by Lara Victoria
Whether you’re celebrating a milestone, or simply rejoicing in a day well spent, there is a Bordeaux for you.
T he Bordeaux Release is a much- anticipated pilgrimage for wine lovers and collectors who have historically braved serpentine lineups just to acquire their vintage treasures. Yet, for many, Bordeaux can feel unapproachable. It is often considered unaffordable or that it is only for special occasions. Others believe they need extended aging to be enjoyed. This is not entirely true. Yes, a handful of Bordeaux’s iconic paragons command astronomical prices, but the fact is Bordeaux produces wines of distinguished quality at friendlier price points too. Barbara Philip MW, category manager of European Wines for BCLIQUOR, meticulously curates a diverse selection each vintage, with most below the $100 price point, some as approachable as $25. Also, Bordeaux is for any day. It can be just as delicious with a Beef Wellington as with a burger. Bordeaux produces sparkling Crémants, dry whites and reds and Botrytis-blessed sweet nectars, offering great versatility for every course of a meal. Whether you’re celebrating a milestone, or simply rejoicing in a day well spent, there is a Bordeaux for you. And yes, while it is true that many can develop tremendous complexity with time, due to market demand many of today’s Bordeaux wines are produced for early consumption.
With Bordeaux seeming a lot more approachable now, let’s unpackage the 2019 vintage.
There is no shortage of complexity, purity and freshness in the reds from Pessac-Léognan either. As for Haut- Médoc, Listrac and Moulis-en-Médoc, one can find tremendous value in early sippers as well as cellar-worthy wines. In the Right Bank, Merlots were particularly successful with abundant berry fruit and chocolate characteristics, high alcohol, vibrant acidity and strong tannic structure. Pomerol presents fruit characteristics that are ripe and velvety with great purity. The wines from Saint-Émilion are notably aromatic and deeply coloured, delivering ripe fruit flavours. Côtes de Bordeaux, with Blaye and Bourg, offer high-quality wines that are soft and round on the palate, and easy on the wallet too. Bordeaux Whites An early harvest resulted in fruit with lower sugar, producing wines with slightly lower alcohol than in 2018. Yet, most of Bordeaux’s 2019 white wines are intense and appealing with exotic fruit notes, especially from Sémillon. Some exceptional, cellar-worthy specimens deliver a luxurious, creamy texture on the palate, balancing pure, ripe fruit characteristics with bracing acidity. Confidently pour these wines with a traditional turkey feast, or even a grilled Mediterranean panini.
The growing season had vignerons on their toes. First, it rained early in the season. The summer that followed was a hot one, punctuated by a significant stretch of rain in late July, but then came glorious sunshine. Light rain in late September helped lower sugar levels slightly, resulting in perfectly matured grapes, particularly the Cabernets. Ideal harvest conditions produced grapes that delivered abundant freshness, expressive fruit characteristics, deep colour and robust tannins. So, what about the resulting wines? Let’s take a look. Bordeaux Reds The Left Bank produced wines classic in style, expressing the typicity of terroir. With rich, powerful, concentrated character, just about any wine from Pauillac is a showstopper this vintage. While these wines are ageworthy, 2019 delivers some incredible choices that are ready to enjoy now. Ditto for wines from Saint-Julien. In Saint- Estèphe, the Cabernet-driven wines truly express the terroir with classic, full-bodied, inky expressions revealing hints of herbaceous, smoky and earthy spice notes. Margaux delivers refined, concentrated, luxurious reds with its signature bouquet of floral aromatics.
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