Take 6 wineaux women
Add a delightful array of hors-d’oeuvres
Stir in six lovely bottles of French wine from Bordeaux
Sprinkle in generous portions of laughter and fun
Gently fold all ingredients together
Viola! You have a recipe for a beautiful thing.
After a bit of whining, I was graciously invited to attend Linda Kissam’s newly formed Women’s Wine Council. The only stipulation? Write about the experience. Piece of cake….with some Bordeaux, si vous plait!
The history of Bordeaux wine dates back to the invasion of St. Emilion by Rome. The Romans planted vineyards in order to supply the soldiers with wine back in 48 AD, although the first recorded Bordeaux vineyards weren’t created until 71 AD. Okay, so we’ll give them a few years on us here in California! Most of the Bordeaux wines are red blends (referred to by the British as “claret”) with a few other varietals surprisingly splashed in for dramatic effect. 89% of the wine produced in Bordeaux consists of the famous claret; however, sweet and dry whites, sparkling, and roses round out the Bordeaux roster.
We began our journey with a sparkling wine called Favory Cremant de Bordeaux Brut from Chateau Montlau. Since our group consisted of diverse wine palates ranging from diehard Chardonnay fans to big, bold, red lovers, this sparkling went on to nab the top ranked spot. Pleasing lemony citrus tones initially greeted us opening into a smooth, creamy taste that was as easy on the senses as a soft summer breeze. One member mentioned that she wanted to bathe in it! This golden-hued sparkling paired exceptionally well with an apple, brie, prosciutto wrap. For a more advanced taste sensation, try the same combination substituting a mild gorgonzola for the brie. The most versatile appetizer of the day was a sensational spicy lemon marinated shrimp. With the right blend of zesty lemon, red pepper flakes, and white wine vinegar, this gastronomic hit managed to work well with most of the Bordeaux wines sampled on this day and particularly this sparkling.
The next three wines that we “diligently researched” included a 2009 rose from Chateau Penin, a 2009 Bordeaux Blanc from Axel des Vignes, and another Bordeaux Blanc (2008) from Eos du Chateau de Lugagnac. The rose was aged in oak for 12 months and danced a slow tango in my mouth tempting me with inviting strawberry and vanilla tones. This would be a nice alternative to a more robust red and will serve well in the warm summer months ahead. Food alert, this wine did not play well with others. Rather, it is somewhat of a diva demanding that she be the star of the tasting show. If you’re a fan of New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc, then you will revel in the 2009 Bordeaux Blanc from Axel des Vignes with it’s subtle grassy notes, crisp tones, and hint of citrus. This wine was the antithesis of the rose and was starving for a companion. The winning combo was a mini-BLT tomato morsel that brought out the smoky textures! For those of you who enjoy a buttery, oaky Chardonnay, the Bordeaux blanc from EOS is tailor made for you. Pairing well with Asian meatballs, the Chardonnay lover in our group stood in solidarity with this wine and savored every sip.
We finally arrived at my most anticipated wines, two beautiful Bordeaux clarets. They did not disappoint. The first red Bordeaux in our line up was the Chateau Lestrille 2006 Bordeaux Superioeur Rouge. I should have known I would fall in love with a big red “rogue.” 94% Merlot and 6% whatev! “You had me at Merlot!” Believe it or not, I coined this phrase over six years ago (before the Vegas ads) when my husband brought his ’02 Merlot to our first dinner date. He said he knew I was the girl for him as we fought for the last drops. I simply shrugged and said, “You had me at Merlot!” Our group quickly dubbed this fab Bordeaux “Debbie’s boyfriend” with incriminating evidence of me (shockingly) kissing the bottle. Musty, earthy scents with undertones of Cinnamon Toast Crunch gave this wine deep, long-lasting flavor sensations swirling and twirling about in my mouth. It left me spellbound, warm, and tingly all the way down to my toes. For all you big-time wine snobs out there, forgive my layman’s terms in describing this wine. For everyone else….oh, yeh…you know what I’m talking about!
The last devilish darling was a super 2007 Bordeaux Superieur Rouge from Chateau Bel Air. I was reluctant to embrace another big red so soon after my newfound love, but with a smooth blend consisting of 50% Merlot, 25% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 25% Cabernet Franc, how can one go wrong? This appealing, full-bodied bordeaux was a wonderful conclusion to our afternoon of wine research or “serious fun.”
Recently, I was asked by another winemaker’s wife if I enjoyed wines besides my husband’s, referring to what we in the biz call “Cellar Blindness.” This happens when you drink your own wine to the point of exclusivity-snubbing your nose at all others. No way! We enjoy wines from all appellations and countries. We look for the subtle nuances that distinguish one winery from another. We appreciate how the different terriors and climates create rock stars from various wine regions. For your next wine gathering, try a blind tasting where you compare the same varietal hailing from different local wineries, U.S. wines, and wines worldwide. Or, focus on tasting different wines from a specific wine region as our Bordeaux tasting with the Women’s Wine Council.
If any of these specific wines piqued your interest, check with your local wine stores such as Dudley’s Wine & Gifts in Murrieta, Wine On A Dime in Temecula, or BevMo and ask if they carry them or would be able to order them. Find local wines that would be similar to those that I’ve reviewed and conduct your own taste test. Expand your wine knowledge! Promote ALL wines! Research and have fun! Whatever you do, don’t let Cellar Blindness effect your ability to enjoy the abundance that the World of Wine has to offer!
For more information on these Bordeaux wines, please visit: www.planet-bordeaux.com.
Thank you to Balzac communications for Syndicat des Bordeaux et Bordeaux Superieur, our host Linda Kissam and council members: Ginger Giorgano, Carmen Michelli, and Judee Smith. Special thanks to Corie Maue and DocPros Nationwide Notaries corporate office for providing our location.