Sometimes the occasion calls for a good Bordeaux, especially when you’re talking beef. I was grilling a steak on my deck as the first cold gusts of winter were arriving. Previously, the owner of my local wine shop had pointed me to the cru bourgeois Château Le Pey at $14 a bottle, and I took his advice when I saw the vintage—2004, which I recalled as a good year. Upon later checking my colleague James Suckling’s Bordeaux vintage chart, my inkling was confirmed; he rates the vintage 89 points, noting that “Northern Médoc shines more in a less-than-ideal vintage.” As luck would have it, Le Pey is located in the northern Médoc.
This red is a blend of 55 percent Cabernet Sauvignon and 45 percent Merlot, aged a minimum of 12 months in French oak barrels, including 25 percent new oak, with a light filtering before bottling 18 months after the harvest. For me, this medium-bodied wine presented the balance, structure and refinement that Bordeaux can offer, with flavors of dried red fruits, including plum and currant, and notes of black olive. I rated Le Pey 87 points, non-blind, and consider it a solid bargain. Its structure and flavors were just the match for the char and juicy fat of my steak.
WineSpectator.com members: Get scores and tasting notes for more recently rated red Bordeaux.