The label

Your epicurean accomplice

The label serves as an “ID card” – a complete profile of the wine. It bears obligatory information such as the Appellation d’Origine Contrôlée, the country of origin and the alcohol content. Other information is optional, such as the name of the estate or the grape variety.

  • Bottler name/Bottling company name
  • Country of origin
  • T.A.V.
    (Titre Alcoométrique Acquis):
    Alcohol by volume
  • The label must mention
    the Bordeaux region.
  • Reference to Bordeaux
    de la and name of the « Appellation d'Origine
    Protégée » or
    « Appellation d'Origine Contrôlée ».
  • Batch identification number.
  • Volume of wine in the bottle.

 Avoid alcohol if pregnant or trying to conceive

Contains sulfites

The bottle

The right-sized bottle

In Bordeaux, as in other wine regions, each bottle size has its own name. The bigger the size, the longer it must be stored and the more festive the consumption!

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The Carafe

The ideal

Wine needs oxygen to be able to release its aromas, and oxygen is a wine’s best friend...or worst enemy! Upon contact with air, wine passes chronologically from the “closed” stage to the “aerated” stage and, lastly, to “oxidized”. To reach the “aerated” stage that is best for consuming wine, you must have a suitable carafe.

For young wines

The carafe should be flared to give the wine a greater surface area to come in contact with the air, which encourages aeration (or “breathing”) and intensifies its aromatic expression.

For older wines

The carafe should be narrower to reduce the wine’s surface area for more delicate aeration (decanting).

Preconceived notions

about carafing/decanting a wine

A delicate, careful technique is needed to ensure a wine is at its peak when consumed. And anyone can achieve this as long as certain practices are respected.

Decanting and carafing are more or less the same thing.

Not at all! Carafing is done with young wines and is based on the principle of oxygenation to release the wine’s aromas and complexity. Decanting applies to older wines to remove the deposits that have condensed at the bottom of the bottle over time.

A young red wine does not need to be carafed

Yes, it does! Carafing, the act of putting wine in a carafe, is a technique designed for young wines, generally seven years old or less. If a young red wine is consumed immediately after opening, it will have a tannic character that can be disagreeable and the aromas will not have found full expression – this is known as a wine’s being “closed”. Oxygenation lets the wine express itself fully, with silkier tannins and fuller aromas.

Carafing is only for red wines

Not true! Certain prestigious white wines, from Pessac-Léognan or Sauternes, for example, also do well with aeration.

Calculating carafing time is tricky business

Though this might be true to some degree, the overall guideline is simple: the more tannic the wine, the more time it needs in a carafe to fully express its character. An aeration period of 30-45 minutes is generally enough to allow the full complexity to unfold.

Deposits in wine are abnormal

Not at all! Quite the opposite, in fact: they are the natural evidence of the time the wine has spent in in the bottle.
These deposits vary in shape and density depending on the wine type, cru and vintage. The deposits need to be separated from the wine by gently transferring the wine into a decanting carafe.

Decanting an old wine is risky

It does require great delicacy. An old wine has a marvelous, but very fragile, balance, which can be destroyed in a few seconds by the wine coming into abrupt contact with the air. Before decanting, remember to taste the wine to see if it can undergo such an operation without adverse impact.

Bordeaux wines love glass in its many forms

The diversity of Bordeaux wines lends itself naturally to entertaining, and there are glasses to bring the best out of every vintage! Whether it is a refreshing, young, or tannic wine, here are some useful tips to help a wine express its many qualities.

The right balance

Red wines are much richer in phenolic compounds (or polyphenols) than white wines. So it is important to balance these two forces, the tannins and the alcohol, in the glass. Some glasses limit the strength of tannins, others the sensation of alcohol.

Choose a stemmed, footed glass

To avoid heating the wine with your hand. Fill the bowl of the glass to one third its height for maximum aeration surface, which will be about 12 cl of wine.

The universal “tulip” shape

This is the traditional “INAO” tasting glass. Wider toward the bowl’s bottom, narrower at the top, this shape is impeccably designed to let the glass play its dual role: allow the aromas to develop in the glass, then concentrate them towards the nose. Your best bet!

The Bordeaux glass, of course !

Tall with a broad bowl, allowing the wine to flow directly to the base of the tongue (back of the mouth, with greater capacity for sensing acidity). This prevents tannins from spreading and drying out the mouth. The desired effect is a powerful nose and precision on the palate.

Does each wine type have its own glass?

Today’s professional glassmakers create dedicated models for a particular grape variety or a very specific wine, like glasses made for whisky, which will decrease the perception of alcohol vapors and augment aromatic complexity. To each his own: have a diverse collection, choose a versatile glass for practical reasons, stay with the classics – it’s your choice!

Glass or crystal?

Crystal glasses have greater brilliance than other glasses, but are often more expensive, fragile, and harder to come by! Most brands choose Kwarx or Tritan, which are resistant and transparent. While a glass’ delicacy may bring out some qualities in the wine, it also means it is very fragile!

35 is the magic number!

This is the ideal capacity for a wine glass, a volume perfectly suited the great red wines while richer, sweeter wines achieve better balance in smaller glasses.

Stopper

The conservation challenge

Bottle of Bordeaux seeks ideal stopper for perfect storage experience…

They all have the same initial function: providing a hermetic seal for the bottle. But wine must also be able to breathe a bit to start its aging process (the oxidoreduction phenomenon). A little air, but not too much! The long-favored cork stopper provides the guarantees needed, alongside other alternatives, such as aluminum and plastic.

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