FX Excursions

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Bordeaux on a Budget

by Eunice Fried

Jul 1, 2016

Château Couhins vineyard © CHÂTEAU COUHINS

July 2016

Château Brown and Château Couhins lie in the Péssac- Léognan area of Bordeaux, south of the city of Bordeaux. Both produce red and white wines from classic Bordeaux grapes, and the wines of both tend to age well and long. Unlike a number of Bordeaux châteaux, however, both offer excellent wines at reasonable prices.

At a recent tasting, I began with Château Brown White 2012, a classic blend of 65 percent Sauvignon Blanc and 35 percent Sémillon. While the meadow-fresh character of the Sauvignon dominated with its bright acidity, Sémillon gave a fleshy, round body to the wine which makes it a good companion with a rich fish dish. Price: approximately $27–35.

Château Brown Red 2010, a blend of 60 percent Cabernet Sauvignon, 35 percent Merlot and 5 percent Petit Verdot, emitted the aroma of ripe berries with a spicy undertone. It was well-structured, supple and, at 6 years of age, still young and vibrant with a promise of a long life ahead. Its price varies from about $30 to $41.

And how did a Bordeaux château get an Anglo-Saxon name like Brown? A Scot named John Lewis Brown founded it in the late 1700s. Over the centuries, owners have come and owners have gone, but the name remains.

Château Couhins White 2010 differs distinctly from the white of Château Brown in that it consists wholly of Sauvignon Blanc, producing a bright, pale, citrusy, refreshing wine with mineral notes and a concentrated intensity. Its price ranges from $23 to $35.

Deep-colored Château Couhins 2009 presents a nose that reminds me of dark fruits and spice with a whiff of tobacco. It is an ample wine in both body and flavor and beautifully balanced — overall, an elegant wine. The name Couhins, given to the château at its establishment in the 1600s, comes from an ancient Gascon word meaning borders or limits.

Few of us can make Bordeaux our everyday wine, but at these prices, we can afford to raise a toast of Château Brown and Château Couhins at any worthy occasion.

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