After seriously getting into wine, I found I began collecting wines. I dabbled in some futures and bought some new releases to lay down in my cellar. I have a handful of St. Émilion Premier Grand Cru1 wines that I’ve dubbed my retirement wines2 as well as a few 1st and 2nd growth wines that I bought with some age on them.
I started buying more Bordeaux wines with age on them as it dawned on me that I’m not getting any younger and that I may not be around when some of the newer wines hit their prime drinking windows. I’ve imagined Thing 1 & Thing 2 doing everything from just handing out bottles to random people to making “punch” out of my precious classified wines. That, added to the fact that aged wines can hurt your wallet, I’ve somewhat shifted my buying strategy. I still occasionally buy wines with some age on them, but it’s more and more rare that I buy wines that need to lay down for 15+ years. These days, when I buy wine, it’s more of with an eye to drinking in the next five years or so – certainly less than a decade. I need to drink them now!
I’m also aware that most people that enjoy wine are not collectors. They just want to buy a bottle of wine and enjoy it with the night’s dinner. And this consumer should be able to drink and appreciate Bordeaux as well. But finding affordable, approachable Bordeaux wines that can be drunk young can be a challenge. They are out there, but you have to know where to look.
Enter Domaines Barons de Rothschild (Lafite). Of course, it is known for its elegant, world-renowned first growth Pauillac wine Château Lafite. And despite its elegance, these wines take decades to mature. Yes, decade with an “s.” It’s also expensive AF.3 But if you’re so inclined, I do accept gifts.
Seeing the issues of both expense and approachability, Domaines Barons de Rothschild introduced its Légende Collection of wines almost two decades ago. Only recently have the wines from the Légende Collection been available in the USA. These wines were created as accessible wines for everyday drinking. It’s interesting that an estate that dates back centuries4 and owns other distinguished châteaux such as Duhart-Milon, Rieussec, and L’Évangile still sees the importance of embracing current trends when people want to drink their wines like now – or maybe even yesterday! And that’s what these wines represent – “classic Bordeaux wines with immediate charm.” Well charmed I am.
The Légende Collection consists of wines from five major Bordeaux appellations – Bordeaux, Bordeaux Blanc, Médoc, Saint- Émilion, and Pauillac – and range in price from $18-50. I was fortunate to recently try two of the wines from the Légende collection.5
2016 Légende Bordeaux Rouge ($18)
The fruit from the Bordeaux Rouge (as well as the Bordeaux Blanc6) wine is sourced from the Entre-Deux-Mers region. Remember when I told ya’ll that tasty, affordable Bordeaux can be found in this region?! Crafted of 60% Cabernet Sauvignon and 40% Merlot, this one got better after it got some air – it still is Bordeaux after all. After being in the decanter for an hour, the red fruits really began to emerge. By the second day, the tannins were smooth as silk which made for an easy-going, pleasurable sip.
2016 Légende Médoc ($25)
The Médoc (as well as the Pauillac) wine is produced from DBR’s own vineyards and from neighboring vineyards. Crafted of 60% Cabernet Sauvignon and 40% Merlot, the Légende Médoc benefits from the same care and attention to detail as the Grand Vins. More structured and full-bodied than the Rouge, the wine offers rich and complex aromas and flavors. It was also a bit more elegant with spice and deeper fruit expression than the Rouge. After taking a glass out with my Coravin, it took some time to open up and while it eventually came around, it could benefit from another year or two in the bottle. Still, it’s much sooner than the decade(s) needed for other wines from the region. The odds are certainly in my favor with this one!
Cheers to the Légende Collection’s approachable, affordable Bordeaux!
- One of my fave wine regions.
- The countdown has begun though it’s YEARS away!
- I’ve seen some younger vintages for around $700 and some that are about a decade old for $1,200. Futures are priced at $600.
- While Château Lafite has history dating back to 1234, the story of the famous Rothschild family’s ownership begins in 1868.
- These bottles were sent as media samples to try.
- Checked online and this one is available down the street from me!