What is Bordeaux Wine?
A wine from Bordeaux, France, is known as Bordeaux (or “Bore-doe”). Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon are the primary red grapes used to make 90% of Bordeaux wines. This blog will teach you about Bordeaux wine, including tasting descriptions, culinary matchings, and the essential information to know.
Bordeaux is where the first Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot vines were cultivated.
Bordeaux Tasting Notes
Red Bordeaux Primary Flavors: Black Currant, Plum, Graphite, Cedar, Violet
Medium- to full-bodied red wines from Bordeaux have aromas of black currant, plums, and earthy notes of wet gravel or pencil lead. When you sip the wines, you’re greeted with mineral and fruit flavors that move into prickly, savory, mouth-drying tannins. Wines with high tannin content can endure for decades in the bottle due to their high tannin levels.
Fruits in Bordeaux wines can range from more tart fruit to sweeter ripe fruit, depending on the quality, vintage, and area of origin within Bordeaux. Vintage variations are something to look for from this region.
If you’re looking to get a bargain on Bordeaux, there’s no better time than when it’s cheap. One of the keys to discovering the exceptional value in Bordeaux is to focus on vintages. The affordable wines have incredible value for their vintage and will age for years!
How To Serve Bordeaux
Bordeaux bottles have a lovely look on the table with their elegant labels and green glass. Here’s what you need to know about drinking this wine:
- Serve Red Bordeaux chilled, about 65 degrees Fahrenheit (18 degrees Celsius).
- Remove the cork and decant for a minimum of 30 minutes before serving.
- Keep all of your red wines below 65°F/18°C.
- A wonderful bottle of Red Bordeaux can cost anywhere from $25 to $30.
Pairing Food with Bordeaux Wine
Steak Frites (steak and duck fat fries) are an excellent match for red Bordeaux. The meat’s boldness complements the umami, while the dish’s richness softens the wine’s gritty tannins. Bordeaux wine’s rich, meaty backdrop will contrast nicely with this sweet and fruity flavor. The steak frites example demonstrates that, when combining dishes with Bordeaux, you should look for ones with a.) plenty of umami and b.) enough fat to help balance tannin. You may go even further with your pairings after this. Here are some examples:
The Bordeaux Wine Region
Médoc and Graves aka “Left Bank”
In this region, the soils are gritty, and the primary component is Cabernet Sauvignon in red wines produced there. The most famous sub-regions in the Médoc are Pauillac, Saint-Julien, Saint-Éstephe, Margaux, and Pessac-Leognan (the first to be classified in 1855). The wines from Médoc are some of the boldest and tannic of Bordeaux, making them ideal for maturing or combining with red meat. Here’s a typical Bordeaux wine left bank order of proportion:
Left Bank Bordeaux Blend
- Cabernet Sauvignon
- Cabernet Franc
- Petit Verdot
Libournais aka “Right Bank”
The Bordeaux wine region of Saint-Emilion is particularly noted for its bright crimson clays, which produce strong, plummy red wines, with Merlot as the primary grape variety. The most well-known and prized sub-zones include Pomerol and Saint-Emilion. The wines from around Libourne are still fairly robust, although they have softer, more refined tannins. As a result, right bank wines are an excellent method to learn about the area. In the order of importance, here’s a typical example of a Libournais Bordeaux blend:
Right Bank Bordeaux Blend
- Cabernet Franc
- Cabernet Sauvignon
Some of the world’s most popular red wine blends, such as Bordeaux, are inspired by the Bordeaux region. For those of us who enjoy red vintages, the Bordeaux region has long been a source of inspiration. Hopefully, you’ve been inspired to get a bottle or two to discover what Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot from their native land taste like–they’re distinctive!