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#WedNightWineSchool April 2018: Bordeaux Basics

By debzbinden, May 2 2018 08:52PM


Unexpectedly affordable. Forget Left Bank vs Right Bank, we looked at the affordable end of Bordeaux by taking a closer look at wines from within the generic Bordeaux AC and Bordeaux Superieur AC i.e. from anywhere across France's largest winemaking region.


Not just red wine. Most classes begin with a quick bit of myth-busting while you enjoy the first wine. Rich territory for this session, with most of the attendees confessing to preferring other ends of the wine aisle which can seem easier to navigate. Our “Myth or Mystique” statements set out our mission to see whether it’s True or False that Bordeaux only makes red wine, is ALWAYs expensive and absolutely all Bordeaux wines would need years of cellaring before they’re ready to drink.


Did know Malbec is a Bordeaux grape? When so many popular wine brands lead their label messaging with a grape variety it can be a shift to think about the absolute Art of Blending that we see in Bordeaux. We discussed the classic grape partnerships of Cabernet Sauvignon’s structure & Merlot’s body, Sémillon’s roundness & Sauvignon Blanc’s fresh qualities plus the other (sometimes surprising) other Bordeaux grapes and the roles they play in a blend.


Spoiling the group with eight wines instead of the usual six, we tasted:


1.Calvet Crémant de Bordeaux, Amazon, Ocado £12.49

Refreshing fizz made by the same method as Champagne but from a Bordelais blend of Cabernet Franc and Sémillon.


2. Chateau Thieuly 2017 (Blend), The Wine Society £9.49 (Bordeaux Blanc)

A harmoniously moreish blend from a traditional mix of Sémillon, Sauvignon Blanc and Sauvignon Gris.


3. Les Chartrons Sauvignon Blanc Waitrose £8.69 (Bordeaux Blanc)

Zesty, herbacious single varietal Sauvignon Blanc made on this popular grape's home turf.


4. Sainsburys Taste the Difference Rosé 2017 £7.99 (Bordeaux Rosé)

Amazing value-for-money Merlot rosé, great with a variety of dishes and perfect for long sunny evenings.


5. BDX Claret 2016, Majestic, £9.99 (Bordeaux Rouge)

A soft, approachable modern style of Bordeaux with plummy flavours and supple tannins.


6. Good Ordinary Claret 2015, Berry Brothers and Rudd, £9.95 (Bordeaux Rouge)

Classic Claret. Smooth and medium-bodied with dark fruits and firm tannins


7. Calvet Grande Reserve 2016, Ocado, Amazon £9.99 (Bordeaux Superieur Rouge)

Complex Cabernet Sauvignon heavy blend from the UK's favourite Bordeaux name.


8. Chateau Pey la Tour Reserve 2014, The Wine Society, £11.50 (Bordeaux Superieur Rouge)

Rich, powerful, oak-influenced Merlot-based red.


The wines were chosen to demonstrate stylistic variation even within the same appellation e.g. the modern style of the BDX vs the more traditional Good Ordinary Claret whereas the pair of Bordeaux Superieur Rouge wines showed the effect of very different grape splits and the influence of vintage variation. Demonstrating the variety within our selection of "Bordeaux Basics" may not have instantly made the Bordeaux wine aisle more intuitive to navigate, but hopefully has laid some groundwork into exploring the home of some of our favourite grape varieties with some deliciously accessible signposts.


Happy tasting!


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