Summer School: Bordeaux 101 Meeting the Grapes

FILED UNDER: Grapes, Know Your Bordeaux, Rosé Wine, White Wine, Wine 101

Trying a new wine can be as awkward and as nerve-racking as a first date. But it doesn’t have to be. All you need is a little 411 on your potential suitor. Since it’s summer, you may be looking to meet a refreshing white or a seductive rosé. So this month, let’s begin by getting to know some of the grapes of Bordeaux before you get to the store. No need for anything serious, just browse through their profiles below.

Sauvignon Blanc

A classic coastal type seeking fun-loving foodies

Just in from France, looking for new friends to chill with. I have a dynamic, bright character. Since I’m approachable and accommodating, I get along with just about anyone. I can be serious and offer layers of intrigue, but am generally laid back.

You’ll find me surrounded by grapefruit and lemon orchards, and scented fields of fresh-cut grass. I enjoy a healthy lifestyle paired with salads, cheeses, seafood, sushi, Asian cuisines, but I also go for anything fried. What’s my ultimate comfort food? A juicy herb-roasted chicken. I came from Bordeaux with my best friends Semillon and Muscadelle, and we’re pretty inseparable – we sort of come as a package. We balance each other out, because they’re more robust and even honeyed at times, but I’m definitely the dominant personality in the group. Want to know white Bordeaux? Give me a try.


A social, rosy-cheeked delight seeking adventurous sippers

I’m easy-going and like to hang out. I’m playful, vibrant and happy, balanced with a dry sense of humor. I LOVE picnics; bringing baskets of salty snacks, crusty bread, olives, cured meats and aged cheeses to the park or chill out at the beach. I like meeting up at cafés in the late afternoon sunshine, but also enjoy candlelit dinners on a patio with simple, bistro fare. I always finish with fresh, ripe berries. If we meet, look for the one dressed all in pink – that’s me! I’m like a French kiss in a bottle. I definitely haven’t lost my French accent so if you’re into that, c’est la vie en rose for us. I go by “Marilyn Merlot” and usually blend in with bunches of Cabernet Sauvignon. If that’s sounds like you, I’m ready to open up…so let’s get to know each other!

It’s that simple. Pick up a Bordeaux based on one of these grapes and open your palate to a new world of appreciation. That’s it for this month’s Bordeaux 101 Lesson. Hope you enjoyed it.

DON’T FORGET TO DO THIS MONTH’S HOMEWORK: Learn how to describe a 2010 Bordeaux vintage with the help of our fellow Wine Buff Professor Erin McGrath: WATCH VIDEO

  • Rodney M. Sewell

    I like the short, simple, straight forward format of the Bordeaux 101 lesson. This is particularly suited
    for those of us who do not have a lot of time to spare on our pleasurable pursuits.

  • M.

    These descriptions are perfect! Definitely picking up a “French kiss in a bottle” later today.