You can’t beat the opulent, plummy flavor of a top-vintage Saint-Emilion — but in a year like 2009, prices can be as high as $250 a glass! Next door, the Côtes de Castillon offers a more reasonable alternative. “In the last five years, winemaking stars from Saint-Emilion have been rushing to invest in Côtes de Castillon…. In the minds of many, the Côtes de Castillon is as much Saint-Emilion as neighboring Saint-Emilion itself,” says Decanter.
Taste for yourself with Verniotte 2009 from Parker-praised winemaker Henry Laithwaite. From “the best vintage Bordeaux has ever produced,” (Decanter) this voluptuous mix of plum-rich Merlot (75%) and spicy Cabernet Franc (25%) is the much-anticipated follow-up to Henry’s 2008 — a Gold medal winner at the 2011 International Wine Challenge. Crafted from miserly 50-year-old vines (known for producing more concentrated flavors) it was given a long slumber in oak, for layers of plummy complexity. It’s “very dark, concentrated and layered with luscious tannins,” says Henry. See also: worthy of serving with a special dinner, like roast rack of lamb or beef tenderloin.