Although the famous Bordeaux region of France produces more wine than ever, these wines have become increasingly hard to find. Worldwide demand has created this scarcity and also has unfortunately pushed the price beyond the costs of everyday drinking. Nevertheless, local wholesalers have procured some fine examples that will give you the Bordeaux experience. Unlike their New World counterparts, Bordeaux tend to be drier, less fruity and lighter. The reds are primarily blends of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Cabernet Franc. But the Bordelaise credit their wine’s excellence not to the choice of grape, but to the soil and climate where it’s grown. Indeed, fine Bordeaux always seems to have a complex earthy note, something implied rather than stated. They are wines of structure and elegance rather than size or power. Fabulous with lamb and delicious with aged beef, mushrooms and duck, Bordeaux are also the best bet for the cellar; look for 2005 and 2006 vintages to keep for a decade or longer.
Château Ducasse Blanc
Graves 2005 $14
Oh-so-dry with grassy, flinty aromas and subtle citrus zest on the palate. A great wine with halibut or snapper in delicate preparations.
Haut Medoc 2003 $18
Juicy and ripe; easy to drink and satisfying with some real depth. Lovely with simple preparations such as roast chicken or grilled steak.
Château Belle Graves
Lalande-de-Pomerol 2005 $34
Complex aromas of blueberry and sandalwood with honest Merlot flavors of plum and thyme. Fine tannins with a hint of leather on the finish. Try with leg of lamb.
St. Estephé 2001 $42
Classic scents of black currant and graphite. Dry and firm with dark chocolate and cassis flavors with a hint of game.
St. Emilion 2005 $35
Round and lush with a judicious use of oak. Full in the mouth with flavors of blackberry and exotic spice. A great wine with roast duck. The featured vintages are available at Madison’s finer wine stores. If unavailable, most purveyors will special order from their wholesalers if requested.
Michael Kwas is wine director at L’Etoile restaurant. He writes this column monthly.
|Madison Magazine - May 2008|