Our Wine Director Lynne Coyle MW is over in Bordeaux this week hand-picking the claret that will grace our shelves this year. Good timing, as we have just launched our Bordeaux Wine Parcel Sale. There is up to 31% Off a wide range of Château and Appellations to suit every taste and budget.
Bordeaux is the largest wine producing region in France with-
- over 8,500 producers
- farming 120,000 hectares of vineyards
- producing up to 700 million bottles of wine per year
These are quite staggering numbers, so quality varies across the 57 Appellations: from basic everyday table wines to some of the most iconic and sought-after wines in the world.
Bordeaux is roughly divided by the rivers that run through the region: the Garonne to the west, the river Dordogne to the east and the river Gironde from the point that they both meet and empty into the Atlantic. The Left Bank is on the ocean side of the rivers, the Right Bank to the east and north of the river Dordogne and the Entre-deux -Mers region is located between the two rivers.
The Left Bank
The Médoc region on the Left Bank of Bordeaux produce some of the most famous and expensive wines in the world. Famous Appellations include Pauillac, Margaux, Saint-Estèphe and Saint-Julien.
The Médoc region produces exclusively red wines (the small amount of white wine is labelled as regular Bordeaux AOC) and the best sites are planted with Cabernet Sauvignon, as this heat loving grape thrives on the gravelly soil. Merlot plays second fiddle here with Petit Verdot, Cabernet Franc, Malbec (locally called Côt) and Carménère also permitted.
Further south on the Left Bank are the most famous sweet wines of the world: Sauternes and Barsac, made with botrytised grapes.
Literally meaning 'between two seas' this region is the largest sub-region in Bordeaux with about 1,500 hectares under vine. Traditionally a white wine region, there is a growing number of good quality red wines coming from this region in recent years, such as the Château Grimont, Cadillac AOC below.
The Right Bank
The Right Bank of Bordeaux is located to the north and east of the Dordogne river. As with the Left Bank it is dominated by red grape varieties but Merlot plays the lead with Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon playing a back up role, generally offering a softer, fruitier style of wine. The most famous Appellations are Pomerol and St-Émilion.
Château Grimont has been making wines in the Cadillac, Côtes de Bordeaux AOC in the Entre-deux-Mers region since the 17th century. Since 1958 the property has been in the hands of the Yung family, who follow sustainable farming practices in their vineyards.
This wine comes from the excellent 2016 vintage and is a blend of 80% Merlot/20% Cabernet Sauvignon, aged in used barrels to minimise the oak influence. With its dark ruby appearance the nose offers warm spicy notes to enhance the black fruit aromas, while the deliciously soft palate bursts with pure dark fruits powerful, ripe tannins and a wonderfully long finish. Although Bordeaux is the largest wine region in France it is also garners the most attention, so it is often difficult to find genuine bargains: with €4 off the Château Grimont during the Bordeaux Parcel Sale, this is a steal.
Another excellent example of the value to be found in the Entre-Deux-Mers region, this wine has been a firm customer favourite for years. The grapes predominantly Merlot grapes for this wine come from beautiful south-facing vineyards draped over two sunny hilltops.
Excellent concentration of blackcurrant and plum on the nose, with similar lovely fruit intensity on the palate. The tannin is very well-textured and the finish is long, clean, refreshing and with fruity complexity. Try this with this year's lamb for a delicious food match.
With its close proximity to the sea and the resulting damp weather it is difficult to farm organically in Bordeaux. But Château Guibeau persevere with an admirable philosophy,
The organically farmed grapes for this wine are from the family's vineyards in Castillon, Côtes de Bordeaux AOC on the Right Bank and comprise 90% Merlot and 10% Cabernet Franc. This is an excellent value unoaked wine with a silky soft palate offering plenty of fresh bramble fruit flavours, smooth tannins and fresh acidity. Meant for early drinking this could be chilled slightly and enjoyed on a warm Spring evening with barbecued meats and vegetables cooked with Mediterranean herbs.
Although there is plenty of great value to be found in our Bordeaux Wine Parcel Sale, we also have 20% off a selection of high-end claret that would sit beautifully on the Easter dinner table.
Château Kirwan are a prestigious 3rd Growth, based in the Margaux AOC on the Left Bank of Bordeaux. This is their second wine and made from younger vines but still garners all the same attention to winemaking detail as their top cuvée. For a Left Bank wine this has a good proportion of Merlot in the blend (~40%) and is aged in older oak barrels, making it supple, fruity and to be drunk young.
With a deep ruby colour and aromas of blackberry, blackcurrant and black cherry this wine is very inviting. On the palate, it offers a wonderful basket of ripe fruit combined with a subtle oaky note for added complexity. The wine is round, full and fresh in the mouth, supported by a lovely tannic structure and sweet spicy notes on the finish.
To support the O'Briens Bordeaux Wine Parcel Sale we are launching our always-popular WIGIG (When It's Gone, It's Gone!) this week. The Château Vieux Pourret Saint-Émilion Grand Cru proved very popular with our Bordeaux customers when we launched it last December.
Saint-Émilion Grand Cru AOC are the best sites in the Saint-Émilion region and produce the area's best wines. This Château is currently converting its 8.5-hectare property to biodynamic viticulture, refusing the use of any pesticides or herbicides. As a result this Grand Cru wine contains only the healthiest of grapes from the heart of St-Émilion: and it shows in this bright ruby Merlot-led blend. A solid and robust palate with concentrated structure revealing currants, blueberries and blackberries resting on smooth tannins. The 6 months aging in barrel gives an added layer of toasty complexity.
There is limited stocks of this wine, so a great one to stock up for Easter. But if Bordeaux doesn't tickle your fancy we have over 120 wines on special offer in your local O'Briens store this month.
Please note: All prices correct at time of publication. For the most up to date prices please contact your local store or online www.obrienswine.ie. Enjoy alcohol responsibly.