Bordeaux, Jura, Cabernet Sauvi...
Maritime Bordeaux in the west of France is a large producer of quality wines. Although saying that there's a large gap between the top few who produce ultra-premium wines with hefty price tags (Lafite, Margaux, Y'Quem, Petrus….) and the rest of the field.
The Left Bank with its gravelly composition of soils is more suited to Cabernet Sauvignon while the Right Bank is made up more of clay and this is where Merlot and Cabernet Franc dominate (as they are earlier ripens and don't mind getting their feet wet). In the middle, the Entre Du Meurs provides a slew of whites and reds made for early drinking.
On the right bank outside of St Emilion and Pomerol, there are a lot of well-priced merlots made that are more for early consumption. These come from the satellite Bordeaux regions.
The English built up a thirst for the better Bordeaux reds which they have coined 'clarets'. These are often tucked away for a while in their cellars to age and drunk with a few years under their belts. But not all Bordeaux is built for aging, so choose wisely.
For whites, there are the crisp and easily quaffed whites from Entre De Meurs, or the more ambitious oak-aged Semillion Sauvignon blends from Pessac Legonan. The queen of dessert wines, Sauternes can also call Bordeaux home. French oak maturation is a common thread amongst the elite reds, whites and sweet wines.
White:Semillon, Sauvignon Blanc, Muscadelle
Red: Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Malbec, Petit Verdot
Some of the most highly rated recent vintages are 2005, 2009, 2010, 2016 and 2018.
Montrose, Pichon Lalande, Poitevin, D'Yquem, Coutet,
The Jura is a world unto itself. It's a melting pot of curious whites and reds, many you've probably never heard about. A narrow valley wedged between Burgundy and Switzerland, this is countryside filled with limestone cliffs and hillocks upon which the best vines are planted. These wines are tangy, complex, pure and delicious.
Red or White?
Both. The whites provide a gamut of styles from the fresh and crisp Savagnin and chardonnays topped up (ouillé), to the oxidative, rich and nutty styles left purposely under-filled to encourage flor development. Minerality is a recurrent theme, threading the whites together. The reds can be a little paler in colour but don't be fooled as they carry a lot of flavour.
Ploussard (or Poulsard), Trousseau, Pinot Noir
Most of the whites show saline and hazelnut tones, and if they are developed under flor there are richer yeasty and oyster shell flavours. As for the mountain reds, there is a cooler tannin profile and a lovely show of earthy freshness.
Domaine Pelican, Stephane Tissot, Jean Francois Ganevat, Frederic Puffeney
Camin Larredya Jurancon La Part d'Avant 2019
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