This half bottle of Cru Bourgeois Bordeaux was purchased for $3.99 nearly 25 years ago. And it's still drinking beautifully.
The color is similar to that of the Langi Cabernet--deep and dark with minimal browning. And the nose also has many of the same qualities--cherries and currants, deep and concentrated but showing a racy edge. There are dried as well as fresh fruits in the bouquet and flavors of this wine. The mid-palate is notably ripe and lovely, superior to that of the younger Langi Cab. The wine glides along the tongue, leaving ripe flavors and a silky impression all the way. If all Cabernet wines were this good and this inexpensive, I would drink them more frequently.
LaTour de By is one of a number of inexpensive Cru Bourgeous favorites of famous wine critics such as Michael Broadbent, and I can understand why. The vineyards are planted to 70 percent Cabernet, 25 percent Merlot and 5 percent Cabernet Franc. The lower price is made possible by a heavy dependence on old oak, with about 20 percent of barrels replaced each year. Reviews of recent vintages of LaTour de By on other wine blogs have not been as positive. That might be because the quality at this estate has declined...or because the wine needs more time to show its best. Contemporary wine drinkers have become accustomed to the sweet vanilla-tinged smells and flavors of new oak and less likely than traditionalists to put inexpensive wines in the cellar for extended aging.