Bring it On Bordeaux!
It’s Official!! I’m headed to Bordeaux as a guest of the Bordeaux Wine Council! Thanks to the CIVB, I’ll be swirling and sipping at some of (arguably) the world’s best chateaux for 10 days in September!
As a result, you can get ready for some seriously France-focused posts in the coming months! I’ll be in NYC learning as much as possible so I can then drink taste as much as possible while I’m there.
Now, just why is Bordeaux so special, you ask? For a myriad of reasons, to be honest, but most importantly for reasons that translate to wines across the globe and in much better price ranges than your typical fancy-pants chateaux (where bottles can cost upwards of $1,000s at auction.)
Bordeaux has (and has had for centuries) great growing conditions–all that nerdy stuff about soil type, climate, (and about 500 years of experience.) The region is also situated on the Atlantic and two rivers, making it a major port city, which allowed Bordeaux wines to traverse the globe long before the days of airplanes, wine reviews, and Twitter.
As a result, the Bordeaux “style” (which is to say a blend of grapes grown in the region) also traversed the globe–to be lauded, detested, and replicated essentially everywhere.
And this is where the interesting part comes in:
Nearly every country or producer has their own version of the Bordeaux blend, whether they call it “Claret,” “Meritage,” or simply a “Bordeaux Style Blend.” Normally, these are dominated by either Merlot or Cabernet Sauvignon and supplemented by the likes of Petit Verdot, Cabernet Franc, and Malbec.
Recently, I was given the challenge of blind-tasting six blends from Bordeaux and around the world with some other NYC wine lovers, and the challenge was an absolute pleasure.
Among the blends were Franciscan Estates Meritage, from Napa, and gems from Washington State, New Zealand, Australia, South Africa, and two from Bordeaux. The quality, and diversity (all in the $50 price range) were amazing.
It was really exciting to see how soil types and winemaker preferences crafted wines from the same grapes which were alternately fruity and round (Franciscan Estate), distinctly earthy (Bordeaux), or smelled like Band-Aid glue (South Africa). Plus, the wide availability of these wines means that with $30 anyone can host a tasting (Ahem, future post spoiler alert) and get a sense of Bordeaux and its contributions to wine without crossing the Atlantic.
And then of course we ate.
And if you were wondering, I scored a 3 out of 6 on my tasting quiz. I’m calling a 50 passing in this case.
Bordeaux Blends Uncorked:
Laura Loves: Calliope Restaurant in the East Village.
Not spitting really great wines (Like the 2003 vintage of Magnificat we drank).
Foie Gras. And pairing it with lovely Bordeaux as often as possible.
The world’s largest wine fair, VinExpo is held in Bordeaux every year.
Bordeaux is the 5th largest city in France.
Bargain “Bordeaux”: Francis Ford Coppola Claret ($11)