The appellation of Margaux deceives on its name alone, which implies grandeur. But the towns that make up Margaux are far more low key, especially the unfussy hamlet of Arsac, a few minutes by car from the famous Château Margaux. That’s where you’ll find Bruno Rey and his family, and this property they’ve farmed since the 1800s. They have no use for Bordeaux’s fancier airs, and their wines are just as unprepossessing—pure in their cabernet flavors, and unmarked by new oak. While I love their Margaux, their humble Haut-Médoc is everything a Bordeaux should be: forceful, just ripe enough, with a decidedly savory side of cured tea leaves and celery seeds. This is Bordeaux that makes no apologies for not being a dedicated follower of fashion.
Vintage 2013 || $29.
Château Auney L’Hermitage Graves Red
If “Graves” similarly implies old mansions and tradition, a trip to the cheery farmhouse of Sylvie and Christian Auney will quickly undo that. (Do mind the garden hose!) Their wines can be marked by new oak, but the red is a full-fleshed, silken, quiet take on this esteemed appellation south of Bordeaux city. Full of violets and blueberry and sandalwood, it’s softened by merlot but never lacks the bark-like herbal side of cabernet. This is the sort of Bordeaux that some age will make even better.
Vintage 2013 || $30.