Spice Up Your Summer With
These Fabulous Bordeaux Vintages
Among mature wine drinkers, one region is synonymous with consistently delicious and complex wind. Bordeaux has had the distinction of being in the upper echelon for decades, and a complex bouquet that shifts into playful endnotes keeps this wine in the top tier for most collectors and critics. Perhaps the most incredible thing about Bordeaux wines is that not every vintage is exorbitantly expensive, and solid bottles that score in the 90+ range can be had for under 30 dollars. Read on to see what goes into Bordeaux wines and how you can find a bottle that suits your taste and price point.
While white Bordeaux blends do exist, the name is synonymous with red, and when people say the name, they are more often than not looking for a Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot blend, though the proportion of each depends on the specific location of the winery.
It is a winery’s location on either bank of the Gironde estuary in the Bordeaux region of central France that determines the proportion of Merlot to Cabernet inside each bottle. If it’s a Left Bank winery, the blend will have more Cabernet Sauvignon, while Right Bank blends will lean strongly on the Merlot side. This determination also allows tasters to make a few generalizations about various vintages.
The reason why the Bordeaux region continues to produce the world’s most popular wines is the complex bouquet that develops over several years. The taste of Bordeaux changes as the wine matures over time in the bottle. Over that time, the initial primary fruit driven flavours and aromas are replaced by secondary and tertiary aromas.
The Bordeaux bouquet offers unique notes ranging from tobacco leaf, leather, cigar box, truffle, spices, smoke, tar, wet earth, forest floor or other leafy aromas. With more time, the Black Currant, Plum, and Violet fruits in the initial tasting blend into dark cherry flavours. As it ages, the texture of the wine changes, too. When you taste the wines, they burst with mineral and fruit notes that lead into prickly, savoury, mouth-drying tannins. According to the experts at Wineonline.ca this awakening of flavour occurs because the initial sternness of the tannins soften considerably as time passes allowing mature Bordeaux blends to become noticeably more elegant, offering a lush, silky mouthfeel.
Another reason for the continued popularity of Bordeaux is that it pairs so well with food. If you want to feature Bordeaux as part of a larger offering, you’ll want to serve foods that feature plenty of savoury, umami flavours and also have enough fat to counteract the high tannin levels. When serving Bordeaux, remember that:
- This wine goes great with Beef Brisket, Filet Mignon, and even Buffalo Burgers
- It pairs wonderfully with Lentils, Mushrooms, and Roast Potatoes, as well as Anise, Oregano, and black and white pepper
- If you’re serving lighter summer fair, consider pairing with Comté, White Cheddar, or Manchego cheeses
Looking to get your hands on some great Bordeaux vintages? The 2016 Pontet Canet En Primeuris testing extremely well with critics. As James Molesworth at Wine Spectator tells us, “it has a lovely feel despite its weight, displaying grace as it flows through the loam-edged finish.”If you’re looking for the right bottle at the right price, you might also consider the 2010 Pierbone Haut Medoc which offers up a fantastic vintage paired with an incredible value. At $39.95 per bottle, this wine represents some serious value. Though you can age the wine even further, it will drink beautifully this season!
Get your summer off to the right start with some delectable Bordeaux vintages. Deep and complex, yet light enough to pair with summer fare, you can’t go wrong with this gorgeous red. Serve it at your next event and your guests will love you for it.