© Copyright 1998 by Robin Garr. All rights reserved.
One of my tactics in the effort to beat the system has always been to turn from the usual suspects of the Medoc and St.-Emilion to the less "desirable" districts, where values remain to be found if you pick and choose. One of my favorites for this quest is the Cotes du Bourg, a region that lies just across the Gironde River from the Medoc, and a little way downstream from St.-Emilion.
Over the past few days, I've sampled a decent, affordable Cotes du Bourg, and to make things more interesting, followed it up with Cabernet Sauvignons or Cabernet-Merlot blends from three other countries -- Argentina, the United States and Australia -- all placed a bit above the bargain basement range but still relatively affordable at $10 to $15.
I wouldn't call this a "shootout," since it wasn't done in a "blind" setting and the wines were served over several days rather than together. But it was still an interesting way to focus on the variations that locale and wine making variations can work on similar grapes.
And when all was said and done, I think I liked the Cotes du Bourg best.
Château Monichot 1995 Cotes du Bourg ($12.99)
FOOD MATCH: Pan-grilled strip steaks.
Navarro Correas 1992 Mendoza (Argentina) Cabernet Sauvignon "Coleccion Privada" ($10.99)
FOOD MATCH: Surprisingly well matched with an Egyptian style dish of chicken cooked in a sauce of tomatoes and chickpeas.
Gallo Sonoma 1994 Barrelli Creek Vineyard Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon (winery sample, $18 suggested retail)
FOOD MATCH: Roast leg of lamb makes a good match with the uppity fruit.
Hardy's 1993 Coonawarra (Australia) Cabernet Sauvignon ($13.99)
FOOD MATCH: Good quaff with Kentucky Derby buffet fare including ham and cheeses.
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