Must-Try Wine of the Week: Chateau Fonplegade 2010 Saint-Emilion Grand Cru Bordeaux

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Trying to pick out a bottle of Bordeaux can seem daunting. Many of the names on the label are unfamiliar, and the ones that are familiar cost a fortune! There’s also the impression that all Bordeaux must be aged for several years before drinking.

Well, it’s a sad reality (for you optimists, a happy reality) that knowledge of Bordeaux does take some prior practical experience. So, I have a suggestion that’s going to: put you into a delicious wine that is drinking very well right now; and, introduce you to one of the main regions (communes) in Bordeaux. This wine might be a bit of a splurge, but you know you’re worth it.

Saint Emilion is one of the principal wine areas in the Bordeaux region of France. Although the wines from here are a blend of grapes, they’re nearly always merlot-based. Don’t worry, this isn’t the same merlot that Miles trashes in “Sideways.” Rather, this could easily be mistaken for cabernet sauvignon, due in no small part to the addition of 5 percent cabernet franc to the blend.

The nose of the 2010 Chateau Fonplegade (Fon-pluh-gawd) is amazing, with aromas of sweet cassis, bittersweet chocolate, toasted herbs, and many other savory notes. It’s very rich on the palate, with lots of fine-grained textures in the mouth, and a very long finish. You could pair this with almost any beef or lamb dish, or if you really want to go crazy, try it with a burger. This wine is quite capable of aging another 10 to 15 years and more, but is also drinking deliciously right now. Available locally from $47 to $60, at Wine Exchange, or Total Wine, Tustin.

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