I was JUST getting my guests and blog readers comfortable with purchasing and drinking wines from Bordeaux, France until the French had to go putting the names and percentages of the grapes used in many of their wines..Grrrrr!! I understand the reasoning to help Americans understand Bordeaux and sell more wine but they made it more difficult due to the average wine consumer having pre-conceived notions of what grapes they like and what grapes they don’t. So, I thought I would break it down for you and yes I am talking to you Merlot Haters out there that had no idea that Petrus one of the most expensive bottles of Wine from Bordeaux in the Thousands Of Dollars price range, was 100% Of the grape you think you don’t like. Let’s start from square one!
Above is the Bordeaux Wine Region Map. Dividing these regions running North To South , the Blue Area is the GIRONDE RIVER. See all the villages on the LEFT BANK of the River such as St. Estephe, Pauillac (PO-YACK), St, Julien, Margaux use a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon as The DOMINANT GRAPE and Merlot, Cabernet Franc , Petit Verdot and Malbec in smaller percentages if any at all. Villages on the RIGHT BANK of the River such as, Pomerol, Cotes de Castillion, St Emilion, use MERLOT as the DOMINANT GRAPE with a blend of Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Petit Verdot, and Malbec in smaller percentages if any at all (Petrus is 100% Merlot from the Right Bank From Pomerol) NOW, this doesn’t mean if you think you are a CAB DRINKER and Don’t Care For Merlot or Vice Versa that you should be looking for wines from those regions that have your favorite grape. This is Bordeaux not American Wine. This is a completely different style of Wine. Even in the movie “Sideways” where the famous line of the main character Miles was “I ONLY DRINK PINOT NOIR. I AM NOT DRINKING ANY EFFING MERLOT!”, that same character that drove Merlot sales in the toilet drank a 1962 Chateau Cheval Blanc from ST. EMILION which is on the RIGHT BANK and a MERLOT Dominant Wine!! Makes you want to watch it again doesn’t it?? What the character was saying was I believe, he didn’t want to drink American Merlot but his favorite wine was a MERLOT Dominant Wine from Bordeaux. With that issue hopefully clear in your minds lets show you a couple of wines I have tasted recently from the Left Bank and The Right Bank of Bordeaux that you can find at an ABC Fine Wine And Spirits near you in Florida.
This is Left Bank Bordeaux with involvement of the Rothschild Family (Produce Famous Chateau Lafite Rothschild $1500 Retail) This is from one of the boldest areas on the Left Bank, Pauillac. Yes sadly it says the percentages of the grapes used on the back label. It is 80% (Left Bank) Cabernet Sauvignon and 20% Merlot. On Sale at the time of this writing for $44.99 usually $57.00 per bottle. Deep crimson. Classically elegant, combining spicy aromas (vanilla, licorice) with subtle oaky hints (mocha). After aeration, (at least one HOUR maybe two)the nose opens up to reveal menthol and dried flower aromas. A POWERFUL well-structured wine on the palate, with dense, silky tannins and a long, fresh finish.
No we go to the Right Bank. I think besides Pomerol and Petrus the most sought after wines come from St Emilion. They are usually Merlot Dominant (Right Bank) And some Cabernet Sauvignon or Cabernet Franc (Mostly The Latter). Pricing varies if it is GRAND CRU (A Vineyard Designated as a higher quality of grapes) but usually from $30-$50. Now check out the way I want you to find the value in Bordeaux:
This is a downsized version of the Right Bank. St Emilion is where I spoke about above. The wine above that paragraph in the picture 2012 Chateau Feret-Lambert is not from St. Emilion but from a small area just slightly south of there called Grezillac (GRAZE–YAK) The wine is 90% Merlot and 10% Cabernet Sauvignon. Wine Enthusiast Rates this vintage 90 Points. Robert Parker always called Feret- Lambert the Hidden Secret of Bordeaux. Rich and juicy, it offers soft tannins and full-bodied black fruits. A firmer structure underneath this ripe character will allow it to age. Round and generous. To be quite honest I couldn’t tell it wasn’t from St. Emilion and to be honest I think it is drinking better now than the Left Bank Wines that need 2 hours of Aeration to be approachable. The big payoff… This wine because it is not in the Zip Code of St Emilion you pay $18.99 per bottle. I love a wine like this to provide value. This is a Steak Wine all the way. Now breathe before you buy and remember we started off with calming the Anti Merlot Drinkers dwon.. I hope. This is not like an American Merlot based wine. This is pretty darn structured and generous and very affordable RIGHT BANK that doesn’t Break your Credit Card From CITIBANK. I hope this makes Bordeaux a little less intimidating for you. Remember if you live in Florida you can always stop in to one of our many ABC Fine Wine Locations and talk to your Wine And Spirits Specialist or Order Online at http://www.abcfws.com or even get these wines or others delivered to your home by signing up for an account with SHIPT, or INSTACART. Of course if you are a blog follower, now matter where you live in the 50 states you have my cell phone number to contact me for wine suggestions or questions 24/7, Don’t Be afraid of Bordeaux. There are some really great values out there on quality wines.
Grape-fully yours, Larry