Bordeaux Wines 101
If you are new to the world of wine, you may think that Bordeaux is a style of wine, when in fact it refers to the region in which it is produced. Bordeaux wines come in both red and white varieties, each of which present a set of traits that make it slightly easier to identify the region in which the wine was produced. The goal of this piece is to teach you a little more about the wines made at Bordeaux wineries, and what you can expect when you sample these delicious beverages.
The first thing that you should know about Bordeaux wines is that they are made from a blend of different grapes, which is unlike many other wines that simply use one particular type of grape. The red Bordeaux blend has a lot of imitators, as you will find that many different Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec, and Cabernet Franc wines go out of their way to mimic the flavors that you get from a Bordeaux. Using different proportions of the grapes is what creates the unique flavors of each individual wine. As far as white wines go, it is Sauvignon Blanc, Semillon, and Muscadelle that are most akin to Bordeaux wines.
Flavors of Bordeaux Wines
What you can expect from wines made in Bordeaux wineries are some dominant flavors, which of course are dependent upon whether the wine is red or white. With a red Bordeaux, you can expect black currant and plum to be the most common flavors, although cedar and violet notes are also common. With the white wines of Bordeaux, it is grapefruit that tends to be the most dominant flavor, although lemon-lime and gooseberry, among some others, may also be present when you taste the wine.
Bordeaux wines are generally always served in green bottles that are adorned with stunningly beautiful labels. It is red Bordeauz that tends to be the most popular, and if you plan on serving one at your dinner party, serve it at just below room temperature. It is always best to decant red Bordeaux wines prior to serving, and like most red wines, your Bordeaux should be stored at around 65 degrees Fahrenheit. Darker meats and a variety of different cheeses are the best food pairings with a red Bordeaux, so look at black pepper steak or beef brisket as being your meat of choice at a dinner party.
Bordeaux wineries originally started creating sweeter white wines in the 1700’s, and it was not until the following century that red wines started to be produced. It was the red wines that essentially put the region on the map, and which led to the 1855 Classification which ranked the reds from 1 through 5. The Cru Classification still exists to this day, but is not the sole decision maker when deciding which Bordeaux to buy. Getting to know a little about each of the regions will help you choose a great Bordeaux without needing to refer to the classification.