Saturday, March 8, 2008

Exploring Bordeaux – Haut Medoc

Time to dip your toes into the fabulous Bordeaux coming through kybecca. While it takes a little more effort to get familiar with all the funky French labels, appellations, chateaux, classes and blends, it’s well worth it to get to those really heavenly wines.

Both of these wines hail from Haut Medoc, the region of southwestern France on the Left Bank of the Gironde estuary, where some of the best vineyards in Bordeaux are located. Almost all the Medoc’s wines are red. The dominant grape is cabernet sauvignon (forming up to 60 to 70 percent of all blends), followed by merlot. Both do well in the Medoc’s stony soil, which, here and there, is interspersed with clay. Saint-Estephe is located at the river’s gravelly edge, along the best terroir.

The Steal - Les Allees de Cantemerle 2003 $19.99

Aromas of toast and oak emerge slowly as the wine reveals a smooth and silky texture with soft tannins and wonderful notes of spice. Best served with rack of lamb, steak and cheeses. This second wine of Chateau Cantemerle Grand Cru Classes comes mainly from the château's young vines, and is made like its elder brother. Les Allées de Cantemerle has the same personality as the grand vin, but has a shorter ageing potential. As it ages more quickly, Les Allées de Cantemerle is generally ready to be consumed within several years of the vintage.

The Splurge – Calon Segur Saint-Estephe Grand Cru Classe 2005 $119.99

Dark-colored with beautiful aromas of chocolate, spices and violets, this Bordeaux is a 60/40 blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. A full-bodied wine with superfine tannins and beautifully sweet fruit underlying the wine’s structure, Calon Segur has a long, long finish. This is a wine that can be cellared for 8-10 years.

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