Jean Luc Thunevin & wife Murielle

Grab this! It's a 2005 Bordeaux and it less than $20 per bottle. Now, that's a sweet combination.

If you loved the 2002 and 2003 of this wine, can you imagine what you're going to think about the 2005?

I'm just coming off a re-tasting of a broad representation of 2005s and let me tell you, these wines are impressive. I'm not just talking about the Classified Growths; I'm talking about the unsung heroes from smaller estates as well. As a group, they are the best Bordeaux I've ever tasted. No contest.

2005 is a year when EVERYTHING WENT RIGHT. The grapes ripened flawlessly with no bloating or rot. They are tight, little balls of blue-ish black pungent juice. "The grapes were perfect!" proclaimed grower after grower! "I didn't have to do a thing!" These wines will be lusted after for decades just like the 1961s and 1982s. Everyone agrees. These wines are spectacular and if you love Bordeaux, you can't sit this one out.

"Bordeaux's beautiful baby - a tasting of more than 600 wines makes it clear - the 2005 vintage is a classic [Classic is Wine Spectator's highest category - 95-100]. The reds are some of the best I have tasted in my career." -Wine Spectator

Here's the word on Clos Puy Arnaud Maureze: there are certain "buzz" names in Bordeaux that should make you perk up your ears. Jean Luc Thunevin is one of them. Jean Luc Thunevin makes Puy Arnaud Maureze.

You see, Jean-Marie Maureze asked Jean Luc to help him with his property in Cotes de Castillon because Jean-Marie is busy managing Dominus in California for Christian Moueix, who also happens to own Petrus. There are a barrelful of "buzz" names in that last sentence - all of them representing Bordeaux's top talent.

When Petrus and Dominus meet Chateau Puy Arnaud Maureze you know there will be a brilliant end result. Throw Jean Luc Thunevin into the cepage and you get an amazing dark ruby liquid impeccably balanced between tannin and fruit with terrific length. The soil is clay-limestone. The vines are 30 years old. Jean-Luc Thunevin uses a judicious amount of new oak (15%) to let the fruit be fully expressed and the terroir shine through.

Yes, that's Chateau Puy Arnaud Maureze. And, it's also one of the most stunning Bordeaux with "everyday" pricing I've come across.

And you know all about Cotes de Castillon by now. It's not surprising that this lovely little beauty comes from there. Cotes de Castillon represents the best of Bordeaux's new frontier for the best values in the region.

As land became more and more scarce and very expensive in St. Emilion during the eighties, chateau owners like Gerard Perse of Pavie, Stephan von Neipperg of Canon La Gaffeliere, Gerard Becot of Beau-Sejour Becot looked eastward and bought in Cotes de Castillon. Even famous wine consultant Stephane Derenoncourt chose Cotes de Castillon as his home-court vineyard. He owns Domaine de l'A.

It made all the sense in the world because Cotes de Castillon has the same clayey-limestone soil as St. Emilion - virtually the same terroir. The land just needed a dose of technology and know-how.

There are about 6,000 cases of Chateau Puy Arnaud Maureze made every year. The wine is 100% Merlot. When I got a chance to buy this wine it was one of the easiest decisions I've had to make.

Let's have a glass of Bordeaux tonight! - Cynthia Hurley