Château de Parenchère
Cast your mind back to your very first explorations in wine, to a time before you were squirreling away double magnums of Lafleur, Haut-Brion and Lafite-Rothschild, something which I’m confident all Winedoctor readers are up to. Yes, you’re right, my tongue is in my cheek. Regardless of our personal Bordeaux budget though, which for some of us stops somewhere around Poujeaux whereas for others it doubtless goes up to Petrus and Le Pin, we must all have memories of those domaines which offered us a Bordeaux fix in less affluent times. Maybe when you were a student, an underpaid intern, or maybe just the boy or girl charged with pushing the tea trolley around. Come to think of it, maybe you still are a student, or manning the tea trolley? Whatever your situation, we’ve all have had a need for good value Bordeaux at one time or another.
The mention of ‘good value’ and ‘Bordeaux’ in the same sentence is bound to bring snorts of derision from some critics. Quite often these are individuals who never look beyond the cru classé estates, mistakenly thinking that this is the be-all and end-all for Bordeaux. There are in fact many estates producing good quality wines, readily identifiable as Bordeaux, often from the more peripheral appellations. For me, looking back to my earlier explorations in wine, one of the most reliable names for both value and quality was Château de Parenchère. The wines of this estate were bottled under the generic Bordeaux appellation, but rather than tasting lean and under-fruited as many such wines did, or plumped up and smothered in oak of questionable origin in an attempt to gain favour with the imitation of a New World style, these wines were correct and actually tasted of Bordeaux. Nevertheless, over the years that have since passed (and there have been too many of those!) I have lost touch somewhat with what the domaine was up to.
Until now, that is. Happily, many years on, I can report that Château de Parenchère is still a very good source of affordable and yet classically styled wines. And that might be to our benefit. After all, we may not be students, interns or tea-boys (or tea-girls) any more, but as the cru classé châteaux price their wines ever higher, an estate which can turn out hundreds of thousands of bottles which provide a Bordeaux kick for just a fraction of the cost of their grander cousins in Pomerol, Pessac-Léognan and Pauillac should be of interest to all of us.