2010 Chateau Mayne-Guyon, Blaye Côtes de Bordeaux

I liked the 2009 Chateau Mayne-Guyon Blaye Côtes de Bordeaux a lot, in fact thought it one of the best values around in red wine.  A quick note to let you know I liked the 2010 Chateau Mayne-Guyon, also available at Trader Joe's, even better.  I drank it a few months ago, so you can take details with a grain of salt, but I'd say it's more elegant, less chunky and tarry, than the 2009, but still fairly full-bodied and quite flavorful.  More emphasis on delicious berry fruit, a bit less on dark/minerally tastes, but still enough of the latter for complexity, enough tannin to avoid flabbiness and suggest ageability, and perhaps a bit better balanced than the 2009 as well.  I'd guess this would be serious competition for much more expensive (and properly aged) Bordeaux---perhaps not 2nd classed growths but probably some of the better Crus Bourgeois---in a blind tasting.  Another no-brainer for multiple bottle purchases at $8.  If one has to rate, I guess I'd say 8/10 on a 10-point scale that goes to 11, corresponding to around 87-89 Parker points, and I'm probably being conservative here.  On my last visit to TJ's there was a big empty spot with one or two bottles of this on the shelf, so perhaps the secret is out... I already got my stash of four or five bottles.

2009 Chateau Mayne-Guyon, Blaye Côtes de Bordeaux

The 2009 Chateau Mayne-Guyon Blaye Côtes de Bordeaux is from one of the lesser Bordeaux areas on the right bank of the Gironde.  For $8 at Trader Joe's, a very good deal.  I can recall, back in the days when this appelation was Côtes de Blaye  and Premieres Côtes de Blaye, it and Côtes de Bourg had a reputation as a good source of cheap Bordeaux often better than plain old Bordeaux and Bordeaux Supérieur.  But the characteristics of the area, when incorporated into a lesser wine, were sometimes a bit offputting:  dark, kind of gritty tannins, some vegetal (maybe green pepper) elements to the flavors, and some dark, unfocused elements to the flavor associated with the tannins that overpowered the fruitiness.  Interestingly, this wine has these characteristics, but in a good way.  The vegetality is very slight, just adding a note of complexity, the tannins are very noticeable and a bit coarse (seeming smoother with time in the glass, and also after a day in the fridge) but not out-of-contol-gritty, and the fruit flavors are quite rich, so they stand up well to the somewhat tarry, mineral elements.  This could either be an excellent ager for about 5 years, or not.  It's hard for me to know without experience aging these wines.  The issue is whether the tannins smooth out and drop, and the fruit stays, and (in the best case) the tarry elements develop into something quite complex and exotic, or the tannins stay gritty, the wine dries out, and (worst case) the tarry elements develop into something strong but weird and annoying.  It is very tasty now in any case. $8 at Trader Joe's is a really excellent deal.  This seems to be a regular wine at TJ's;  I think the 2009 may be exceptionally good, for this wine and for Bordeaux overall.  This was much more interesting and balanced than most $8 wines produced in the US, and quite full-bodied.  (Despite the word "balanced", no-one should get the idea that this is suave and velvety... this is fairly punchy, virile stuff.)  I have had difficulty finding good minor Bordeaux in supermarkets around here... but TJ's seems to have a slew of them. This stands up quite well to cheese, even blue cheese.  Excellent with TJ's  "Le petit crême" hexagonal cheese from the Rhône-Alpes department of France, and their Italian Gorgonzola.

Point rating?  Let's say 8 / 10, for exhibiting what I think is a clear expression of the Blaye terroir, while avoiding the pitfalls sometimes associated with it, and for being a darn tasty, full-bodied drink with plenty of dark berry and red berry fruit, a bit of almost dirty but tasty minerality and tarriness, and only slight hints of green pepper or maybe olive.  I suppose I should maybe put this at 7.5 to leave some dynamic range... but you must remember, my 10 point scale is like the the one on a guitar amp... it goes to 11.  For comparison, and so you don't just multiply by 10 and think of it as a Wine Advocate rating, if I were rating this on the Robert Parker 100 point scale, I think it would get about 86-87 given my experience with Parker-rated wines.