Food & Drink

The affordable Bordeaux – really

On the wish list of every fine wine lover are wines from Bordeaux.

Names like Petrus, Latour, Lafite and Cheval Blanc are synonymous with nuanced, age-worthy wines of amazing complexity. Global demand for these ultra-premium wines has never been higher, and the wines have prices that match the demand.

On a recent trip to Bordeaux, I was surprised and pleased to discover that while the reputation of Bordeaux was built on the quality of the high-end red wines, much of the wine from the area is both delicious and affordable.

In a way, Bordeaux has been a victim of its own success. The more approachable, affordable wines are overshadowed by their famous relatives.

While wine has been made in Bordeaux for ages, recent improvements in vineyards and technological advances in the wineries have vastly benefited the midpriced wines.

Bordeaux is in southwest France, situated near the Atlantic Ocean and crisscrossed by rivers. The water helps moderate the climate, creating one of the most interesting regions in the world for grapes.

The area is huge, the largest in France for fine wine production, with more than 10,000 vineyard properties producing a wide array of wine styles. Wine students have to work to memorize the geography and all the micro-climates within Bordeaux.

Generally, the wines are produced from blends. Reds are based on cabernet sauvignon, merlot and cabernet franc; whites are blends of sauvignon blanc and semillon.

The more affordable reds are often merlot-based, allowing the wines to be enjoyed young.

Dry whites and roses are my new favorites, crisp and clean with a vibrant natural acidity that makes them perfect for summer.

The Bordeaux Wine Bureau has showcased some of the best values with a juried selection of the 100 best values called “Today's Bordeaux.”

To experiment with availability, I printed the list (it's available at www.bordeaux .com) and went to Total Wine & More to see if any were available. Within 5 minutes, I had found several, all priced below the amount listed.

With wines this tasty and affordable, Bordeaux may soon become as well known for its everyday wine as for its stunning superstars.

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