Skip to main content

Bordeaux Notes- Tasting the Left Bank

Bordeaux's famed Left Bank includes the land west of the Gironde Estuary and the Garonne River. It stretches from the Medoc Peninsula to Graves. The soils are gravel based making it the perfect home for warm gravel loving Cabernet Sauvignon. This combination of soil and grapes leads to firmly structured wines with good amounts of tannin and a flavor profile that may include dark fruit, cassis, graphite, tobacco, cedar, pepper, coffee or cocoa. 

Bordeaux is usually a blended wine but that is not mandated by law. The blend for each Chateau is usually determined by the type of soils they possess. In the north, the soils get heavier with more clay making Merlot increasingly important.
Starting in the north, the Medoc is a sub-region of Bordeaux.
Chateau Greysac Medoc 2004 ($20)- 50% Merlot, 40% Cabernet Sauvignon, 8% Cabernet Franc and 2% Petit Verdot. Clear, deep garnet going brickish at the rim. Clean, medium+ intensity, developing aromas of mixed red and black fruit with cedar and cigar box. Dry, medium body, acid, alcohol and tannin with flavors of black berries and cherries with tobacco ending with a medium length finish. Good/Drink now.

Next is the largest of the six communes, Saint-Estephe. In the past, its wines were thought to mature more slowly (meaning lacking charm in youth) than its southern neighbors. Even in the famed 1855 Classification, only five wines were noted and none received 1st Growth status. In recent years, more Merlot is showing up in many winemaker's blends making for more approachable upon release wines.
Chateau Montrose Saint-Estephe 2004  ($75)- Clear, medium+ ruby color going garnet on the rim. Clean, medium+ developing aromas of black fruit, sage, leather and a bit of black olive. Dry, medium+ body, acidity, alcohol and tannins with a juicy black currant medium+ length finish. Very good/ drink now, has some aging potential.

Continuing south to the Haut Medoc sub-region, the general appellation for the vineyards north of the city of Bordeaux up to the Medoc border. Cru Bourgeois wines are important here although there are also 5 classed growths.
Chateau La Tour Carnet Grand Cru Classe Haut Medoc 2006 ($37) - Clear, deep ruby. Clean, medium intense developing aromas of fresh blackberries with cigar and pencil box. Dry, medium+ body/alcohol, medium acidity and medium+ tannins with a medium length blackberry/cocoa finish. Very good/drink now.

On down to the Graves sub-region. Graves is historically significant as the location of Bordeaux's first vineyards. Wine styles include dry red and white and also sweet white under the Graves Superieures AC.
Chateau Cabannieux Reserve Graves Grand Vin de Bordeaux 2000  ($27) - Clear, deep garnet with a brickish rim. Clean, medium intense, fully-developed aromas of black fruit, cedar and cigar box. Dry, medium body/alcohol, medium+ acidity and tannins, flavors mirroring aromas with a medium+ length finish. Good+/drink now.

Within Graves is the commune appellation of Pessac-Leognan. They produce both Cab-dominated reds and light whites from Sauvignon Blanc and Semillion blends. 
Chateau Haut-Bergey Pessac-Leognan 2006  ($43) - Clear, medium lemon yellow color with a watery rim. Clean, medium intense developing aromas of citrus and smoke. Dry, medium+ body, acidity and alcohol with flavors of lemon, flint and smoke with a medium length finish. Good/Drink now.

Also within Graves lies the Sauternes appellation which includes five communes on the bank of the Cirons River. This area has a unique macro-climate making it the perfect place to produce botrytized sweet wines.
Chateau Doisy-Vedrines Grand Cru Classe Sauternes 2003 ($29/half bottle) - 
Clear, medium gold color. Clean, medium intense developing aromas of apricot and honey with a bit of canned mushroom and a bit of sulfur. Sweet, medium everything with a medium length honeyed finish. Good/drink now.
Chateau Coutet Premier Cru Classe 2005 ($40/half bottle) -
Clear, medium gold color. Clean, medium intense developing aromas of nectarine, apricot, marmalade and honey with a surprising bit of kerosene. Sweet, medium+ everything with a long-length honeyed finish. Outstanding/drink now or hold.

Related Posts:
Chateau Lafon Rochet 2005
Notes from a Bordeaux Wine Tasting
Bordeaux- Regional Notes

Comments

  1. Sandra. this is such an amazing post, I felt like I was on a reverse Lewis & Clark expedition, needing a map, trying to get a grasp of the appellation's sample (Flora-Fauna) that you provided, and how taxonomically a wine taster may approach this ever-so-complex exploration; this is as "good as it gets".
    I would say just this piece of the puzzle made plain: " Bordeaux is usually a blended wine but that is not mandated by law." is "bringing the cookie-jar down from the shelf so as the little children may reach them."
    Sincerely,
    Dennis

    ReplyDelete

Post a Comment

Thank you for reading Wine Life - Houston.

Popular posts from this blog

Nocera - A Native Grape from Sicily

Nocera is a native grape from Sicily. It comes from the Messina province which is located in the northeast. Nocera is a quality red wine grape that is most known as a blender in the red wines of the Faro DOC. I had the opportunity to taste some pure versions (which according to Wine Searcher are rare) this week at a trade tasting held at Roma Restaurant in Houston. Wine production in the region dates back to the 14th Century BC, however, phylloxera decimated the vineyard area in 1881 leaving it at a fraction of its original size. The area boasts a Mediterranean climate with sunny days and coastal breezes, moderate rainfall, and mild winters, all ideal for grape growing. The Nocera grape is a bluish/black color and has a thick skin which allows for the production of structured wines with prominent tannins which are balanced by good acidity. High alcohol is common. Red wines produced from the grapes are an intense ruby color with purple highlights and aromas and flavors of dark fruits a

The Villa Sandi Houston Sommelier Competition Winners

This past Sunday, Taste of Italy - Houston held The Villa Sandi Houston Sommelier Competition at the Hilton Post Oak in collaboration with the Italian American Chamber of Commerce . The competition was orchestrated to help local sommeliers hone their both their service and test taking skills while showcasing their knowledge of all things wine. Competitors started with a deductive tasting and theory exam and concluded with a table service exam. The winners were announce on Monday morning at the opening of the Taste of Italy - Houston. Tony Elsinga won the top prize of $750 along with a trip to Italy. Mark Fusco was the first runner up also winning $750 and and Carlos Rosas was the second runner up earning a $500 prize. Each winner also was a gifted a jerobaum bottle of Villa Sandi Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore.  The competition was originally conceived by Jaime Deleon , the Adult Beverage Sales Manager for Kroger's Houston Division and an Advanced Sommelier in the Court of Mast

The Ultimate Zinfandel Experience - ZinEX

In the September issue of Galveston Monthly, I'm celebrating California Wine Month with the Golden State's signature grape, Zinfandel. I am also sharing information on the ultimate experience for Zinfandel lovers, ZinEX, get more information on that event at  https://zinfandelexperience.com/