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When I started drinking wine, I was often frustrated because I did not have the cash to buy French Grand Crus or expensive Italian or Californian wine. Today, I still don’t have the money to buy those wines. Over the years, i learned to  compromise but it still difficult to resist the temptation to buy an expensive fine bottle of wine.

My love affair with Bordeaux started in my early 20’s. Once  upon time in my undergrad student days, having saved around $70 bucks, I went to buy a bottle wine. I decided to try the Carruades de Lafite 1995. Lafite was like a fairy tale to my mind. I knew it was real but unreachable in my reality.

This was a revelation bottle for me. It was the first time that I discovered the  bell red pepper and cassis aromas in a wine. In my mind, it was also clear the aromas of cassis and gunpowder.  On the palate, this wine tasted like not other Cabernet that I tasted from the New World. I was perplexed with the austerity but even more of the elegance of the wine. It was love at the first sight, but soon I realized that fine Bordeaux was like a fine girl but with high maintenance-luxurious but dangerous. Fine Bordeaux can take you fast to the cleaners.

As time went on on my wine education, I discovered about Cru Burgeois and I came to realize that it was a good compromise between quality and price. Crus Bourgeois are Médoc châteaux that produce  wines of typicity and quality but generally without the pedigree and fame of their finer aristocratic cousins from the 1855 Classification.

The Cru Burgeois systems dates back to the middle ages. The bourgeois were citizens  of the “bourg” of Bordeaux, a community  of merchants and craftsmen. During the period of English rule in Bordeaux, they obtained certain rights and privileges, such as tax credit  on the sale of the wines from their vineyards both domestic and overseas.

By the fifteenth century, enriched by their international commerce, the bourgeois of Bordeaux were able to acquire the finest properties in the region, which were initially referred to as the “Crus des Bourgeois” and then simply the “Crus Bourgeois”. Since the inception, the classification went to various member changes with its share of polemic and problems. The association has a strict quality program and to be a member a estate has to pass some rigorous standards. This guarantees that the customer is getting quality for a specific quality of wine.

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Château Lilian Ladouys is Bordeaux Cru Bourgeois wine property located in Saint-Estèphe with 40ha vineyards on gravel rich soils and well-drained slopes overlooking the Gironde. Plantings are 58% Cabernet-Sauvignon, 37% Merlot, 5% Cabernet Franc. Lilian Ladouys goes back to 1564 when it was held as feudal estate Jacques de Becoyran, lord of Lafite.  In fact, Château Lafite Rothschild is just a  hundred meters away. The estate had a golden age during the 19th century. In 1850, the first edition of Cocks & Féret named the estate as one of the best in Saint-Estèphe. In 1932, the estate received its status as cru burgeois which was confirmed again in 2003.

My wine collection started with Bordeaux vintages such as  2004 and 2006. Both vintages were classic despite weather problems and uneven quality. I bought a few bottles of Lilian Ladouys 2006 in the future market withouth knowing anything about the wine. I tasted my first bottle last year and it was just stunning. Lovely classic mature Bordeaux character.

On the nose aromas that bring to mind cassis cream with gunpowder and cherry puree. Cedary with note as well of dead leaves and barnyard. On the mouth, full body. Structured and racy with lots of finesse. Nice roundness in the mouth with fine and ripe tannins. At its point at the moment. 95/100.

Over the years, I have barely bought Bordeaux for my cellar as the prices have become quite unreasonable to be polite. But I am looking foward to buy more Cru Burgeois.