: $37

91 Château Grand-Puy-Ducasse 2008 Pauillac
Big, impressive wine, packed with sweet tannins and black plum fruits. Smoky wood lurks in the background, while acidity tops it off attractively. Millésima USA.
abv: N/A    Price: $44

91 Château Batailley 2008 Pauillac
One of the undiscovered treats of Pauillac, Batailley has produced a 2008 that shows richness, fresh acidity and delicious black currant fruits. For medium-term aging. Wally’s Wine & Spirits.
abv: N/A    Price: $48

91 Château Béhèré Courtin 2008 Pauillac
The small Pauillac vineyard close to some of the first growths is able to bring out all the Cabernet-dominated structure of the appellation. Look for black currant fruits, dark tannins and dense texture. Age for six years. Serge Doré Selections.
abv: 12%    Price: $68

90 Château Pibran 2008 Pauillac
A rounded wine, surprisingly soft for a Pauillac. The tannins are ripe, with chocolate and sweet black currant fruit flavors along with spice and some toast. Frederick Wildman & Sons.
abv: N/A    Price: $32

89 Château Haut Bages Libéral 2008 Pauillac
Dark in style, as is often the case here, with a hard, tough edge. It is austere, the fruit a mere hint in the background. It does have potential, although this will come slowly. Spec’s Wines and Spirits.
abv: N/A    Price: N/A

88 Château Lynch-Moussas Pauillac
A juicy wine, showing attractive fruit and black currant acidity that gives the wine a lift. Maybe not hugely concentrated, but a good bargain from Pauillac. Millésima USA.
abv: N/A    Price: N/A

Published on February 1, 2012