Wine: Liam Campbell on what to look for in a good Bordeaux
Imagine, every 15 seconds someone somewhere is opening a bottle of Bordeaux wine. Bordeaux is a world giant in terms of wine production. France's mid-western coastal region produces one-tenth of all French quality wine and most of that is red.
Bordeaux's native black grapes, plummy Merlot and blackcurranty Cabernet Sauvignon, have inspired winemakers throughout the world. Merlot grapes are the first to ripen in September and therefore the quickest wines to mature. Think fleshy, plummy fruit, feminine and perfumed. Whereas the more masculine Cabernet Sauvignon grapes are the last to ripen into October and, consequently, the slowest wines to mature.
Their high levels of acidity and tannin produce long-lived wines with blackcurrant/cassis-like fruit.
These highest scoring from a blind tasting of generic wines from Bordeaux have a high proportion of Merlot to give a fleshy fruitiness whilst accelerating their maturity.
At best, they have an understated elegance with a green pepper refreshing sappiness. Their firm tannins and refreshing natural acidity make red Bordeaux or Claret an ideal food partner, especially when matched with roast beef or lamb.
1) Chateau Le Ferreau Belair 2009, AC Cotes de Bourg 13.5pc
Awarded the Great Gold Medal in the Concours Mondial de Bruxelles 2011 and a Gold Medal in International Wine Challenge in London 2011. A classy bouquet of cedar wood and tobacco leaf and cassis deserves decanting. Mellow flavours with silky tannins and subtle spice. Restrained in a less-is-more style with a liquorice finish.
Traditional match with a roast leg of lamb with rosemary.
€19.49 at Mitchell & Son, Customs House Quay, IFSC Dublin 1 and Glasthule
2) Champ de Fleuret 2009, AC Bordeaux Superieur 13.5pc
Satin smooth texture ripples over firm tannins. Restrained classic Claret. Grill chunks of lamb and peppers on a skewer.
€13.99 at Next Door chain of off-licences nationwide
3) Croix de Maille 2009, Chateau Haut-La Pereyre, AC Bordeaux 13pc
Meaty and leather aromas. Earthy and savoury flavours marry with chewy tannins and a liquorice finish. Robust enough to tame game – veer towards venison.
€13.99 at No. 21 Off-licence, Midleton; Holland's, Bray and in Dublin: Deveney's, Dundrum; the Drinkstore, Stoneybatter and the Grapevine, Drumcondra.
4) Chateau Joinin 2010, AC Bordeaux 14pc
Scented with lavender and violets. Delicious with a coffee note to the juicy and fragrant blackberry fruits. Very classy with integrated spicy oak and firm tannins. Enjoy with a peppered steak.
€14.99-€15.99 at 1601 Off-licence, Cork and Worldwide Wines, Waterford. In Dublin: The Lord Mayor's, Swords; The Vintry, Rathgar and McHugh's, Artane and Malahide Road
5) Chateau Moulin de Mallet 2010, AC Bordeaux 13pc
Rich sausage meaty bouquet. A voluptuous style delivering purple plummy fruits and sandy-textured tannins. Long spicy aftertaste. Try with a hearty steak and kidney pie.
€15.49 at Mitchell & Son, Customs House Quay, IFSC, Dublin 1 and Glasthule
Gran Devocion, Vino Maipo, Casablanca Valley, Chile 13.5pc
Lime and grapefruitaromas with a mineral streak. Restrained in theSancerre style. Pithy andlemony with integrated acidity. Serve with sushi.
€13 from €17.50 until April 28 at selected Dunnes Stores.