To all of my oenophiles,
This week saw one of the coolest days I have seen since the summer began months ago. Although my BELCO bill will start dropping, now that I can leave the windows open at night, my wine bill slowly starts increasing to ensure my life stays in balance. All of those fun, inexpensive whites and rosés will now be replaced by big, bold, in your face red and the odd Burgundy for when I’m feeling sophisticated. My trigger finger is itchy and I say it’s time. Bring on the Bordeaux! Left-bank, right-bank, I don’t care. Just give me a reason to call the dentist and clean those purple teeth.
But I digress, let’s stop being silly. The reason why I get so excited about Bordeaux is because it is the first wine that I fell in love with. It is the first region to which I was introduced and should be the first wine region anyone should learn about. This is where it all started. Wine was brought to Bordeaux by the Romans but it was the French that perfected it. We all hear about the Médoc, left-bank and right-bank, but when I first started learning, Bordeaux was all very hazy. I was never sure how it all worked, I just heard a bunch of names getting thrown around. So I will make it short and simple.
Left-Bank (Médoc): Looking at a map of Bordeaux, this is the left side of the Gironde River. Generally speaking, the proportion of the grape varietals are 70% Cabernet and 30% Merlot. A bit of Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot and Malbec mixed in for fun, and balance. Stylistically these wines are the heavy hitters and are what the blokes from across the pond may refer to as “Claret”. The Left-Bank is where you will find the main sub-regions of Haut-Médoc, St. Estèphe, Pauillac, St. Julien, Listrac, Moulis and Margaux.
Right-Bank: The right side of the Gironde River. You will generally see these wines dominated by Merlot and Cabernet Franc at 70% and 30% respectively. There is some variation depending on where you go but we’re trying to make this easy right? The wines in these areas will be much softer and less tannic but still bursting with phenomenal dark fruit. The major appellations here are Pomerol and St. Emilion.
There are still so many more appellations to discuss, such as Pessac-Leognan, Graves and Sauternes, but let’s stay focused on a few for now.
It is true that if you want a great Bordeaux you must also hand over a week’s pay. But this is only somewhat true because there are so many other sub regions of Bordeaux that nobody ever wants to talk about. Places that offer value comparable to the more obscure regions of France and those in the New World. I could go on and on talking about those regions but that could cause some cerebral haemorrhaging and have you regret you ever opened this email! The best way to learn is to drink, which is why you need to come down this Saturday and have a glass with Patrick and I. We will be cracking some bottles of Bordeaux, discussing why we love these wines so much and offering a 10% discount on our featured wines. No pretentious snobs allowed.
September 18, 2015