Sunday, August 19, 2007

2003 Chateau Joanin Becot

Wine: Ch. Joanin Becot
Appellation: Cotes De Castillon, Bordeaux
Winemaker: Sophie Porquet and Jean-Philippe Fort
Estimated Cost: $23

A few weeks ago I received an email from a reader named Chip which read, "Gee, Brad. Those wines sound great, but what about wines for cheap-asses like me?" Well, Chip... here is a great wine for a cheap-ass like you. Chateau Joanin Becot is located in Cotes de Castillon, which is an up and coming, but not widely known region of Bordeaux. Cotes de Castillon was not included in the Bordeaux Classification of 1855. In fact, it was not even a recognized Appellation d'Origine Contrôlée until 1989. Situated in the Right Bank just east of St. Emilion, Cotes de Castillion has become a hot spot for young, talented, entrepreneurial winemakers hoping to start their own labels. Real estate prices in the Medoc are cost prohibitive for such ventures partly due to the increasing trend of large corporations gobbling up established chateaux.

Merlot and Cabernet Franc are the most common varietals grown in Cotes de Castillon, but Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec and Petite Verdot are grown there as well. The wines vary in quality, but the good ones are often great values as they are much less expensive than wines of similar quality from other regions. The 2003 Joanin Becot is a fine example of the value to which I am referring. I love throwing this wine into the mix during blind tastings because it is guaranteed to pick off a few wines two and three times its price. Okay... I will admit the "Miracle on Ice" reference is a bit of a stretch, but this is still a damn good bottle of wine for under twenty-five bucks!

Tasting Notes: Dark, inky purple to the rim. Medium body, lots of ripe fruit with notes of plum, blueberry, blackberry and vanilla. 75% Merlot and 25% Cabernet Franc. Very nice structure suggesting this wine will improve with a little bit of age. Oak and tannins present, but integrated. Although very showy, opulent and hard to resist now, this wine should be a real beauty with just a few more years in the cellar. It is imperative to decant this wine a few hours before consumption. 91 points. Find it

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