Bordeaux – Another Look by Cathy Boyd
Many factors go into creating a bottle of wine: terroir, grape varietal, the winemakers skills and weather. For Bordeaux, the terroir has been established as one of the best places in the world to grow Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon. Bordeaux attracts talented winemakers to practice their craft – some come for a short time, many stay for a lifetime.
The wild card in Bordeaux winemaking process is the weather. Weather is the most significant factor that is entirely out of the hands of the winemaker yet it determines the potential of a particular vintage and appellation. Vintage charts can aid wine buyers and wine drinkers through the purchase process by gauging how the weather affected the quality of the harvest. Many charts also suggest if a wine should be opened or held based on the potential quality of the harvest. My wine buying choices are guided by knowing the potential of the vintage.
For our Bordeaux tasting, we will taste Left and Right Bank red wines, dry whites from Bordeaux, Entre des Mers, and Graves, and a Sauternes.
The vintage chart descriptions for the Reds chosen include: ‘Merlot solid, but wines with Cabernet Franc are the sweet spot’‘St.-Emilion the sweet spot; values abound in Castillon’ The vintage chart description for Sauternes reads: ‘Wines are racy, detailed, pure and driven’
Our reds are blends of Merlot and Cabernet Franc, there may be a small percentage of Cabernet Sauvignon in some, and the potential of the vintage explains why our tasting panel raved about the chosen wines. Who wants to end the evening drinking a ‘racy’ Sauternes? I do!!
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