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Cru Krewe – May 2017

By May 27, 2017Cru Krewe

Bordeaux!

Where to begin when discussing Bordeaux?  That is tough question to answer.  Let’s start with a few basics.  Bordeaux is the world’s most famous wine-producing region (Sorry Burgundy or Napa!).  It produces age-worthy white, red and sweet wines.  What other region can claim as much?  None.

What are the wines produced in Bordeaux?  A quick look at the geography and terroir of western France will give us some context.  Bordeaux is a port city on the Gironde River.  Upstream are two important tributaries: the Garonne and Dordogne Rivers.  These waterways play an important factor in three ways: mediating the cool temperatures found at the 45th parallel, increasing humidity (instrumental in grape rot which produces the king of dessert wines, Sauternes) and serving as informal boundaries between Bordeaux’s many sub-regions.

Generally, the region is split into ‘left bank’ and ‘right bank’: Medoc and Graves on the west (or ‘left bank’ of the Gironde River), St. Emilion and Pomerol on the east (or ‘right bank’ of the Gironde).  Between these two is Entre-Deux-Mers (‘between the two seas’).

Most of the famous communes exist on the gravelly highlands of the left bank: Margaux, Pauillac, St-Julien, Pauillac, and St Estephe.

Bordeaux is most famous for producing Cabernet Sauvignon, but it’s most widely planted grape is Merlot.  Merlot dominates on the right bank, where wetter, cooler soils make it difficult for Cabernet Sauvignon to ripen (Cabernet Sauvignon loves heat – witness Napa Valley!)  Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot also grown here and play supporting roles in a traditional blend.  A red Bordeaux is almost always a blend Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot.  The wines age in oak barrels.  Typical aromas and flavors are cassis, plum, pencil lead, cedar, and violets.  The reds can be quite tannic and structured.

Bordeaux’s white and sweet wines are based on Sauvignon Blanc & Semillon.  There is also a very small percentage of Muscadelle produced but it is never more than a bit player.  Dry white wines are predominantly Sauvignon Blanc blended with some Semillon.  Typical aromas for the whites are lemon curd, gooseberry, white flowers, honey, and fresh herbs.  The sweet wines are usually Semillon-based, as it is greatly affected by botrytis, or noble rot, which dehydrates grapes, concentrates the grapes’ sugars, and adds an exotic spicy, honeyed character to a Sauternes or Barsac.

That’s a lot information, I know.  What is important to take away is that Bordeaux produces great wines of all different types, price points, and styles.  We have chosen a few examples this month to get you started, minus the dessert wine.  We are pouring a great Sauternes in the Wine Bar, please stop in and have a taste!

MOULIN D’ISSAN 2014 (Bordeaux Superior) – RED

 Grapes: 90{8a779485a35888273496f0b72dc634490a1f8dcc316116b0257b1d61f66eee22} Merlot, 10{8a779485a35888273496f0b72dc634490a1f8dcc316116b0257b1d61f66eee22} Cabernet Sauvignon

Aging: Mix of new & used French oak

Farming: Sustainable

Chateau d’Issan is one of the oldest wine producing properties in the Medoc as well as in all of Bordeaux. In 1152, the wine produced by what we know of as Chateau d’Issan today, was served for the royal wedding between Eleanor of Aquitaine and King Henri II!

Moulin d’Issan originates in the chateau’s Bordeaux Supérieur AOC plots, very close to the Gironde Estuary and right across the street from its’ famed Margaux vineyards. The soil there is mainly clayey limestone (marl) and particularly suited to Merlot (very unique in the Medoc where Cabernet Sauvignon is king).  The ruins of a 17th century windmill, which gave this wine its name, are in the middle of the vineyard.

 Look for: Plum & cassis fruit with hints of graphite, cedar, cocoa, smoke & spice.  Full mid-palette with smooth but present tannins on the finish.  Perfect with red meat, game dishes, or as an everyday sipper for those of us who like big & bold reds.

$20 / Bottle

 

CHATEAU DE GIRONVILLE 2012 (Haut-Medoc) – RED

 Grapes: 50{8a779485a35888273496f0b72dc634490a1f8dcc316116b0257b1d61f66eee22} Cabernet Sauvignon, 30{8a779485a35888273496f0b72dc634490a1f8dcc316116b0257b1d61f66eee22} Merlot , 20{8a779485a35888273496f0b72dc634490a1f8dcc316116b0257b1d61f66eee22} Petit Verdot

Aging: 12 months in a mix of new & used French oak

Farming: Sustainable

The creation of Chateau de Gironville dates back to the very late 1800’s.  During the early 1900’s, the vineyard belonged to the mayor of Bordeaux. In the late 1920’s, at the height of the depression, the estate fell into a state of disrepair. Most of the vines were removed in 1929, so other crops and trees could be planted, as that would be more profitable than making wine!  1987 marked the rebirth of Chateau de Gironville.  The Mercier brothers and Remy Fouin planted the vineyard and returned Chateau de Gironville to a working vineyard and chateau.  Current owners, the Mulliez family, have owned the estate since 2004 – Isabelle heads up the operation while raising 5 children!

The vineyard is located in the commune of Macau in the Haut Medoc appellation, not far from the southern tip of Margaux. This area is known for making open, approachable wines that can be enjoyed upon release.

Look for: a juicy, fruit-driven wine with lots of dark currant & dark cherry with licorice & sweet spice flourishes.  Quite full yet very drinkable, the wine is great by itself or with red meats from the grill.

$20 / Bottle

 

CHATEAU GRAVILLE-LACOSTE 2015 (Graves) – White

Grapes: 75{8a779485a35888273496f0b72dc634490a1f8dcc316116b0257b1d61f66eee22} Semillon, 20{8a779485a35888273496f0b72dc634490a1f8dcc316116b0257b1d61f66eee22} Sauvignon Blanc, 5{8a779485a35888273496f0b72dc634490a1f8dcc316116b0257b1d61f66eee22} Muscadelle

Aging: All stainless steel for 6 months

Farming: Sustainable

Hervé Dubourdieu’s easy charm and modest disposition are complemented by his focus and ferocious perfectionism. He prefers to keep to himself, spending most of his time in his vineyards in the Sauternes and Graves appellations. Durbourdieu produces wines from 3 appellations across Bordeaux: Roûmieu-Lacoste, situated in Haut Barsac, originates from his mother’s side of the family, dating back to 1890, Château Graville-Lacoste in Graves and Château Ducasse in Bordeaux Blanc.

This month’s wine, Graville-Lacoste, is located in Graves.  40 to 50 year-old vines are grown clay/limestone soils.  Somewhat atypically (you know how we do it at Cru Cellars!), the blend is based on Semillon.  Sauvignon Blanc plays a supporting role.

Look for: Pure & lively stone fruit, citrus zest, stony minerality & subtle hints of fresh-cut grass.  Medium-bodied & very refreshing.  Perfect as an apertif or with mild cheeses or seafood.

$20 / Bottle

 

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