Hello Wine lovers. Tonight Monday from 5pm to 8pm we roll the clock back to the classic wines of Europe namely Bordeaux. The region of Bordeaux is to the south west of Paris France sitting along the Gironde river the region is split by the body of water. One side of the river is known for producing wine based on a mostly Merlot. The other side of the river is known for producing wines heavy in Cabernet Sauvignon. The five grapes grown in Bordeaux are, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Malbec Petite Verdot, and Cabernet Franc Most of these grape varietals are grown around the world and sometimes the regions use other names to reference them. As many know Napa Valley produces a blended similar to Bordeaux but must call it Meritage or red table wine because the wine does not come from the region of Bordeaux. To the novice, some people think Bordeaux is a grape used for wine. As you have read it is a region that produces a particular style of blended wine. To be considered Bordeaux all five varietals do not have to be in the bottle it can be a variation of the five, this is legal by French law and many of the Bordeaux do not contain all 5. Royal families have made Bordeaux wines famous around the world, Prince William for example was presented with a 3 liter of Petrus on his 21st birthday by the owner of the winery, I guess it good to be the prince!
Royalty aside, James Bond has made Bordeaux a thing of legend in his movies over the years while ordering bottles of French wine in countless movies. Please note, it was not Hollywood who made Bordeaux famous, but it did bring the wine to the big screen for some. Chateau La Tour comes to mind as well as many houses of Champagne who were given the notoriety by the films. The Gironde River provides a water source in the region as well as adding to the specific climate that gives the wines a mineral and flinty taste. This region of France is not known for heavy fruit forward wines. Bordeaux style wines are known for the high mineral leather smoke tar character in the wines. Not exactly what California produces in a wine.
Terrior is king in Bordeaux. A simple way to describe Terroir is structure. Mineral flint stone, leather tar spice anise, and yes some fruit way in the back along with tannin comprise the building blocks of Terroir. Terrior, pronounced (terwaa) is a focus of all surrounding climate and soil influence. All of these factors gives Bordeaux wines a unique character and most important, longevity. Many Bordeaux wines will lie down to age for years. It is not uncommon to have a Bordeaux wine age for 50 years under correct temperature. The wine will still drink bright and balanced. If you have the finances to afford something of this grand scale it is truly a moment in time not to forget. Certain years of Bordeaux are deemed higher quality years by point systems usually 100 being best. As you may already guess these wines are quite pricey. The designation system is based on where it is from what region or Chateau the wine is from, usually there is a family behind the Chateau (meaning Castle in French) making the wine. Unlike Napa County French wines in Bordeaux can go back several hundred years. Napoleon, was a great collector of wine from this region as well as anyone who raided these wineries over many wars and rulers. During the occupation of France Hitler’s top generals raided the Bordeaux region scooping up millions of dollars in French wines. Not until after the liberation of France and a raid on the houses in Germany did the truth come out. This was portrayed in the series Band of Brothers. Our task is simple tonight, to experience something other than the fruity character of California wines and perhaps find a new favorite among the classic wines of Europe ! Cheers Mike The Wine Guy.