Ah Bordeaux.
We’ve gone down this trail a gazillion times, but pardon me, here I go again. First of all, I’m here. In Bordeaux. Just had a great dinner, looking forward to all the upcoming week has in store. I’ve already hadseveral meetings with negociants, and if there is one thing that’s clear, they’re all saying that 2009’s are either out of stock, or that what they can offer now costs much more than we initially paid. Well, that makes sense. It is a great vintage, no question. So how do we “profiter”, as the French say? Easy, find the wines that we still have for sale at the opening price. Here’s one that very well may be overlooked. Domaine l’Aurage. What? Never heard of it? You should. You will.  

Domaine l’Aurage is the property that belongs to Caroline and Louis Mitjavile in what used to be called “Côtes de Castillon”. Nowadays, its appellation is “Côtes de Bordeaux”, yet it still carries the “Castillon” moniker. Confusing? Pardon me for making it more so. Do you see this picture of Louis? Some of his vines are on both his right and left. The vines behind the tree with ivy on it? Those don’t belong to him. But they are in St. Emilion. Yes, that is the border. Caroline and Louis’ driveway effectively, is the border between St. Emilion and Castillon.

Louis is the son of François Mitjavile of Château Tertre Roteboeuf fame. The wines of Tertre Roteboeuf are highly celebrated amongst Bordeaux buffs in the know. I can go on and on about François and, not only Tertre Roteboeuf, but his Roc de Cambes as well, but not tonight. 2 years ago this week, I found myself in the cellar at Tertre Roteboeuf with François, and I was re-introduced to his son, Louis, or Loulou, as he is affectionately known by his loved ones. Louis is a strong spirit, who has worked in and around St. Emilion, Fronsac, and elsewhere. He knows far more about winemaking than a multitude of wine people that I know. So when I visited Tertre Roteboeuf 2 years ago, I was so happy to have been re-acquainted with Louis, and when I tasted HIS wine, my mind was certainly cast into the realm of thinking that, yet again, apples don’t fall far from their respective trees. Coming from Castillon, the 2009 Domaine l’Aurage benefited from the perfect growing season that the vintage stamped on all of the wines from Bordeaux. Taking that into consideration, it also had that “Mitjavile signature” of opulence, great weight, texture, expression, and balance. I do not want to dampen the allure of François’ wines (Tertre Roteboeuf and Roc de Cambes), as they are well worth the cost, and then some, but here’s a chance to get in on the Mitjavile magic at a phenomenal price that quite simply, you’re not going to see again. That’s right, the 2009 Domaine l’Aurage is available, on pre-arrival, at the amazing price of $29. Get out! You’re not serious. Oh yes, we are. This is pure, silky magic in a bottle. When I tasted it out of barrel, I was thinking, “Okay, yep, this is the stuff. It’s got the verve, it’s got the style. But, sigh, probably going to be high 40’s, low 50’s?” Ahhhnttt! Wrong. How about $29??!!?? Seriously, you cannot find better Right Bank Bordeaux under $30 than the 2009 Domaine l’Aurage. Nope. I challenge you. Think juicy, ripe dark red/purple fruit, a hint of cola, earth, tobacco, allspice, and a hint of vanilla. On the palate, it enters so silky, then intensifies with all of those components firing in full-on fashion. The acid/tannin tandem, is so harmonious, you just have to take another sip to believe it. Yes, $29 (on pre-arrival). Oh, did I mention? We are the ONLY merchant in the USA with this wine. We’ve been around almost 35 years, we’ve got connections! You will not see Domaine l’Aurage for sale under $30 again. I strongly urge you to secure your allocations now. Scout’s honor, you will not be disappointed.

Pardon me for banging the table yet again, but taking in the weather here in Bordeaux, and just settling in to the pace of the place has rekindled my passion for it (like it was ever extinguished). I hope to discover many new things this year while here, and you can count on me to fill you in on them when I do! Until then.Peter Zavialoff

Please feel free to email me with any questions or comments about Bordeaux, especially if you would like to hear my impressions of any particular 2011 barrel samples: peter.winehouse@sbcglobal.net

I will try to reply as best I can.