Bordeaux wine – Bordeaux is one of the most famous and highly acclaimed wine regions in the world. Like similar wines with a long history, it is rich in tradition, so that’s why it should deserve your attention.
While both red and white Bordeaux blend are made, the name Bordeaux is primarily associated. with red wine that is crafted from blending Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Cabernet Franc , depending on the individual chateau and vintage as well.
In the Bordeaux wine region,the Gironde estuary separates the region in two banks: a left bank and a right bank.If a winery is located on the Left Bank, the blend will contain more Cabernet Sauvignon than Merlot. If the winery is instead located on the Right Bank of the river, the wine will have more Merlot in the blend than Cabernet Sauvignon.
Usually Left Bank blends containing higher tannins, alcohol and acidity. They are powerful and rich and it’s believed that they can age longer than wines from the Right Bank. The left bank have the appellations that made Bordeaux famous. These are Margaux, Lafite, Pauillac, etc.
Right bank are in general softer, less tannic and with less acidity. Because Merlot is the dominant grape, they are much more juicy and usually ready to be drunk much earlier than Left Bank Bordeaux, notwithstanding the great names such as Petrus and Cheval-Blanc.
Bordeaux success can attributed to only one single factor: Location. The region has an ideal atlantic climate and fantastic terroir for growing grapes but it is also a port city facilitating international trade which made Bordeaux a prosperous wine region.
Thanks to its popularity, there is a pool of Bordeaux on the market that bottles can be found at all levels of quality and price. Good Bordeaux from smaller producers that is meant to be drunk now can be found can be found for $15 and $25, while most age-worthy Bordeaux from the can be found starting at $30 and above. One of these producers that made wine in different quality levels is Baston & Guestier.
The house of Baston & Guestier set roots in Bordeaux with the arrival of Thomas Barton in Bordeaux in 1725. Almost 80 years after, the grandson of Thomas, Hugh entered in a partnership with Daniel Guestier, creating the house of Barton & Guestier. From the 1821, the group acquires other domains such as the famous Chateaux Langoa, Leoville and Beychevelle.
In the company of Edouard Thouvenot, export manager of Barton & Guestier, I had a chance to taste some of the prestige cuvees of the house of Barton & Guestier. The tasting took place in Europea, a most proper place to conduct a tasting of this sort. The occasion of the tasting was to present the new Bordeaux M de Magnol in the regular catalog of the SAQ. It was an excellent tasting and a once in a lifetime to taste the Langoa Barton 1960.
M de Magnol 2016 AOC Bordeaux ( Private Import, $17.95, Case of 6) was a delicate Sauvignon Blanc, reminiscent of a Chablis. Softspoken aromas of green apple, grapefruit and mint. Very light and elegant with a soft lemony acidity. A humble wine that was apotheosis with the mise en bouche of lobster cappuccino and truffle puree. This is a wine that comes from a sandy, gravelly and chalky soil in Bordeaux.
The second service brought to my attention a charming red Côtes du Bordeaux. The M de Magnol 2015 AOC Bordeaux ( SAQ # 13359274, $18.65 ). A 70% Merlot with the remaining Cabernet Sauvignon.
Une petit Bordeaux, delivering a strong echo of a classified growth. Lovely nose bringing to mind leafy blackcurrant fruit with touches of bell pepper, cacao and roasted coffee. Rich with velvety tannins, it will convert anybody to the charms of Bordeaux, if they have not tried yet. It was finely paired with a wild mushroom tart, caramelized onions and confit tomatoes. The accord gave a very pleasant earthy sensation on the palate.
For the main course, a rack of deer with an eggplant caviar, we had side by side the Magnol Haut Medoc 2014 ( Private import, $29.95, Case of 12) and the Thomas Barton Reserve Privee 2012 ( Private Import, $54.25, Case of 6). The Magnol, an almost equal blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and the remainder Cabernet Franc was a thumbs up, old school Bordeaux blend. Ravishing with notes of redcurrants and a trilogy of floral-herbaceous-earthy components, hard to pinpoint separately. Also some fine notes of roasted coffee . Very smooth and long in the palate with the wood aromas well integrated in the wine.
Definitely, the Barton Reserve Privee 2012 ( AOC Medoc) was a show stopper. For me, it epitomizes all the goodness of a young left bank Bordeaux. One of the prima operas of Barton & Guestier, this wine gave away notes of graphite, lead pencil with cigar box. In addition, cuban tobacco, cassis and black cherry. Overall, a classy Bordeaux character. On the mouth, it was all about elegance with fine tannins. This is a wine that will continue to evolve for the next two decades. Both wines were stunning with the deer, demonstrating the classic match between Bordeaux and red meat.
With the cheese course, I enjoyed the Thomas Barton Reserve Sauternes 2014 ( Private Import, $38.75, Case of 6). In general, dessert wines are not my preferred choice with a cheese course but this food accord was utterly delicious. A majority blend of 80% Semillon and 20 % Sauvignon Blanc, it had such an alluring nose bringing to mind dry panettone fruits, meyer lemons, honey and ripe tropical fruits. Balanced with a nice acidity with spices bringing to mind nutmeg and dry coconut flakes.
The last wine was just hallucinating. This was a rare opportunity to enjoy a Château Langoa-Barton a Saint-Julien 1960. This vintage has been considered one of the great Bordeaux vintages between 1959 and 1961. This is an standard Bordeaux blend of 57% Cabernet Sauvignon and 34 % Merlot. This wine represents for me what a mature Bordeaux should taste like. Graceful with subdued notes of mountain leaves, red currants, leather and cigar tobacco and wild mushrooms. In addition some notes of fig and prune jam and coffee cream. Perfect gracefulness with fine and almost aerial tannins.