Your basic Bordeaux.


To prep for my diploma studying, I’ve starting creating spreadsheets that will (fingers crossed) cover all the information I’ll need to know. I’m not usually an Excel type girl, but desperate times call for desperate measures. As with all things wine, the WSET syllabus starts with Bordeaux, and that’s the first region I’ve started in on. I’m pretty close to filling in all the basic information (if anyone is reading this blog and knows the maximum accepted yield in the Premières Côtes de Blaye AC, I’m all ears), and nothing makes me want to drink wine from a particular region quite like spending 6 hours typing cryptic 10-point font notes into 4 different 64-row spreadsheets. 

  Last night I stopped by my neighborhood wine store, Heights Chateau, to pick out a few bottles to taste. Not, mind you, from the eye-level, classed-growth filled shelf – out of my price range, alas. (Although after blowing $2800+ on this unit of the Diploma class, I’m hoping the instructors will break out some heavy hitters for us.) No, I choose one bottle from the aspirational rung directly below the Léoville-las-Cases & friends and another from the dusty $10 and under bottom dwellers. The former was a Haut-Médoc ($19.99), the latter a humble Bordeaux AC ($9.99) and both were from 2005, a pretty nifty vintage.  I would love to tell you that there were some surprises in the bottle, but there were absolutely none. The light-bodied bottom-dweller had gum-puckering tannins and no discernable fruit. It was kind of atrocious, actually. The Haut-Médoc, adorned with a “modern” label (no crests, a funky sans-serif font and a pale blue color theme), was similarly “modern” in the glass (soft, medium-bodied, with that Cherry Heering nose I occasionally associate with Shiraz or Zinfandel – never Old World Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot). It was…fine. The way your boring brother-in-law who always talks about golf and how to beat rush-hour traffic is fine. Not a serial killer, but not someone you’d choose to spend time with.  The first wine, on the other hand, was fascinating, and it was the one I kept drinking, mostly out of morbid curiosity, a la that SNL skit where people keep smelling the carton of spilled milk. (Which, for some reason, I can’t find on YouTube. I’m not imagining it — this was actually a sketch, right?) The thing was, you could imagine how it might be good. What if they had reined in the tannins? Dialed the acidity back from “searing” to merely “fresh”? There would be room in my wine rack for a wine like that – a nice little cheap and versatile wine that doesn’t coat my tongue and taste like fruit soup.  But I’m not willing to taste my way through a dozen different $12-and-under Bordeaux AC to find the one that fits the bill. And frankly, I’m not even sure that such a wine exists.


2 Responses to “Your basic Bordeaux.”

  1. 1 gregthaopenny

    Nice write-up. Thanks.

  2. 2 sashygirl

    Thanks for the encouragement. Am obviously new to the whole blogging thing…watch this space!

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