Sometimes you get lucky.
Better put, sometimes you wander into a good wine store and you get a little good advice.
Last weekend I happened to be in Brooklyn on a separate errand, with a little time to spare, and I spotted Dry Dock Wine and Spirits. It’s a cozy, stylish place, stacked floor to ceiling with wine and an impressive selection of regional spirits on tables in the middle. Their website says they have been “anchored in red hook, bk since 2010.” Get it? This is the operation’s new space. They were only allowing 2 customers at a time, meaning we had the joint to ourselves.
I picked up a couple of modest Burgundies, and a Brooklyn-made bourbon, but the star of the excursion turned out to be the 2016 Chateau Reynier Bordeaux Supérieur. I held up a bottle and gestured toward the guy. “Definitely,” he said. “It’s really a great buy.”
I know what you’re thinking: What else would he say? But he said it in a way that made me believe him. He didn’t try to upsell me, rather he seemed to indicate he was happy for us. And at $18 each, how far wrong could I go? In my home, the under-$20 Bordeaux is something of a Holy Grail. The killer app. There are other wines I’d choose for a desert island. But like so many of us, my first real enjoyment of good wine came from trying a Bordeaux, and my fiancée loves it, and so it’s a real go-to.
Bordeaux Supérieur are required to come from older vines, have slightly higher alcohol, and be more densely planted than other plots in the area. RobertParker.com has a nice summary of the designation, and there’s a nifty article on general classifications here. Winemaker Marc Lurton’s family has owned the Château, including its 15th-century manor, for over four generations. It sits quite near the St. Emilion region, home to Château Angélus, Château Beauséjour, Château Cheval Blanc and Château Figeac, among other notables. In other words, one might say that Reynier is in a pretty good neighborhood.
In giving the 2016 Supérieur an 89 score, Wine Enthusiast said “this perfumed wine offers rich tannins and lush black fruits. It is full and packed with blackberry flavors. This will be a ripe wine as it develops. Drink from 2022.” So maybe I was a little early. I’m not bothered, though a little air did prove beneficial. After a half hour, the wine got prettier and prettier. I’d describe the fruit as leaning a little more red than black, but there was lots of it, and a finish that I often describe, inadequately, as powdery. It tasted like something a fair bit more expensive.
Reviews and scores can be helpful; I look at them as much as anyone. But those alone would not have steered me to this one, which for my taste presented a nice value. There’s just nothing like opening something yourself. I’m gonna pick up a box more, next time I see it.