Are Bordeaux wines still relevant?
Bordeaux wine – Prestige, accomplishment and a sense of self-actualization. Have you ever felt those feelings when buying a bottle of wine? I have many times and it first happened after bringing home my very first fine Bordeaux wine.
My introduction to fine Bordeaux was Les Carruades de Lafite 1996. I was in my early 20s and felt uneasy spending $75 on one bottle of wine. However, I allowed my subjective feelings overcome the decision and ended up buying the bottle. As I held the bottle, I remember feeling so good about myself, and accomplished. It is crazy, when you think about it. All of this reaction to a simple bottle of wine!
Needless to say, the wine lived up to my expectations. This Carruades was one of the finest Bordeaux that I have ever tasted. A blend of 63% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 37% Merlot, it was about as potent and elegant as well. On the palate, it was well balanced with the perfect blend of oak, texture and length. I did not know it yet but the Lafite was my introduction to Classical French wines.
What is a classic Bordeaux wine?
In pure wine theory, Bordeaux wines embody the perfect representation of a regional style or a type of wine. The Bordelais are masters of the blend and those qualities help deliver the finesse, balance and length of their wines. In my experience, sipping a Bordeaux is like contemplating a neoclassical work of art. It is all about an appreciation for harmony, proportion and symmetry. It is a beautiful experience but sometimes if aggressively pursued could leave the wine soulless.
Do I despise neoclassical art? Not really. From time to time, I love to contemplate a painting by Marat or Godward. These are pristine pieces and many times I have experienced beauty but in the end there is an unfulfilled longing for something more emotional.
This parallel can be drawn to the Bordeaux wine scene of course with a few exceptions. The neoclassical style in Bordeaux was cemented with the 1855 classification and reached its apex with the influence of Parker-Rolland. These are wine masterpieces perfect in form and geometry. In other words, they are highly cerebral or technical wines.
My preferred style of Bordeaux wine is Crus Bourgeois. While still neoclassic in nature, it has some flairs of romanticism. This category is a social class below the Aristocratic classed growths. There are many estates from the tiniest to the largest such as Chateau Larose-Trintaudon. In the Bourgeois category beyond quality/price ratio, you can also find a more personal intimate style.
Is Bordeaux wine still relevant? Very much so. However, the region as a whole gives the impression of being stuffy, elitist and not very approachable to the wine consumer. When I think of Bordeaux, I think of the art snob that wants to talk the talk about contemporary art to fit in with upper class society. The challenge to Bordeaux in the coming post-coronavirus years will be to wash out this disdainful image.
As Dave McIntyre says: “Bordeaux remains the benchmark reference point for all red wines, especially blends, made from the traditional Bordeaux grapes of cabernet sauvignon, cabernet franc, malbec, merlot and petit verdot.” This is a solid relevant statement that set the benchmark for blend based wines.
Château Larose-Trintaudon (main photo)
The legacy of Chateau Larose Trintaudon goes back to 1719, when the estate was known as Larose Perganson. For a brief period of time, the wine was traded under both names, Larose Perganson and Larose Trintaudon.
The gorgeous chateau was constructed in 1870 by Comte Ernest de Lahens. Through the late 1800’s, the property was much bigger than today. During his tenure, the count was able to increase the size of their vineyards to 345 hectares of vines.
In 1963, after having been in the hands of the great Spanish general Duke Del Infantado, the domaine Trintaudon was acquired by the Forner family, who were already business owners of Château Camensac and Marqués de Caceres in Rioja and Bordeaux respectively.
In 1986, the insurance company Allianz bought the domain, now one of the largest vineyards in the Medoc both in terms of size and production, based on the great potential of its ‘terroir’ It has since built up a fine reputation and is now considered one of the very best cru bourgeois by the Bordeaux wine industry.
Chateau Larose Trintaudon 2015 | $18.95 LCBO #690452
Under $30, This Bordeaux is one of the finest in his category. The nose is complex enough to deliver tones of cedar, vanilla, blackcurrants complemented by cigar box aromas. Rich and voluptuous in the palate with fieldberry tones and delicate roasted herbes de provences nuances. Long and distinguished finale. Perfect pairing with a grilled flank steak served over grilled asparagus.
Pairing Prosecco and popcorn!
I am not joking you when I say that this is a wonderful combination. Imagine it for a moment. You are sitting in your sunny terrace snacking on a bowl of buttery salted popcorn. The first morsels are great but then your palate gets tired, saturated with all that butter and salt
Reach for that chilled bottle of prosecco and let the bubbles and acidity do the magic of washing and cleansing your palate. It’s a perfect combination as you can now indulge in eating more popcorn.
Villa Sandi Il Fresco Prosecco LCBO $15.95 394387
A beautiful and easygoing Prosecco. Very enticing aromas of ripe apple, lemon cream with subtle nuances of mountain flowers. Lovely freshness and crisp finale. Highly recommended especially during the warm weather that is settling slowly in our province.
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