Having much more to offer than the last time we tasted these (back in September 2005), this group presented their potential as attractive, value-oriented whites.
The night's winner was also the best value (only $13!), with both clean/vibrant notes to go with more complex flavors. No taster gave it less than 3 points, and was the only one from Pessac-Leognan.
In second and third place was the same wine, showing similar grapefruit/green bell pepper notes, purchased from different retailers, and only separated by 2 points.
In last was a disappointing, probably damaged bottle that hinted at spoilage with its darker color.
First Place: Chateau Lafont Menaut 2010 (Pessac-Leognan). Clear. Tasters found inviting scents of melon and grass that were juicy and fresh. Ali noted that it "smells likes it's going to taste oily", with Andy finding "orange creamsicle". Pleasing. Initial flavors of cheese and lemon, plus orange rind, subtle cream, and agave nectar, turning more tropical with air (coconut, mango). White pepper on the finish. Ali asked about it, "is hydrogen peroxide a flavor?". Joyce found a "pleasant aftertaste that doesn't degrade into something icky", and Ali "likes it better with food". Ali, David, and Joyce's favorite of the night, with at total of 28 points. Ali's bottle. A steal at about $13.
Second Place: Chateau Magneau 2011 (Graves). Clear, and offering a nose including smoke, green bell pepper, white grapefruit, and pineapple. Fresh and bright. Andy noted "chlorine water", and David found it "more intriguing". Turns darker and smoky on the palate, with hints of nutmeg and moss. Joyce found "deep forest green", that others described as avocado. Showed more richness, but was also very clean tasting. Everyone gave this at least one point, and was Andy and Kristin's favorite. Received 24 points. Kristin's bottle. About $15.
Third Place: Chateau Magneau 2011 (Graves). A hint of green color, with scents of grass, green bell peppers, rhubarb, and lemon. Suzanne felt that it "smells like a basement to me", but Joyce felt that the acidity "has a nice pop". Sunny and bright with grapefruit flavors, some mint on the finish, and also minerality. Turns more floral with time, like orange blossom. Everyone gave this at least one point, but was Suzanne's favorite. Received 22 points. Suzanne's bottle. About $16.
Chateau Simon 2011 (Bordeaux). Looking slightly effervescent or unfiltered, this had aromas of burnt popcorn, earwax, and not as much citrus as the others, turning buttery with time. Suzanne felt that it "reminds me of the holidays", this was rounder in texture, with flavors of cheese and oil. Made from Sauvignon Blanc. Joyce's bottle. Received 5 points. About $15.
Barons de Rothschild (Lafite) Reserve Speciale 2011 (Bordeaux). Looks unfiltered. Tasters found scents of honeysuckle, melon, and red grapefruit. David found it interesting and liked the darkness to it, however Andy felt that it "smells like dead amphibian". Ali found a "bad pedicure" note referring to the acetone scents, with Andy responding with "more ass, less tone". Richer in body than some of the others. Andy was reminded of "hot ham water", and Suzanne noted the short finish. Made from 60% Semillon and 40% Sauvignon Blanc. Received 5 points. Andy's bottle. About $10.
Chateau de Respide 2009 (Graves). The most yellow in color, and smelling of spoiled milk, citrus, and cleaning fluid. Tastes off, like rusty water, showing exposure to heat/air. Ali responded with "I'm kind of offended", while David said that it "has a lingering flavor, but not one you're looking for". Turns to more tropical fruit with air exposure, then rotten wood. Probably Maderized, with too much nuttiness. Made from 60% Sauvignon Blanc and 40% Semillon. No points. David's bottle. About $16.