Excitement in Bordeaux
Updated: Jun 16, 2022
What a week I have just had. I finally got to spend some serious time in Bordeaux after a stretch of not visiting, and had one of the wine weeks of a lifetime. There is such incredible history there from the Roman ruins to the legacy of when Aquitaine was part of England (I don’t mention this too often to the French), and then the stunning cathedral in St Emilion carved out of the limestone and rightly deserving its World Heritage Site status.
Bordeaux is at every level a wine region in evolution, as the next generation takes over the great estates like Lafite Rothschild and Margaux, and passionate children battle to preserve their heritage and family wineries. With Napoleonic law still in place which splits inherited land equally between every son and daughter, ownership can get a bit fragmented. As you can imagine, with the price of vineyard land valued from $2-10 million an acre, there’s not always agreement on whether to keep it in the family.
That being said, I was pleased to see that the new generation is easing away from the blockbuster tannic wines that have been the sweet spot for critical acclaim and moving toward a much more delicate approach in the winery, creating, in my opinion, greater elegance and expression of terroir.
The sheer size of Bordeaux is truly mind boggling, with over 7,000 wineries, and just a small rise of 15m in the landscape making the difference between some of the most sought-after wines in the world and a fun little Bordeaux Cru Bourgeois. While the world-famous Petrus from Pomerol goes for $6,000 a bottle, I found a number of true gems for under $30 a bottle, which are truly spectacular. I think these later wines, as much as I was privileged to taste the very finest wines in Bordeaux, were my most exciting take away (besides the amazing food, like the unforgettable meal I had at L'Huitrier Pie on the Right Bank).
In the coming days, I’m excited to feature some new, great-value Bordeaux wines that will truly knock your socks off. In the meantime, I want to remind everyone about the two great little Bordeaux wines we have in stock: From Chateau Peyredon ($35) on the left bank, an elegant blend of about 70/30 Cabernet and Merlot, with notes of black currants and cherries, lovely spices and great tannins, it is just the best thing to eat with steak or roast beef.
From Chateau Leroy Beauval ($30), close to St Emilion, a 75% Merlot, 20% Cabernet Franc, and the rest Cabernet Sauvignon and Petit Verdot. The Merlot gives it a softer style, but still has great tension that holds it all together from the limestone on the property. Wonderful to sip, I love it with triple cream cheeses and some crusty bread. (I might have possibly overdone the later this week!)