Making Second Chic: Bordeaux Second Label Wines

Making Second Chic: Bordeaux Second Label Wines
From, by Wanda Mann

FilipWolak-Millesima-secondl label selections - 6190Did second ever look and taste so good?
A stellar selection of second label Bordeaux wines from Millesima waiting to be poured into elegant Christofle glasses.

image courtesy Filip Wolak for Millesima

The legendary wines of Bordeaux often carry an impressive price tag but insiders know there is a way to sip the mystique at a fraction of the price: opt for a Bordeaux second label wine. Crafted by the same premier winemakers as their fancy first  siblings, second label Bordeaux wines are produced from grapes from the same estate but differ in a few ways - they generally come from younger vines and tend be aged for a shorter amount of time. Also, if you're impatient, second labels are ideal - they are generally ready to drink upon release and reach their peak at six to eight years. First label Bordeaux wines are divas that like to keep you waiting - they are at their best after 10-35 years.

I was recently invited by the Bordeaux experts at Millesima to sample a few second label Bordeaux wines from their collection. Millesima is Europe's leader in online sales of fine wines and their cellars in Bordeaux contain an astounding 2.5 million bottles. They also have a store in New York City.

Two of my favorite second label wines offered by Millesima are L'Esprit de Chevalier Blanc 2011 ($31.99) and La Demoiselle de Sociando-Mallet 2008 ($32.99).

Millesima_L'Esprit Chevalier Blanc_2011

L'Esprit de Chevalier is the second label from Domaine de Chevalier and this white wine is quite lovely. A classic Bordeaux white blend of Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon, this is a vibrant sip with lovely citrus, herbal, and mineral flavors. Silky, crisp, juicy, and refreshing - this is a great summer wine.


Of course, Bourdeux is renowned for complex reds that age beautifully and this second label sip from Château Sociando-Mallet is a delicious hint at the unique flavor profile of those majestic wines. A blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, La Demoiselle de Sociando-Mallet is a full-bodied fruit-forward red that will age beautifully but its soft tannins and hint of oakiness make it a pleasure to drink now. 

Millesima offers 35 second label wines from 16 vintages, visit their website for more details. Cheers!

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