Monday, February 8, 2016

Chateau Bel-Air Saint Croix du Mont, 1986

Saint Croix du Mont is a neighbor of Sauternes, and Chateau Bel-Air, now 30 years old, is every bit as good (or better) than many of the premium wines of Sauternes. I bought a case of the Bel-Air for about $35; a Sauternes this good would cost at least twice as much.

Deep old gold color; the wine is 30 years old, after all. Scents of honey, apricots, almonds are well defined. And the wine glides smoothly down the tongue. Plenty of sweetness and none of the bitter edge that sometimes creeps into an older Sauternes.

Saint Croix du Mont, as a satellite appellation, is no longer a well kept secret as it was in the late 1980s when I bought this wine. But the wines from there are still cheaper than Sauternes and, in some cases, I am sure, better. Because they cost less, some would say, "drink them early"; based on my experience with Chateau Bel-Air and other Saint Croix du Mont estates, I disagree.

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