Bordeaux for Every Occasion

Bordeaux for Every Occasion

When you hear that a wine comes from Bordeaux, I bet you assume it’s expensive. In fact, this world-famous region produces many high-quality wines under 50, 30 and even 20 JDs. Do not let the prestige of these historical Chateaux discourage you from buying Bordeaux. Indeed, many of its wines are approachable, budget friendly and delicious.

Historically, one of the reasons for the reputation and price tags that loom large is that in 1855 Bordeaux Emperor Napoleon III requested a classification system for France’s best Bordeaux wines to be featured in an exhibition and displayed for visitors from around the world. This classification, which still holds today with few additions, was based on none other than the prices of Bordeaux wines in 1855! This pedigree indeed means that Bordeaux is one of the world’s finest sources of age worthy, collectible, high quality wines. But it is much more than that. Bordeaux caters to all different types of wine lovers. Rather than this historical classification system, many of those more affordable wines can be assessed based on terroir and the generational knowhow of Bordeaux wine growing families, who are able to express the quality of the region in a more accessible and budget friendly way.

But how do you find these high-quality bottles without breaking the bank? Shopping for a bottle can be a bit complicated because really, all these French names start sounding the same! A couple of tips can take you a long way. Bordeaux is split into two banks, the Left Bank and the Right Bank, divided by a river. The Left Bank includes the villages of Graves, Pessac-Léognan, and Médoc (which includes the world-famous Margaux, Saint-Julien, Pauillac, and Saint-Estèphe). The Right Bank includes the iconic villages of Pomerol and Saint Emilion. So your first tip is, every bottle of Bordeaux will have the name of the village it comes from. Indeed, all these names on bottles are places, and each of these villages, because of soil, climate, history and production rules (aka terroir) will have a certain style of wine. So, start noting the wines you like and see if there’s one or two villages you prefer.

The second tip relates to the blend in the bottle. Bordeaux is famous for blending grape varieties; primarily Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Malbec, Petit Verdot, and Cabernet Franc amongst a few others. However, the bottle will rarely tell you the blend. As a rule of thumb, the Left Bank’s blends will be Cabernet Sauvignon dominant and the Right Bank on the other hand is Merlot dominant. The Cabernet-driven Left Bank wines tend to be higher in tannin — with more structure and savory notes alongside the dark red fruit. Merlot-driven Right Bank wines are generally smoother, with softer plumier fruit flavors. So the next time you are shopping for wine, remember Pomerol and Saint Emilion are Merlot and everything else is a Cabernet dominant blend.

Below are a few selections from our shop at every price point, from daily drinkers to wines worth aging that demonstrate the versatility of Bordeaux:

Chateau La Prade 2018 – 27 JD

Looking for a budget friendly everyday Bordeaux that you can buy for a takeout night or a wine and cheese night? The Chateau La Prade 2018, is the perfect wine for those chill evenings in, and is a high-quality Bordeaux that will not put a dent in your bank account. The 2018 vintage is made from a blend of 88% Merlot and 12% Cabernet Franc, La Prade has a very dark, glossy colour, intense and ripe nose with fresh aromas of sloes, wild berries and spice. The freshness in this wine is very attractive and the taste is full of gorgeous fruit and spice. On the finish the wine is round, voluptuous and velvety, really gourmand with great freshness in the wines. This wine pairs really well with red meat, and of course a wine and cheese night!

Chateau Gloria Saint Julien 2018 – 63 JD

If you are looking for a dinner party worthy wine, a bottle that will impress novices and connoisseurs alike, the Chateau Gloria Saint Julien 2018 is a perfect wine for such an occasion. This bottle hails from with Left Bank village of St-Julien; a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, & Petit Verdot. The nose is full of cherry and red currant fruit with sweet tobacco notes. Very balanced acidity and soft, fine tannins linger on the fairly long finish. It can be paired with all types of classic red meat dishes, mushroom based dishes, rich pasta, and a myriad of hard cheeses. 

L'IF  2014 – 180 JD

If you are looking for a superlative wine to add to your cellar, the L'IF  2014 is a perfect option. From the Right Bank village of Saint Emilion, it is Merlot and Cabernet Franc. Purity and complexity of fruit on the nose are really exceptional with blackberries, cloves, nutmeg and stones. Flowers, too! Full-bodied, yet bright and reserved with everything compacted in the center palate. Acidity is delicious. A superb wine. Give it time to open and show everything, but it’s so wonderful now.