Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Bordeaux Bargains: 2003 Chateau Greysac

By guest contributor Adam L. Sisitsky

Forgive me lest I sound the snob but I really enjoy a good Bordeaux. Whether it's a Quatrieme Cru from Saint-Julien or a Bordeaux Superieur from the Medoc, there really is something to be said for the notion of terroir and the chance to enjoy the depth and complexity of a wine beyond just "the fruit." Don't get me wrong: if you can't appreciate the flavor and aroma of an explosive, jammy Australian Shiraz (see Mike's prior post on the recent Mollydooker wines which are just tremendous) then there must be something wrong with you. But (forgive the analogy) as much as I like the action and entertainment of a flashy Tom Cruise movie, or the zippy, make-you-cringe humor of the next Will Ferrell film, there is something special about the cinematic experience of a Roberto Begnini picture (or whatever the latest sub-titled art-house film that gives you something to think about). Thus the beauty of Bordeaux. The good ones give you something to think about. Of course, there is always the issue of cost. And as much as I don't think Napoleon III was giving much thought to "marketing" when he tasked the various French wine regions with coming up with classifications for their wines back in 1855, that certainly has been one of the profitable after-effects realized by the old Châteaux Bordelais. When you start ranking things that people buy - whatever those things may be - the higher ranked ones generally end up costing more. Whether it is justified or not.

That's why as much as I enjoy a good Bordeaux, I especially enjoy a good value Bordeaux. Let's face it, unless you run with the Hedge Fund Crowd that my buddy Mike usually hangs with (simple country lawyer, my ass!) most of the truly special Bordeaux wines are out-of-reach cost-wise, or at the very least reserved for that rare special occasion when one can somehow rationalize dropping a few-hundred dollars on a 750ml glass bottle filled with a blend of fermented grape juice.

The 2003 Chateau Greysac is precisely the type of good value Bordeaux that I love to find. I'll admit to being a Parker fan (even more so since he signed Bordeaux aficionado Neal Martin to his team this year), and although I try to follow his tasting notes more than the actual scores, I think it is significant that Parker gave this vintage an 88 -- the highest score he's ever given a Greysac.

Located in the Medoc region of Bordeaux, Chateau Greysac lies to the north of Saint Estephe, near the towns of By and Begadan. Its vineyards are comprised of about 50% Cabernet Sauvignon, 38% Merlot, 10% Cabernet Franc, and 2% Petit Verdot. The average age of the vines is 30 years. Classified as a "Cru Bourgeois" since 1978, Greysac produces approximately 45,000 cases per year. With a new ownership group that came in 1973, the Chateau has since made great strides in updating and renovating its facilities and has brought in a series of renowned wine-making consultants to assist with improvements.

While I agree with Parker's assessment that the 2003 is a tasty "medium-bodied" wine (albeit a deep, ruby-hued one), I find it to be more on the "fuller" side of "medium." The cherry/berry flavors jump out for sure, but there is definitely enough tannin, smoke and texture to let you know where this wine comes from. There is Bordeaux terroir to this wine for sure (along with a nice textured finish). And at about $14 ($13.95 at www.capitalwine.net) it is priced at a point that I can open a bottle on a week-night and not feel guilty about it. Well, regardless of guilt, at least I can truthfully tell my wife how much I paid for it without provoking one of "those looks." In sum, if you're looking for a Bordeaux that won't make you recoil when the credit-card statement arrives, but that still captures the taste, flavor and feel of what one comes to expect from this special part of France, give this wine a try.


Anonymous said...

A google search for this wine returned your review and I must second the assessment of this treasure. Tried it with dinner a couple of nights ago and was impressed with how smooth those delicious berry essences went down. Unbelievable value!

Georgia said...

I recently purchased this wine out of curiousity as I've never had a Medoc wine only to find it is a wonderful wine! Such a great hearty wine with fruity undertones. The aftertaste is well balanced and not overpowering. A great find!

Anonymous said...

I found a bottle of 2003 Chateau Greysac last year in Utah and went back to fetch the rest of the stock to find out it was gone everywhere in the state. A few days ago, I found 1 bottle at the liquor store and drank it that night--had to make sure if was truely the bottle I remember from a year ago. I found out they had a stock of 25 of them at 1 store and I bought them all. Very good bottle of wine for $18 and will enjoy them for.........well....who knows how often I will be drinking them.

art predator said...

i just picked up a bottle of the 2001 for $14 and am trying to decide how many i should try and buy...

thanks for the post

gilbert said...

What a great wine at this price and found a couple of bottles this week locally. Tonight it found it's way to my taste buds....YES !

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