The region of Bordeaux in France is a leading destination for lovers of the fine red and white wine markets and is a gold standard for the world’s winemakers. The city, with its well-known estates and beautiful and plentiful chateaux, is on the left bank of the Atlantic Ocean side of the Garonne and Gironde Rivers, and on the right bank of the Dordogne river, which feeds into the Gironde. This area between the rivers is Entre Deux Mers, which means ‘between two seas’ in French, which has only a small amount of the area’s 120,000ha of vines that stretch across Aquitaine and can trace their ancestral roots back to when the Romans ruled there about 2,000 years ago.
There are numerous red and white wine grape varieties. The best-known in red wine is Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot as the dominant varieties with the Cabernet Franc being the third most-utilized grape. It is actually the blending of the varieties of grapes that produces the unique wines of that region.
Every grape varietal adds different characteristics that are shaped by the fruit, the grape clusters, colors, the shape of the leaves, the aromas. acidity, tannin, and alcohol. The many facets are in the “Vitis vinifera,” the variety of the differences in the grapevines from one grapevine to another in that section of France.
The Red Bordeaux Blend is the most famous and is also simpler with a mixture of several grapes but with the two-star players: Cabernet Sauvignon, which is usually more than 60% of the blend, and Merlot. Other grapes may be Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot which is usually under 2%, and Malbec, which has been disappearing from most of the wines because it has not been growing well.
Cabernet Sauvignon is the most famous red wine grape variety in the world. Its origins were in Bordeaux, but it has spread to almost every wine-growing country as the key grape variety in many first-rate wine regions including Napa Valley in the USA.
The character traits are a deep color, a dense leaf canopy, moderate acidity, good tannin structure, and the production of relatively high grape yields. Being late-flowering and late-ripening, the grapes mature slowly and give a wider choice of harvest dates. The exquisite aromas are black currant, dark spices, tomato leaf, and cedarwood.
This red wine grape is widely planted in the world’s wine regions across the world and is rivaled only by Cabernet Sauvignon in the volume produced internationally, It is the predominant variety in most wines from Pomerol and Saint-Émilion, where it originated. The most famous varietal is Petrus from Pomerol and is highly-collectible, depending on the vintage, and can cost several thousand dollars.
Merlot is early-maturing and can fully ripen even in slightly cooler climates even though the early-developing flowers are more susceptible to any frost damage in the spring. The flavors imparted are not easily grouped and have a particular texture instead of a particular taste. Black and plum cherry are among the most common descriptors that are fruit-based. The wines are “easy-drinking,” rounded, and smooth due mainly to the grapes being relatively large in relation to the pips and the thickness of the skin, which contains the tannins.
Food matches for Merlot include pork belly baked in miso, Osso Bucco which is braised veal shanks, ane Feijoada which is Brazilian pork and black-bean stew.
If you are a wine lover, these wines are probably among your favorites to be regularly enjoyed. They have an irresistible lure and rest joyfully on your palette!