Why not open this blog with a great normal wine: Château La Tour de By. If only as a tribute to Marc Pagès, the owner of the château who died in July this year. For me this is one of the best examples of a fine classic Bordeaux for a friendly price. La Tour de By comes across very sympathetic, and I follow - and drink - the subsequent vintages with pleasure.
We can only hope that Pagès' grandson, Frédéric Leclerq will continue to deliver wines in the spirit of his grandfather, with the same great price-quality ratio. Leclerq has already been involved in the wine making for a number of years, so there is a good chance that the character of La Tour de By will be preserved.
I tasted the 2006 vintage en primeur - Pagès' last vintage - and it outperformed most its competition.
Yesterday I opened a 2000. Supposedly a legendary year, but lots of wines that I taste from this year do not (yet) live up to the high expectations (don't get me wrong: I've tasted beautiful wines - one that spontaneously pops up in my mind is Le Petit Cheval 2000). The La Tour de By 2000 is clearly satisfying. The classic aspect of the wine hauls me back instantly to Christmases in the '70's when I was allowed to sniff the wine that my grandfather had opened - the association comes with lightning speed, as the nose of this wine is very intense.
La Tour de By is always an elegant wine. Made for drinking. All present in pleasant harmony: dark fruit, bit of oak (light), some bay leaf, some tanginess and a - pleasant - hint of ink. In the mouth: quite full start, intense as said, and good acids for a good balance. The finish is quite lean with a pleasant freshness. Not a grand wine, but definitely a delicious wine.
The picture above shows me at La Tour de By 'inspecting' the grapes of the 2003 vintage. During our visit the temperature was about 40 degrees Celsius! As the lower parts of the Médoc, with the wetter grounds, had an advantage during this hot year, we can look out for an interesting (and hopefully more than that) 2003 vintage for La Tour de By. More about that later, perhaps.
Website of La Tour de By: http://www.la-tour-de-by.com/