PART 1. WINE FOR DOMESTIC NEEDS:
accompany lunch/dinner, brighten up reality
The bulk of Bordeaux wines are low-cost and unobtrusive reds, just like this it is great to complete a cellar and take a glass a day.
Red for everyday – Bordeaux, Bordeaux Superieur.
What it is. There will be no density and riot, there will be berries, moderate astringency and sourness. What is needed for earthly food: fried meat, meat stew, sausages. (Do not serve the table, eat from a frying pan.) Or under the sacred eating of Camembert.
Age. 2 to 5 years old. You can be older, about 5–7 years old, if you are ready to stumble upon agricultural joints: a cozy barn, dung. Anything under two years old is dangerous, a very young burgundy can be harsh and rough.
How to drink. Chill to 16-18 degrees (the cheaper, the stronger). Open in half an hour so that the wine has time to unfold in all its glory, saturated with oxygen. If you are impatient, pour it into a jug and leave it for 15 minutes. Sometimes it is possible to save an unsuccessful wine by the jug method, but it just doesn’t hurt a good one to be liberated.
Few people know about pink and white burgundy, they are modestly gathering dust on the shelf. Meanwhile, this is a profitable investment: inexpensive and almost always to the point.
Casual rosé – Bordeaux Rosé
What it is. Light and cheerful, full of berries that dispel melancholy. A bottle of this can be drunk together in 15 minutes, especially with a bowl of salad, sausages or an elegant cut of ham.
Age. 1-2 years. If it’s 2019, the rose of 2017–2018 is just that. A reliable indicator of freshness is the color of the wine. The rose should be pink. Pale or optimistic-bright, most importantly, without reddishness. There is a redhead – the wine began to lose its shape, most likely, it tastes bitter, and the berries, which used to be in the smell-taste, are now dying.
How to drink. The paler the wine, the more you can cool it: a very light rose, the color of a morning haze, is up to 8 degrees, and the rose is brighter – up to 10. Then you can drink it right away, you don’t need to breathe pink.
White for everyday – Bordeaux Blanc, Entre-deux-Mers
What it is. Fresh, drenched in citruses and gooseberries, takes you into the summer, even if you drink it on an icy bench. Inspires to chop salads, bake fish and enjoy life in general.
Age. Not older than a year. In 2019, you need wine of 2018, there is no hope for everything that is older, it can already taste bitter and smell like decay.
How to drink. Cool to 8-10 degrees, open and drink immediately, white is not “breathed”.
PART 2. WINE FOR SOLID NEEDS:
please yourself or someone, make an impression, celebrate an important date
Not easy Red
Serious red Bordeaux comes in two styles: left bank and right bank. The Gironde River flows in Bordeaux, on its left bank they make imperious wines, on the right – velvet.
Left bank: power, strict currant, cigar boxes
Get inspired by a leg of lamb or at least a fatty steak
There is O-Medoc, that is, the Upper Medoc, because it is located on the hills – they began to make wine there in the Middle Ages. And Medoc until the 17th century was a swamp, then they took it up, drained it and also planted grapes. Naturally, O-Medoc works for the elder, the wines from there are considered more fashionable and sophisticated. Medoc’s wines are more rustic and honest.
But both are powerful and carnivorous – a decent sourness and astringency even a lazy person will provoke to go to the stove, fry a lamb or a fatter steak.
Age: 5-10 years old
Drink by the fireplace, forget about the mundane
Margaux wines are called feminine because they contain violets and roses. However, this should not scare men away – power, pepper and espresso are there too. And in general, at the end of a difficult day, a glass of silk wine did not bother anyone, which does not induce an emergency consumption of meat at night. Okay, one silky steak.
Age: 5-15 years old
Pauillac, Graves, Pessac-Léognan
Power and perfection for me, please
Pauillac wines are the most serious in terms of the power of taste and price. I took a sip – and that’s it, you sit in your personal office, in a leather armchair, stuff your pipe with tobacco, currants are singing outside the window. The wines from Graves have less power, and a little more currants, and also Graves is the heart of Bordeaux, there were the most ancient vineyards. Well, Pessac-Leognan is a part of Graves, that’s where the oldest vineyards are.
All of these wines provoke meat – steak or duck, properly roasted in the oven. Or mature cheese – obtained by blood, sweat and flight.
Age: 7-15 years old
Can I have the same, but more accessible?
Saint-Estèphe, Saint-Julien are like Pauillac – power and authority. They are not so high-born, but they are a little more human. Eating red meat, duck or, oh yes, complex cheese, hard and ripe, will come in handy here.
Age: 5-10 years old.
Right bank: life in chocolate on a velvet sofa
Thicker – and “let it slide down your throat like baby Jesus in velvet pants”
Pomerol makes wines for the hardened hedonists. There cherries are reclining in sun loungers by pools with chocolate, breathing incense. Take away the velvet sofa from the aristocratic grandmother, lie down with a glass. Keep a duck or lamb nearby. (Wipe your greasy hands on the sofa.)
Age: 5-15 years old
“A velvet sofa is good, but sometimes it would be nice to get up, walk through the woods, shoot game,” the wines of Saint-Emilion convince us. We put ourselves meat with mushrooms and agree. For dessert, we serve a berry pie, not very sweet, with a bias towards naturalness, we drink the remains of Saint-Emilion instead of tea – and we leave for the camp of lovers of this wine.
Age: 5-15 years old
Hedonism for the middle class
Fronsac is like Pomerol and Saint-Emilion combined, but without aristocratic origins and with a more affordable price tag. Density, velvety cherries and mushrooms from the master’s forest have not gone away from this. Bake meat or duck, arrange berry sauce or mushrooms for a side dish – and that’s it, the evening was a success.
Age: 3-10 years old.
1. Price. The special wines of Bordeaux have a high price limit (they took care of your nerves, they did not indicate the numbers). How much to spend depends on your determination.
2. Year. Older or Younger? In his youth, a serious red burgundy is daring, it’s hard to drink it – it knits so that it reduces the cheekbones.
Then comes the ideal age when you need to drink and drink wine – we have indicated it for each wine. All the insolence smoothed out, but the berries are in place, the cowshed appears insinuatingly, but it’s even more interesting with it.
Then the wine enters a phase of maturity, keeps its shape, but softens, rural nuances take over. If you yearn for the village – older wines will charm you, but if you are a convinced city dweller – avoid them.
3. A perfect year. Before buying a serious Bordeaux, it makes sense to look at the table of vintages – every year experts evaluate the harvests in different regions. I looked and realized that in 2005 Saint-Emilion turned out to be excellent, and in 1991 – on the C grade. The thing is useful, but you shouldn’t trust the table unconditionally. The grapes may not have been born, but the winemaker got out of his skin and made a worthy wine out of it.
4. I want wine from my year of birth. If you are not ready to allocate more than 100 euros for a bottle, then you should not buy wine older than 10-12 years. To make a long-lived wine, you need to work hard – and where there was a lot of work, there will often be high prices on the shelf.
How to drink
1. Chill. Up to 17-18 degrees (a couple of hours in the refrigerator).
2. Breathe. Pull out into the air 2-3 hours before time X. Open and leave to relax and breathe. Better yet, pour some of the wine into a jug and leave it to breathe in it. When you pour the first batch into the glasses, pour the next batch into the jug.
3. If the wine is mature, 8 years old and older. Instead of a jug, you need to take a decanter. The very same vessel of a strange shape, in which expensive wine is served in the cinema. Only a decanter will get rid of the sediment that the wine gets in venerable years. Feel free as with a jug – pour some of the wine into the interior of the decanter and let it breathe. Then, when pouring into glasses, the decanter will show all its power – the sediment will try to crawl into the glass, but the brave decanter will hold it.
4. Tenderness. The older the wine, the softer it needs to be poured, with age it becomes fragile. Splashing in the heat, you can break the structure, and therefore the taste.
5. Glasses. For serious wines (over 5 years old and/or more expensive than 50 EUR) there are special glasses, larger, 500-700 ml. It is worth purchasing these if you drink mature and expensive Bordeaux on an ongoing basis. And in general, ordinary glasses with a volume of 300-400 ml are quite suitable.
Not easy White
Graves is a sub-region in Bordeaux, there were ancient vineyards, everything breathes history. In addition to reds (read above), difficult whites are made in Grave. Pessac-Leognan is the northern part of Graves, the first vines of Bordeaux were planted here, from here winemaking spread throughout the region. Difficult whites are of two types.
Type 1, non-barrel: grow wings, crunch lettuce
The wine is light, citrus and linden blossom, but at the same time with a high IQ and special effects in the glass it takes a long time. Gravitates towards lean fish and salads. This should be drunk young, at the age of 1-3 years, cooled to 10-12 degrees.
Type 2, barrels: sit with a glass, dine decorously
The wine is full-bodied and dense. Dried pears, lemons, sun-warmed veranda and hints that it’s time to tear to pieces chicken or a portion of meat in a creamy sauce creep through the gooseberries. And if there is no time for food this evening, you can sit in a chair with glass and fall into noble melancholy.
Such a wine will live a long time, at the age of 5 it will only gain momentum, and at the age of 10 it will still be able to set the heat. But over the years it will become “fatter”, creamier and will lose the brave citrus fruits. If you need citrus freshness, it is better to take a younger bottle, up to four years old.
How to identify: read the counter-label, if the wine was aged in a barrel – it says so, and at the same time, the time of imprisonment is indicated.
Many have heard about sauternes and about wine from grapes with mold (noble, ah). But not many people know what the Sauternes are doing in Bordeaux. In a small wine region called Sauternes. Not far from Sauternes, on the other side of the river, is Barsak, where sweet wines are also made. They differ in taste and general mood.
Aristocrats don’t shout, aristocrats whisper
The smell-taste is full of joys: fruits (from apricots to exotic, from fresh to dried), honey, cinnamon rolls. But all this in whispers and half-hints, on top is stylish burnt foliage, and in addition there is a pretty decent acidity – so Sauternes does not seem cloying. Even those who are against sweet pleasures drink it calmly.
Soul wide open, emotions rumble
Will appeal to those who need dolce vita. The same taste delights as in Sauternes, only brighter and more cheeky. Well, if there are rolls, then they do not whisper, but boldly express themselves, fruits and honey are puffing out of the glass. But the sourness comes to the rescue here too.
Age. Dessert from Bordeaux are also good in the heat of the heat – under the age of 5 and older. Over the years, the wine becomes softer, the fruit is more candied. Decent Sauternes are alive at 15 and 20 (and they cost like a used car, but still a car). With more or less affordable, it is not worth pulling for more than 10 years, and it is better to drink some inexpensive badger in the first 5 years.
How to drink. Cool down to 12-14 degrees. If the wine seems too fragrant, then it can be stronger – the cold will pacify it. In general, you should drink dessert from small narrowed glasses, the narrowing is needed so that you don’t breathe honey into your face so much. But this is not fundamental, you can pour it into an ordinary glass, a little bit.
Complement. Spicy Asian food, blue cheese (if anything), pates (decent) on a bun.
In general, knowing a lot of scary names and chateau by heart is not necessary. A simple, quite lifting theoretical base is enough to choose the right bottle for yourself for the evening. Or in the morning, you never know …