When most people think of French wine, their thoughts will usually bring them to the wines of Bordeaux, and when they think of these wines, several descriptors will come to mind: lavish, upscale, fancy and expensive, just to name a few. To many, the wines from this region are seen as styles that are only for serious collectors or wine professionals, and not for everyday enjoyment.
The truth however, is that while there are wines from Bordeaux that are very special and in high demand for collectors, the area is also one that produces a vast amount of wines that offer amazing value for red, white and sweet wine enthusiasts that are all just waiting to be discovered.
So, what makes the wines Bordeaux so special? Well, to start the region has history on it's side. It’s been regarded as a fine wine region since Roman Times when the city was a thriving outpost colony for the Empire that is responsible for the foundation of the wine culture that we are still enjoying today. Another key component to the region's success is it's terroir (a French term used to describe the soul of the place that the wine grows in that shows through in the profile in the glass). The region is the recipient of a warm maritime climate that is situated far enough in-land to escape the harshest of coastal breezes while the vines grow on soils that have been formed over centuries of glaciers and prehistoric sea bed sediment that gives the fruit from the region an incredible place to call home. This region's wines are known for their exceptional balance - that you’ll soon discover as you begin to explore more wines and your appreciation for them grows.
In 1855, sixty-one of region's wines were classified in what has become one of the most important wine classifications of all time. The Chateaux were divided into five categories, or Cru’s, with most still in place today, besides a few special exceptions. It is because of this classification that Bordeaux has been put at the pinnacle of the wine world, not only for its everyday easy drinking wines, but also for it’s top growths as they will forever be a snapshot of time - and age gracefully over time. The area's wines show time after time that they are true works of art that can transport the person enjoying them back to when and where the wine was made - that can be best described as “ A fleeting moment that entices all of the senses, cannot be replicated, and leaves you with just a delicious memory… and salivating for more.”
Chateau Doyac 2009 - 19.99
This beautiful wine comes out of the Haut-Medoc, which surrounds an area north of the town Bordeaux. It is a great example of what a “cru bourgeois” can bring to the table. The cru bourgeois level was created so that wines that were not classified in 1855 could still be given a category to show an elevated quality level. These wines can be where people looking to explore (and possibly expand) their Bordeaux palate can find some of the best values. Chateau Doyac’s origins have been traced back to the 1850’s and have been rotating through many different hands until it landed in Max Pourtale’s in 1998. Since then he has been striving to find the balance of the land and grapes culminating in the 2009 vintage. The 2009 Ch. Doyac is a merlot dominant wine made in a classic style with supple soft fruit notes mixed with hints of smoke, cedar, preserved bush fruits, licorice, and sweet leather while having firm tannins and a nice acidity throughout.
Chateau Rahoul Blanc 2010 @ 29.99
Although the Rahoul property dates back to 1669, fine wine and whites in particular didn’t start flourishing at the property until the late 1800’s. These vineyards have found their perfect fit for Sémillon and Sauvignon Blanc grapes to grow coming out of the Graves region, which is located south of the town Bordeaux. It is no wonder that Sauvignon Blanc does well here as it is the birth place of the grape, while Sémillon is not far from home either coming from area’s throughout south western France. This often neglected but highly rated blend offers notes of gooseberry, citrus, honey, and grapefruit while having a zippy acidity to support its medium body.
Chateau de Fargues 2007 @ 159.99
A truly divine sweet wine experience.
Chateau de Fargues, located in the world famous sweet wine region of Sauternes does not disappoint for those looking to sample the wine style once described as one so delicious that it must be made for angels. The process in which these wines are made is one of the most labour intensive as each individual grape must be allowed to dehydrate on the vine, until just the right moment, then each grape hand picked and lovingly crafted into a spectacular blend of concentrated sugars, acidity, and minerals.
A great example of this is Chateau Fargues 2007, the rich mouth coating sweetness is full of candied tropical fruits, honey, vanilla, with a floral touch, while the acidity washes it all down making for a fresh finish.
Patience is the key word when it comes to the top Growths of Bordeaux and it is the one quality that is necessary in order to fully enjoy them at their best.
While the prices of these top wines can be high due to their limited quantities available there is a more economical option available for those wishing to gather some of these wines for their cellars. This is what Bordeaux futures or “en primeur” is for.
Buying wines en primeur allows wine enthusiasts to purchase a Bordeaux vintage before it is bottled and released to the public at a discounted price, this ensures not only a sizeable discount but also your wine is reserved for you.
Willow Park Wines is proud to offer this for each vintage followed by Western Canada’s largest Bordeaux release festival in which the current vintage and past vintages are opened to taste every year in late September.
For further information on how you can get involved or to have any questions answered about our Futures program please contact our Fine Wine Director Peter Smolarz, by phone: 403-296-1640 x 263, or by email: email@example.com.