2010 Château Bernadotte, Haut Médoc, $49
Winery info: From the Haut-Médoc region of Bordeaux, the higher, southern part of the Médoc on the left bank of the Gironde estuary. The estate was known as Château Fournas until 1997 when it was purchased by Madame de Lencquesaing (who also owned the Pauilliac estate, Pichon-Longueville-Comtesse-de-Lalande). She oversaw a complete renovation of the château and helped take the estate to new heights.
Grapes: A 50/50 blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot
Vineyard: Château Bernadotte’s vineyards are located on fine, gravelly soil with some sand and clay.
Flavor Profile: Medium- to full-bodied, with elegant flavors of dark fruit (blackberry and currants) and nice toasty earthy notes. The tannins are firm, but mellow, and it has fresh, balancing acidity.
Availability: This vintage is gone.
Drinkability: You could drink this one now or cellar it up to 2025.
Food Pairing: Hearty meat dishes, such as steak, brisket, pot roast, braised lamb, or smoked duck.
2015 François Chidaine, Montlouis, “Les Bournais” Chenin Blanc Sec, $45
Winery info: Montlouis is a white wine appellation in the Touraine district of France’s Loire Valley, across the river from Vouvray. As in Vouvray, the wines are produced exclusively from Chenin Blanc. Both regions have a base of chalky tuffeau soil, but the topsoil in Montlouis tends to be lighter and sandier, producing lean, crisp wines with excellent minerality. François Chidaine is one of the leading producers here. He farms his 40- to 80-year-old vines biodynamically
Grapes: 100% Chenin Blanc, fermented with native yeasts in 600-liter demi-muids. It doesn’t go through malolactic fermentation, but does rest on the lees up to 11 months.
Vineyard: Les Bournais, a once-abandoned site overlooking the Loire River, which Chidaine planted in 1999 believing it to be the best site in Montlouis. It is unusual for the area in that it has clay and limestone soils (the name Bournais refers to the particular type of limestone found there).
Flavor Profile: Rich, complex, and full-bodied, with elegant notes of white fruit and balancing freshness and minerality. A wine of great character and finesse.
Availability: This vintage is almost gone.
Drinkability: Beautiful now or it could age up to 2022
Food Pairing: Perfect for prawns or white fish, baked or poached with mushrooms in a Béarnaise or Hollandaise sauce.