Blake’s Blog – Bordeaux & Beyond

Bordeaux and Beyond


Of late I find myself, once again, drawn to the Bordeaux region. I think that anyone involved in the wine business, at some stage, dreams of a life spent tending their very own vines in the idyllic surroundings of Bordeaux, the very heart
of the French wine industry. I use the word “Industry” , because far from any romantic image of stomping grapes at harvest, the wine business has been transformed to almost industrial like precision (while retaining their almost earthy farming approach) over the last 20 years. The French have taken their considerable skill and married it to 21st century technology and are producing not only world renowned wines but also giving New World producers a run for their money at entry level. I can say one thing for sure, nobody can put finesse and elegance into wine quite like the French.


For those of you who may have steered clear of Bordeaux in the past, I have included a brief run down, as it can be quite daunting if you have not ventured into this area of wine before. Wine regions of Bordeaux are the area around the city of Bordeaux within the Gironde department of Aquitaine. The region is naturally divided by the Gironde River into a Left Bank area which includes the Médoc and the subregions of St-Estèphe, Pauillac, St.-Julien and Margaux and a Right Bank area which includes the subregions of Saint-Émilion, Pomerol, Bourg and Blaye. Additional wine regions include the area of Graves which is south east of the Médoc and includes the sub regions of Pessac-Léognan, Sauternes and Barsac. Across from the Graves, on the Right Bank, is the Entre-Deux-Mers area between the Garonne and Dordogne rivers.
All of these regions have their own appellation and Appellation d’origine contrôlée laws which dictate the composition of their vineyards, time of harvest and appropriate yields as well as various winemaking techniques to be used. Bordeaux wine labels will include the region on the front if all the grapes have been harvested in a specific regions.
While wine making styles do vary, a general rule of thumb is that the Left Bank is predominately more Cabernet Sauvignon based with the Right Bank more Merlot based. The Graves area produces both red wine and white wine from the Sauvignon blanc and Sémillon grapes. Well that’s all the hard work done, so now you can impress all your friends with your indepth knowledge of the Bordeaux region.


At our regular in-house tasting sessions, the following wines put in a good showing and warrant further interest. Chateau Lieumenant Bordeaux Blanc and Chateau Marges Graves Blanc taking the laurels for the white team and their sister wines Chateau Lieumenant Bordeaux Rouge and Chateau Marges Graves Rouge charging ahead for the red team. While all the bordeaux tasted came out well and some even surpassing expectations we kept to four recommendations this time around. All our managers will be happy to help guide you through France in general and Bordeaux in particular, if you pop into your nearest Fine Wines Store.


Chateau Lieumenant Bordeaux Blanc 2009 €8.09
A well structured wine with gooseberry fruit on the palate and hints of peach. Skillfully blended with harmonious acidity and good length. This is a Refreshing and clean white.
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Chateau Lieumenant Bordeaux Rouge 2008 €8.10
Strawberry and chocolate on the nose. Good berry fruit on the palate with gentle tannins. Medium finish with delicate hints of cedar.
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Chateau Marges Graves Blanc 2009 €9.09
Charming dry white wine, with nice notes of citrus. Good vividness but without being aggressive. This wine has a lot of finesse and is really aromatic. Fruity nose and rich and fresh on the palate. The finish is supple and round. Very good for drinking now with seafood or grilled fish.
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Chateau Marges Graves Rouge 2007 €9.12
Dense reddy-black in colour. Nose is ripe and sweet, with brambly fruit. Very rounded on the palate, with broad, black, gummy fruit and a good backbone of tannins and a long finish.
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We have been noticing a trend in our retail stores, with people buying a “special” bottle as a Birthday gift for someone special and usually they will look for a wine bottled in the year of birth of the recipient, so we have put together a list of years and wines available to purchase. These wines can take some time to source and for that reason we would ask that you book the wine two weeks ahead of your event, to avoid disappointment. Please follow link below for details on Birthday Wines.


A Very Special Bottle for a Very Special Birthday……