Posted on Jul, 31. 2012 by Evan Williams
Pop quiz, hotshot: can you name the last DEFCON wine we offered? Yeah, me either. It’s that rare.
We see a lot of great wines, with a scant few worthy of the DEFCON label, but this is one that holds a special place in Guild history as “the best-selling offer ever”. The first time we offered the Chateau Mondesir, it was the vaunted 2005 Bordeaux vintage. “Vintage of the Century!”, they cried, leaving the less breathless among us to wonder what happened to 2000. In any case, the ’05s were amazing, and nothing since has compared…but then the 2009 Bordeaux vintage came in and we were wowed all over again. We tasted a score of 09s, and offered plenty of them out to you all, but this is what you would call a classic case of ‘the straggler that overtakes the frontrunner’.
As I said, the 2005 vintage of this wine was the best selling wine in our history – with roughly half of the members we have now, we roared through about 50 cases of this stuff! People tried it, immediately understood, and returned to the well for more (that includes me!) Well, I have tried intermediate vintages since then, and while they all were quality, nothing really reached that original level of quality and depth of the 2005 until now. This is a return to the glory of 2005, with all the depth, the balance, the “vastly outpacing its cost” of the original. It’s what I’ve been waiting for (not least because I’m running dangerously low on my 2005 Mondesir).
The best news? I do believe inflation alone has outpaced the price of this wine. Over the course of 5 vintages, its cost has gone up a whopping $1. Yes, it’s now all of [Login to see member prices.]; pass it up at your own risk. According to the distributor, just like with the 2005s, the 2009 is disappearing very quickly; jump on it now while you still can, because it won’t be here in a few months when you’re stocking up for winter.
Here’s our notes from the original 2005 offer:
Well, I did it: I pulled out the rare and sacred ‘DEFCON’ label for this offer and I, as well as the entire board, feel that this offer is worth it. We have only offered 2 other ‘DEFCON’ wines in the three years that we have been open, so I hope you all understand the gravity of this label.
It was a difficult choice to make this time because the wine we bring to you today is a wine that we have already offered back in March. Not only that, but this is a wine we have kept in stock regularly since we first offered it in March, and one that many members have already purchased or heard us rave about. So why this formal second offer?
The momentum on this wine has been growing and growing. Those who have purchased a bottle or so have been coming back and buying more and more, the Board member discussion on this wine has peeked at comments like, “the best wine for the price we have ever offered” and “This would be a deal at $18 a bottle, cost”. I personally am on my 5th case of the wine and have just placed an order for 5 more, Rives just put in an order for 6 cases of the wine, Kevin has just reordered, Evan has just reordered and just as I went to place these orders I am told by the distributor that they are on their last palate of the wine.
This has happened so many times before and usually I do not catch it until it is too late. The praise and enjoyment of this wine has worked itself up into a fury from those who have gotten into it, and just as that fury culminates, the wine will be out – and there’s no telling when we will next see a wine at $12 that as many people rave about or enjoy. There certainly has not been one yet in the three years we have been doing this, and few in the ten years I have been in the wine business.
So this DEFCON is a warning and an alert that the 2005 Chateau Mondesir, Premieres Cote de Blaye is going to be sold out soon. As Guild members you all see the value in spending upfront to save over the course of the year, and in that light I want to tell you that this is a wine to go 3-5 cases deep on, to keep in your cellar, to have for your next party, to give away at the Holidays, but most of all to have a great $12 wine that you can drink and enjoy every time you open it throughout the entire winter (unless, like me, 3 cases might get you to Christmas if you supplement with other wines heavily).
The price on this wine has been raised by $1 per bottle but I talked the rep into giving us one last shot at it at the old price seen below. This will be the last time. Also we can not emphasize enough that you can not have too much 2005 Bordeaux at any price level, but especially when the wine is this good at this price. Of all recent “epic vintages” this is the one that has stood out as offering the finest quality across the board and in a region so many people can agree on stylistically.
I’ve included my original notes below. These notes, in my way, are written in the spirit of trying not to oversell a wine. I try as often as possible not to be too hyperbolic as much as I enjoy a wine, so that when it really matters I can draw on my hyperbole and you all may know the difference. So, I evoke my hyperbole now; this is a wine to buy by the truckload! No joke!
If you like Cabernet, Merlot, Malbec, Cab Franc and most especially, good Bordeaux, then you WILL love this wine…
Ben Martin from Elite wines came by late last week with a stunning Bordeaux at a really good price. Premier Cotes de Blaye is the best of the regions taking the name of the town of Blaye and is a really great area to find deals in Bordeaux. Often these wines can be a bit astringent with the greenness of the younger vines one so often encounters in this area but every so often you come across a gem and in a good vintage everything can come together to make for quite a delicious Bordeaux at quite a stunning price.
“Blaye is a fortified town on the north bank of the Gironde estuary just opposite Margaux in the Bordeaux region which has been exporting wine much longer than the famous Medoc across the water. Today it lends its name to several of the Bordeaux Cotes appellations…Today by far the most important wine produced here is robust red from the Premieres Cotes de Blaye, made on 4500 ha of vineyard, mainly from Merlot grapes supplemented by Cabernet Sauvignon” -Jancis
This particular Blaye is from Chateau Mondesir a relative of Mondesir-Gazin but with the same wine maker. Made up of Merlot and Malbec and taking the best from each grape the Mondesir is extremely full bodied with nice ripe chewy tannins. The fruit is dark berries and cocoa but again those tannins are what really drew me to this wine. There was real substance here and for the price this would be a great Bordeaux to drink over the next 5 years. Those who like their Bordeaux a little softer and smoother will want to give it 3 years anyway or at least an hour or two of decanting.
As a serious wine this Bordeaux trumps any of the inexpensive Bordeaux we have tried or offered since fall and I recommend to anyone who has enjoyed the five or six under $15 Bordeaux to give this one a try. It is a drink by the case steal.
Retail Price: $17.25