Have you ever wondered why all the fuss about Bordeaux? This Saturday, January 19th, you can explore the beauty of Bordeaux wine at the largest private Bordeaux tasting in the United States. Taste over 100 of the acclaimed 2010 vintage from some of France’s greatest Châteaux, accompanied by an assortment of cheeses, at the Union Des Grands Crus de Bordeaux Tasting at the Hyatt Regency Century Plaza Hotel from 3 - 6 pm. Tickets can be purchased for $69 from Wally’s Wine in Westwood or online. The UGCB is touring North America from January 14-26, 2013, to promote their 135 member estates Bordeaux wines.
Why Bordeaux? What is the mystique? In good years, Bordeaux can be quite complex, a blended, refined wine that reflects the best of that year’s fruit, and made to the individual Château’s style. The finesse of Bordeaux wine is a good alternative to the power and high alcohol of California wines, especially at the dinner table. While some bottles are expensive and require decades in the cellar, most Bordeaux are meant to be drunk young and with food. Bordeaux is generally a blend of red grapes, primarily Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Cabernet Franc, although there are some dry and sweet white wines made.
So before you go, here is a brief sketch of the styles of red Bordeaux, which is directly related to where it comes from.
Bordeaux is a wine region in southwest France, divided into two parts, the left bank and the right bank. Left Bank wines are dominated by Cabernet Sauvignon, big muscular wines with lots of tannins that require time to soften their hard edges. These are often the wines of legend, their commune names, such as St.-Julien and Margaux, celebrated in the wine world. The great sweet white wines, such as Sauternes and Barsac, are also made here.
Right Bank wines are mostly Merlot, and some Cabernet Franc, ripe fruit and velvety body, softer tannins, and a silky, plush mouthfeel. Generally, Right Bank wines are ready to drink sooner. Château Pétrus, one of the world’s most expensive wines, is made here.
The vast majority of Bordeaux are affordable and better than ever, thanks to great weather in 2009 and 2010. These red wines are approachable, with medium alcohol, good body, and a bouquet of black fruits, sweet spice, roasted herbs, licorice, dark chocolate, coffee, tobacco, and cedar, in other words, there is a lot going on here. Basic Bordeaux can be bought for about $10, some bargains can be had between $10-16, and decent wines can be found from $18-30.
Steeped in history and blessed with a rich combination of soil, climate, and weather, Bordeaux wine isn’t just a wine for the elite, but an everyday dinner companion, deserving of exploration. And while it may seem intimidating, with the various classification systems, and more than 50 subregions, the savory character of Bordeaux can be a welcome relief from the fruit-driven, hot wines of the New World.