Michael, Winemaker from Faisan Estate in Orange, hosted a fantastic Bordeaux wine dinner for a small group of us, at Union Bank Wine Bar/Wine Store (worth a visit if in Orange http://www.unionbank.com.au/
). To be honest, I wrote tasting notes on the night but have lost them, but the dinner was fantastic with roast lamb etc, and the wines tasted were sensational – I realised exactly what Bordeaux has to offer in terms of beautiful wines. If you’re not familiar with Bordeaux, it definitely has a lot to offer.
The Bordeaux region is the most important wine producing region in France (South West) and in the world, and has at least about 8,000 chateaux (Vineyards). Excellent for producing full bodied to medium bodied red wines, with a delicate structure yet strong mouthfeel. They also do a few good white wines, and excellent sweet white or dessert wines. Bordeaux does large volumes of everyday table wine, up to the finest wines in the world.
I love their Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc (more delicate than Cabernet Sauvignon), Petit Verdot (delicate grape variety), and Malbec (fruity and aromatic) wines. These are often blended in really lovely proportions – the Cabernet Sauvignon gives strength, tannin and structure, while the others soften the wine and add delicate, well rounded flavours, that also smooth the tannin. Blended examples are Cabernet Merlot (fantastic in Margaret River, Western Australia as well), Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec, Cabernet Franc, and Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Petit Verdot and so on… Red Bordeaux wines are called “Claret” in Britain.
Fatty red meats, such as Lamb, pair well with Cabernet Sauvignon due to the ability of proteins and fats to soften some of the tannic qualities of the wine.
Wines go by the European Union laws and Appelations (certifications) of winemaking which can be very strict. “Vin/Vino” just means wine. “Cru” is the growth of wine from a certain area/vineyard. “Sec/Secco/Seco” etc is a Dry wine, “Demi-sec/Semi-secco” etc is Medium wine, and Sweet wines have “Dolce/Dulce/Doce” etc on them. “Cuvee” and many other words can often be meaningless when used on labels. Anyway, it’s worth trying some Bordeaux wines even without knowing what the label says. I’ve always thought the French were a bit pretentious about their wines but they really do produce many excellent ones. Worth a try!