wine wednesday: bordeaux, france

 

It’s finally fall in LA *knock on wood* and I am gripping on to sweater weather tighter than my steering wheel in rush hour traffic. Sliiiight overstatement, but loving the cloudy weather today. I know– my family and friends in Chicago are probably rolling their eyes at me saying this, but it’s true! Absence makes the heart grow fonder, no?

Speaking of fondness, I will always be a lover of Bordeaux blends- particularly those from the right bank. *Side* does matter!!

Let’s talk specifics

bordeaux-left-bank-right-bank-wine-vinepair
image c/o vinepair

In a nutshell (like all areas of France I’ve covered) location a.k.a. terroir makes all the difference. The Garonne river divides Bordeaux in half creating a left bank and a right bank.

bordeaux-wine-region-map
image c/o vinepair

LEFT BANK

Wines from this side are generally higher in tannins, acidity and alcohol. That’s because the Cabernet varietal composes more than half of the blend. This side made the region famous. Médoc and Margaux are noteable areas to look for on the label.

right bank

Wines from the right side are a bit more “feminine” meaning they are less tannic, acidic and lower in alcohol. They are generally ready to drink earlier too and tend to have a lower sticker price. St. Émilion is a notable area to look for on the label.

buying tips

bordeaux-wine-infographic-wine-folly
image c/o wine folly

Because of labeling laws, all Bordeaux wines will note the location. If you’re unsure of whether it’s a right or left bank feel free to ask the store owner if you’re in a wine shop. If not, just google the location et voilà! You’ll have your answer which will help you “guess” the notes of said bottle.

left bank picks

2011 Château Greysac Medoc notes of dark berries, hint of licorice and cedar. This is a well balanced elegant wine.

2012 Château Fage, Graves de Vayres notes of dark and red fruits with some cooking spice. Really great and a bang for your buck.

right bank pick

2010 Château Moulin, Canon Fronsac an organic wine that is incredibly smooth and the earthy notes balance the fruit.

Cheers!

wine wednesday: champagne, france

Break out your bottles of bubbly because IT’S GAME 7 OF THE WORLD SERIES AND I’M SO EXCITED/ANXIOUS/NERVOUS/INTERNET SHOUTING BECAUSE I CAN’T CONTAIN MY EMOTIONS. GO CUBS GO!!!!

Phew…glad I got that out, thank you. It’s been a roller coaster of a ride this season, and you better believe that bottles are going to be popped tonight #FlytheW

Moving back to the topic du jour, Champagne is a region AND a sparkling wine from said region. It was rumored to be created by Monk Dom Pérignon in the 1600s when he added yeast and sugar to his bottle of wine causing a second fermentation in the bottle. Though that’s not 100% true, it’s a fun story to roll out for trivia.

the process

how-champagne-is-made-infographic

As you can see, making one bottle of Champagne is no walk in the park. It’s a labor of love to keep all of the non-vintage (NV) bottles tasting the same year to year. Think about it, isn’t it pretty incredible that all bottles of Veuve Clicquot/Perrier Jouet/Moët et Chandon taste the same year to year???

Champagne houses can also release “vintages” dedicated to a specific year and must be aged a minimum of three years before their release. These are typically nuttier, creamier with notes of honey due to aging. More expensive too!

buying tips

Expect to spend around $40 for your baseline Champagne!

If you are going to buy a vintage of Champagne the years: 1996, 2002, 2004 and 2008 are “good years”

CHAmpagne picks

$$-Moët & Chandon: Available at most grocery stores, you won’t be hard pressed to find a bottle from the largest Champagne house.

$$$-Ruinart: Oldest Champagne house and makes kickass Blanc de Blancs and Rose Champagnes in addition to the traditional stuff.

$$$$-Krug: This is liquid gold, so many different notes in their NV and if I ever get my hands on a “Grand Cuvée” I may or may not share.

GO CUBS!!! Let’s pop some bottles tonight.

wine wednesday: beaujolais

 

In short, Beaujolais is a region in France and produces mainly a light red wine, made from Gamay (the wine’s varietal) grapes. I had mentioned this varietal before if you wanted to change up your Pinot Noir order!

As Wine Folly puts it: “Beaujolais is kind of like the smallest house in the fanciest neighborhood”. It is situated south of Burgundy, one of the “fanciest neighborhoods” in French wine-making.

image c/o Wine Folly
image c/o Wine Folly

Which is why I thought this region was a perfect start for getting to know French Wines. This region produces very approachable reds, perfect for this “fall transition” most of the country is in: it’s still hot hot hot but we want it to be cozy weather damnit!! Because this wine is low in tannins but high in acidity it is very easily sipped in warmer weather. It’s even recommended that the bottle be served slightly chilled.

Even better, most bottles of Beaujolais fall right around $10-$20 for the good stuff making me say “oui oui!!”

buying tIP:

There are three different levels of Beaujolais:

  1. Beaujolais “CRU”: aka the nicest stuff typically $20, smaller more controlled growing areas
  2. Beaujolais “VILLAGES”: aka mid-tier and the vineyards on the outskirts of the Cru wineries about $15 a bottle
  3. Beaujolais “AOC”: the biggest region encompassing the Cru and Village areas with bottles around $10-$12

Beaujolais “AOC” Pick:

2014 Domaine Dupeuble Père et Fils approx $12. An unfiltered light red with bright (aka high) acidity and low tannins. Serve lightly chilled with appetizers or BBQ!

VOILÀ!!