From €21.40, 21.40 Swiss francs, $26.99, HK$650 and 5,700 roubles a magnum, £249 a dozen
Bordeaux may not be top of all wine lovers' pops at the moment but below the level of the most sought-after second growths there is still many a bargain to be had, as I pointed out in Tesco strikes back in supermarket wine wars. This is the time to take advantage of all those delicious wines made in 2009 and 2010, and to my mind, the best crus bourgeois offer some of the best value of all. See our detailed tasting articles on 2009 crus bourgeois and 2010 crus bourgeois.
Because 2009s were so lusciously ripe and 2010s perceptibly more structured and 'classic', many of us thought that the 2010s might be a bit stand-offish in youth but those I have tasted recently (admittedly below second growth level) have been charming already. I came across this cru bourgeois grown just across the railway line inland from the commune of Soussans south of Margaux when choosing wines from the selection of Bibendum Fine Wine for a charity wine tasting on Wednesday. This is the fine wine offshoot of Bibendum, a company that is now concentrating on supplying retailers and restaurants rather than individuals. Run by Simon Farr and Ben Collins, the new offshoot is about to move from the Bibendum HQ in Regent's Park Road to Knightsbridge, and about to change its name to Cru.
Ben Collins had apparently encountered the Paveil de Luze 2010 as a house red at some (surely rather grand) golf club he had gone to in France. I've tasted two or three different bottles of it in the last week or two and I love it. I was quite impressed when I tasted it en primeur in 2011 but it was much tighter then. Julia loved it when she tasted it with all the other 2010 crus bourgeois in 2012. I like it especially because, with its seductive perfume, it is very Margaux. It has the intensity, class and balance of the 2010 vintage in bordeaux, but its tannins are already quite soft and it can be enjoyed already. In fact, although it probably won't keel over for at least 10 years, it is already such a pleasure to drink that I think I would choose to drink it during the rest of this decade.
It is by no means the only 2010 bordeaux bargain (UK claret lovers may like to scrutinise that current Tesco offer) but it has very much more stuffing than most 2010 petits châteaux, and it looks good too. The blend is 70% Cabernet Sauvignon with the rest Merlot and according to the label it is 14% alcohol – pretty elevated for a red bordeaux. The current incumbent at Paveil de Luze, Frédéric de Luze, is both president of the Alliance des Crus Bourgeois and a speaker at the forthcoming DWCC event in Montreux – an interesting combination. And, perhaps crucially, this is the first vintage for which consultant Stéphane Derenoncourt, Mister Softee himself, has lent a hand. Our picture shows the image of him on Paveil de Luze's informative website.
According to winesearcher.com this wine is wonderfully easy to find, with dozens of listings in the US, Netherlands, Belgium, France, Switzerland, Germany, the Czech Republic, Russia and Hong Kong. In the UK it seems to be available only by the case from Fine & Rare, Goedhuis, and Bibendum Fine Wine/Cru who are offering it, by the case including VAT, at £249 for 12 75cl bottles, £264.72 for six magnums (good for generous hosts) and £129.84 for a double magnum (place your bets on the cork industry). They can be contacted at email@example.com, 020 7449 4120.
But, be warned. Winesearcher shows up quite a wide variation in pricing of this luscious wine, especially among the 22 listed US retailers of it – from $26.99 to $46.99 a bottle.