Bordeaux Red: Bordeaux

As in the entire Bordeaux, the red grapes for the ‘Bordeaux’ appellation, encompass Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Malbec (or Cot), and Petit Verdot, and white being principally Sauvignon Blanc, Semillon, and Muscadelle. Typically the vineyards are planted wider rows than in the Cru Classé vineyards to allow mechanical harvesting in order to maintain a better quality to price ratio. The area is the largest of the Bordeaux appellations, with over 47,000 hectares, well over three times the area of Bordeaux Supérieur. This appellation covers all three growing areas, Médoc/Left Bank of the Garonne, Entre-Deux-Mers (although this term is used optionally only for white Bordeaux of this area), and the Dordogne/Right Bank. Depending on the locale, the Bordeaux appellation can have any of these typical soil types: clayey-limestone (right bank near Libourne and Entre-Deux-Mers; siliceous soils with clay and calcareous elements; palus or marshy lands that are alluvial soil, rich, deep and heavy, found also in valleys; ‘graves’ soil made up of gravel, rolled quartz, and large grain soil (an excellent soil); and ‘boulbènes’, a soil made up of extremely fine siliceous elements that make a tight, beaten earth (not ideal soil). In general, it is not allowed since 1995 to use a varietal name on the main label for Bordeaux appellation wines, with the exception being the use of ‘sauvignon’ for whites as long as the letters are printed in smaller type, but in the same style and color as the appellation.

  • Chateau Croix des Gentils

    This wine comes from the Entre-Deux-Mers area between the left and right banks of the Bordeaux appellation, in the village of Pellegrue, about thirty-five miles southeast of Saint-Émilion on the left bank of the Dordogne River. This area is quite hilly, and the surface soil is also a hard-packed sandy/clay soil that is known locally as ‘boulbènes’ or ‘bouvées’. This soil is hard to work, and requires a special root-stock accustomed to this type of earth. The sub-soil is more diverse and gives the wine some excellent complexity and richness.

    M. Jean Noël Antoniol has a property of close to 40 acres planted to 80% Merlot, 10% each Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon. The subsoil is what gives this wine its complexity, as the topsoil is a kind of hard-pack that requires special rootstock. The wine shows pleasant dark fruit aromas from the Merlot, a nice fruity entry, with a fairly complex mid-palate of mineral, fruit, earth, and tannins. Drink with grilled sausages, lamb or pork dishes, not to mention. cheeses. A great value from Bordeaux.

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  • Menuts

    This wonderful Bordeaux is produced by Philippe and Jean-Pierre Rivière who now run the family Châteaux and Negociant business in Saint-Émilion. They source grapes from their properties and on contract from some of their wine associates to produce a wine reminiscent of their Clos de Menuts Grand Cru St. Émilion and Château Cheval Brun Grand Cru St. Émilion. Aged in those St. Emilion Grand Cru barrels, the blend is virtually the same with 75% Merlot, 15% Cabernet Sauvignon and 10% Cabernet Franc, with slight variations from vintage to vintage.

    Their idea was to produce a modern-styled red Bordeaux that their Grand Cru St. Émilion customers could drink everyday. They succeeded in creating a wine with the earthy character and complexity of a St. Émilion with a lower price tag. The wine is well balanced, with plenty of fruit up front, a delicious bouquet and excellent texture for the money. It has a dark red/purple color and shows dark red fruits, a touch of earth and minerality, and a firm, but smooth finish. Although this nicely balanced red could age a few years, it is quite drinkable on release.

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