Bordeaux is one of the wine world’s natural wonders, exciting connoisseurs with its elegant, refined, and complex wines. This is the largest high-quality wine-producing region in the world and has been exporting its legendary wines for centuries, all over the world, but particularly to the United Kingdom due to history and vigorous marketing of English wine merchants.
Bordeaux classified chateaux (there are 65 out of some 12 000) are the best known and most written about, but there are thousands of others that make fine wines at reasonable cost. The world famous chateau production is at most five per cent of the total, and correspondingly very expensive pending the quality of vintage and economic condition in its important markets, i.e the United Kingdom, the U.S.A, and Japan.
Bordeaux is best known for its fragrant, refined, medium- to full bodied red wines, but also produces huge amounts of dry white wine and appreciable amounts of sweet libations that are capable of aging for decades.
The officially sanctioned major grape varieties for red wines are: cabernet sauvignon, cabernet franc, merlot, malbec, petit verdot, and carmenere, and for whites sauvignon blanc, semillon and muscadelle.
Cabernet sauvingon is dark-skinned, yields wines that smell of cassis and raspberries, are elegant, and age well.
Cabernet franc offers floral smells, and provides spice in a blend. It prefers cool inland climates, ripens early, and in St. Emilion is preferred to cabernet sauvignon.
Merlot smells of black cherries, plums and herbs. It contains less tannins and generally blended with cabernet sauvignon to soften it.
Petit verdot is used in very small quantities to provide depth and colour.
Malbec contributes to colour and texture. Now many estates use very little or none of it in their blends.
Practically all Bordeaux wines are blended to achieve flavour, depth, textural elegance and balance.
Sauvignon blanc offers grassy and green fruit flavours, adding zest to semillon.
Semilloon has a “fat” mouthful and smooth texture with superb fruitiness. Generally blended with sauvignon blanc and occasionally with muscadelle.
Muscadelle is extremely fruity and offers muscat flavours.
In Bordeaux the 2005 vintage was very successful, and yielded powerful, balanced, cellar worthy wines that could be excellent investments, but only if judiciously chosen.
Classified chateaux wines are expensive and the worldwide financial crisis has contributed to decreasing sales.
Below find some lesser known, but very fine chateaux wines you can try:
Chateau de Pez, 2005, St. Estephe
Firm berry flavours and other fruit aromas dominate. Should be cellared for four to five years for optimal drinking.
717389 $ 63.95
Château Loudenne, 2001, Medoc
A fine wine from a well-managed property. Medium-bodied, fruity and well-balanced.
087718 $ 38.95
La Dame de Malescot, 2005, Margaux
This is the second label of the respected Chateau Malescot St. Exubery. The wine represents good value, is well balanced, and particularly well suited for grilled lamb chops or roast leg of lamb.
079269 $ 51.95
Chateau La Couronne, 2005, St. Emilion Blackberry aromas waft out of the glass. In the mouth, vanilla and dark chocolate flavours are noticeable. Full bodied and still somewhat tannic, this wien would benefit from two to three years of cellaring.
606640 $ 29.95
Chateau de Roques Merlot, 2005, Premier Cotes de Bordeaux.
This “right bank” Bordeaux offers great value, flavour, and balance. The property (Chateau Lezongras) is well managed and produces consistently fine wines at reasonable cost.
087726 $ 17.95