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.

Merlot

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

Perfect for Grilling Season: Chateau de Bel, Bordeaux 2009 [WINE REVIEW]

FILED UNDER: Know Your Bordeaux, Ratings and Reviews

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Chateau de Bel, Bordeaux 2009
Tasting notes from our Le Wine Buff Megan Wiig:

In the glass, it’s deep and dark and has the color and aromas you can expect from a rich Bordeaux. On the palate, it’s plummy, dark blackberry and cassis, fresh fruit flavors, with cedar and spicy undertones. Not too oaky, but with a nice oak undertone. Will go well with pasta dishes, hamburgers, or anything on the grill.

View more of our Today’s Bordeaux video reviews over at our Vimeo page.

Rainy Day Wine: La Victoire, 2008

FILED UNDER: Know Your Bordeaux, Ratings and Reviews

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La Victoire, 2008

Tasting notes from our Le Wine Buff Megan Wiig:

From Cotes de Blaye – A blend of merlot and cabernet. On the nose, it’s perfumed with rose components and wonderful spice. The fruit is red: red plum, cherry and raspberry on the palate. Will go with a wide range of foods.

View more of our Today’s Bordeaux video reviews over at our Vimeo page.

“FROM BARREL TO BOTTLE” Bordeaux Right Bank Wine Tasting

FILED UNDER: Bordeaux events, Wine Events

[Photos taken on Instagram]

Last week we had the chance to attend the From Barrel to Bottle Tasting Event hosted by Le Cercle Rive Droite de Grands Vins de Bordeaux and Wine Enthusiast at the gorgeous French Consulate in NYC.

35 prestigious vineyards of the Right Bank poured their 2011 vintage, along with an additional collection of the top wines of 2009. The Cercle Rive Droite de Grands Vins de Bordeaux was founded in 2002, and is comprised of 139 chateau and 19 appellations located on the right bank of the Gironde. The sub-regions of the Right Bank, including Satin Emilion and Pomerol, are known to possess the ultimate Merlot-growing terroir.


We were happy to meet the wine producers, and the charming Le Wine Buff Megan Wiig joined us for the tasting and dinner. The French Consulate displayed magnificent 18th century Gobelin tapestry and a great view of Central Park. The special treat of the tasting was the authentic Bordeaux canelés from Patissiere Céline Legros. Addictive!

For the reality show fans, Countess LuAnn de Lesseps from The Real Housewives of New York City attended the event in support of her boyfriend Jaques Azoulay.

Dinner was held at the Benoit Restaurant (by Alain Ducasse), which included the winemakers, trade, and media. We were happy to sit and enjoy the dinner with winemakers Marion Béchu of Grand Vin de Reignac and Balthus, Jean-François Quenin of Chateau de Pressac (who happens to be the President of the Conseils des Vins de Saint Emilion), and Brigitte Bourlon from Chateau Guibot La Fourvieille – who we have met before while filming our Women in Bordeaux series.


A special thanks to Pierrick Bouquet for the invite! Check out all the photos on Flickr or on our Instagram profile. Cheers!

Today’s Bordeaux: Chateau de la Grave, 2010

FILED UNDER: Know Your Bordeaux, White Wine

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Today’s Bordeaux: Chateau de La Grave, 2010

[70% Semillon blanc, 30% Columbard]

And the tasting notes from our Le Wine Buff Megan Wiig:

White wine from the appellation Cotes de Bourg, where you can find great value. No sauvignon blanc in this bottle. It is delicious! The Semillon adds a lot of great texture to this wine. Pure fruit and citrus. The nose is ripe, fruity, and bright. Will go well with scallops, sea food, goat cheese, or a light salad.

View more of our Today’s Bordeaux video reviews over at our Vimeo page.