A“satellite appellation” to the noble Pomerol AOC, Lalande de Pomerol produces reds that, at their best, mimic Pomerol’s robust, earthy flavors at a fraction of the price. While there is more variation in terroir within the two appellations than between them, Lalande tends to have more gravel and sand compared to Pomerol’s heavier clay soils. Château Belles-Graves is named after the abundant gravel in its vineyards, which is notorious for holding the sun’s heat into the night. This helps the grapes (Merlot with a bit of Cabernet Franc) ripen early, giving generous wines dominated by ripe black fruit with very supple, approachable tannins. This does not preclude them from aging: this Lalande can easily be held for ten or twenty years, developing a deep complexity and aromas of black truffle and leather. Fine Bordeaux need not cost a fortune, nor does it need decades of bottle age to be delicious.