Having a High Time at Hi-Time's Bordeaux Tasting

Hi-Time Wine Cellars hosted “A Very Special Bordeaux Tasting” Sunday afternoon, and it's unclear which of those words caused it, but the downstairs wine bar was packed.

In fact, my four-person party had to wait until other tasters left, opening up seats for us–truly SRO (Staggering Room Only). No worries. At least once, I filled my wine-bar stool after being tracked down hugging packs of Guinness Foreign Extra Stout in Hi-Time's walk-in beer frig.

All photos by Tobin Sharp/Hi-Time Wine Cellars
A full house, if by “house” you mean “wine bar” at Hi-Time Wine Cellars in Costa Mesa.

Pouring their hearts out were owner/winemakers Veronique Barthe, of Chateau Freynelle in the heart of the Entre-Deux-Mers region of France; Karin Bernaleau, of

Mongravey Margaux (2007) was the event's biggest seller–or, at least, they were running out of bottles and putting names on a list for a Tuesday shipment of more cases. I managed to snag a bottle ($29.98) after I threatened to write a hard-hitting exposé on this obvious supply-demand charade. Just kidding. The dark-red color and earthy/chocolaty notes made the surprisingly mild but complex flavor very pleasing. Jeez, did I just write that, or is it the Margaux talking? The 'shrooms?


The Chateau Picque Caillou Blanc (2006), which had a the most floral nose of the bunch, would be wonderful with cheese. The robust Chateau St. Andre Corbin (2006) set off fireworks in my mouth. The sparkly red Chateau Picque Caillou Bordeaux Rouge (2006) was actually my favorite, with an excellent, seemingly handcrafted blend of smells and flavors. And while I couldn't quite get my nose around the ruby-red Chateau Fonbadet Pauillac (2006), it had a very nice flavor to go along with the highest price tag of the bunch ($31.95 per bottle). That's a steal when you consider its vineyard is in the same neighborhood as Château Lafite's.

The experience made me want to return for other events. Hi-Time has them all the time; check the schedule at hitimewine.net. You'll definitely see me at the Guinness Foreign Extra Stout tasting.

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