By Bruce Cochran
This week we’ll discuss one of the world’s most famous red wine regions, home to some of the world’s most prestigious wines—and also to some bargains, if you know where to look.
Our first Wine Dinner of 2007 will be at Acadia in Little Rock on January 31, so if you’re in Little Rock and interested, go to www.brucecochran.com for details.
Those who may be traveling to Little Rock, Conway or Jonesboro can note that W Wine Samplings will be held January 30 in Jonesboro, February 7 in Little Rock, February 8 in Conway. In Conway, Oak Street Bistro will offer a special treat for tasters. Locals still remember the Blue Bonnet Pizza’s from Chef Chris Cambiano’s old Italian family recipes—he’ll be making the Deluxe, using Petit Jean sausage, pepperoni, hamburger and mozzarella, for $10 per person.
That’s it for now. Taste something good this week,
The seaport city of Bordeaux in southwestern France has given its name to the entire area around it—one of the world’s most famous and prestigious wine regions.
This is the original home of cabernet sauvignon grapes, and also merlot. In Bordeaux they are routinely blended to add complexity to the resulting wine. Why have one flavor when you can combine two or three?
Cabernet sauvignon contributes depth and structure, with flavors reminiscent of cassis (blackcurrant). Merlot adds its own dark berry-like flavors, along with suppleness. It also softens the tannins found in cabernet sauvignon.
In the warmer parts of Bordeaux, along the gravel-laden Medoc peninsula north of the city, the blend is heavy on cabernet, with merlot playing a supporting role. Farther inland, the colder clay soils around the medieval town of St. Emilion are better for merlot grapes, which tend to prefer cooler areas. So here the roles are reversed, with smaller percentages of cabernet sauvignon. In fact, it is often replaced, at least in part, by its earlier-ripening cousin cabernet franc.
Some parts of California, such as Sonoma County’s Alexander Valley, are known for wines that are described as “Bordeaux-like.” This refers to a French-like elegance. France is farther north than California, and the elegance of its wines are due, at least in part, to its shorter, cooler growing season.
Chateau Saint Sulpice is a 100-acre estate situated in a village of the same name, just south of St. Emilion and 14 miles northeast of Bordeaux. The wine is a blend of 70 percent Merlot, 20 percent Cabernet Sauvignon and 10 percent Cabernet Franc adds. It’s an excellent everyday Bordeaux to drink now, especially for its very reasonable price range of $10-$15 per bottle.
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