Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Beginning, Budget Steps into the World of Bordeaux

Just before the holidays, I received my very first EVER shipment of Bordeaux wines. I ordered them over a year ago from K&L Wines in the San Francisco area. The box included three bottles of the 2003 Chateau Cantemerle ($20.99, K & L Wines) and three of the 2003 Chateau Sigalas Rabaud Sauternes ($16.99, K & L Wines).

See, you're not on the wrong blog.

Over the next few weeks, I'm going to share my new adventure into the world of Bordeaux futures, pre-arrivals, ordering, and cellaring. I'm almost a complete newbie--I've had a few Bordeaux wines and did not cellar them myself--so I'm hoping for lots of feedback, suggestions, and commentary from readers and bloggers who know more than I do! And from those like me who are new to this, I hope you will post questions and reactions to these stories, too. This will give us all a way to get through the short winter days and the long winter evenings.

Throughout the posts, I will be linking up to some of the fabulous resources on the web provided by fellow bloggers, podcasters, and other wine writers. I don't think I would have taken the plunge into Bordeaux without this online community.

I'd like to prove this winter that you don't have to be a millionaire, have a 250+ bottle refrigerated wine cellar, or know everything about Bordeaux in order to have fun, learn something, and drink some pretty enjoyable wine. Indeed, I want to demonstrate that those of us in the mostly under $20 crowd can and should be buying Bordeaux futures because it makes sound financial sense. And then there's the wine!! But you do have to go into it with your eyes open.

Here are the questions I think it's important to ask yourself before you get into the business of buying dozens of bottles of Bordeaux:

1. Have you ever had a Bordeaux or another cool weather example of a cabernet sauvignon or merlot? Did you like it?
2. Do you like wines that exhibit the classic varietal characteristics of cabernet sauvignon and merlot? How about sauvignon blanc and semillon? I mean, do you really like the varietal characteristics of these wines?
3. Do you have a place to store 36 bottles (3 cases) of wine for the next 5-10 years that is dark and has a stable cool temperature between 55 and 60 F?
4. Do you have or are you willing to develop a relationship with a trusted and reputable wine dealer knowledgeable about Bordeaux?
5. Do you enjoy geography?
6. Do you like research?
7. Are you patient?

If you answered "no" to any of these questions, you probably aren't ready yet to start buying Bordeaux futures. That doesn't mean you can't buy Bordeaux, drink it, and enjoy it--but you may not want to make the investment of time and resources needed to start buying with an eye to what you will be drinking in 2012.

If you answered "yes" to all of these questions, then you are ready to buy Bordeaux. I'm going to take each question in turn, and talk about the wines, varietals, storage requirements, shopping, shipping, appellations, investigation, and waiting that go into enjoying the world of Bordeaux wines.

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