Bordeaux - Tradition & Innovation

This is understandable considering the long history of quality wine production that has flowed from the gates of Chateaux lining the banks of the Gironde. Yet Bordeaux has innovated, most obviously, in raising the standard of the once uniformly miserable generic ‘Bordeaux’ – wines that were often green (herbaceous) tasting and devoid of any vinous charm.

It is unarguable that those with less fortunate terroir than the most famous chateaux, have benefited from the rising temperature trend (helps ripen the grapes) so marked in the last 25 years. Yet the increase in quality is not due to this alone. Countries such as Australia, were able to produce a plentiful supply of fruit forward wines, that were easy to appreciate. This resulted in an ever-decreasing global market for those Bordeaux wines that were shabbily made. So producers had to change, they had to make wine that was both affordable and that people wanted to drink.

The relatively recent success of white wines emanating from Bordeaux is a boon to the region’s producers. They of course have plentiful access to the world’s most loved white grape variety, Sauvignon Blanc, a brand in itself and a doubly powerful one when intertwined with the cachet of Bordeaux. Yet as Bordeaux is most famed for its red wines (however great their white and sweet wines can be) it was important that the consumer be able to drink red Bordeaux that was both inexpensive and still representative of the region. They should act as an incentive to taste more expensive Bordeaux not hi-jack that thought permanently. Only in this way can Bordeaux hope to continue through the immediate future with its pre-eminence intact.

Below are notes on four wines that are decidedly representative of Bordeaux. All are from Axa Milliseme properties.

Cap Royal Blanc, Bordeaux Blanc, 2013
90% Sauvignon Blanc, 10% Semillon
Wine-making: Stainless steel
Note: Fantastically pure nose of fresh pink grapefruit. Obviously Sauvignon Blanc with citrus, pointed acidity and a lovely texture – no obvious lees influence but either they (the lees) or the touch of Semillon just gives some fat, a little weight. Drink over next two years.
Price: 900NT
Score: 16/20
Available from: Chailease Resources Tech Co.

Cap Royal Rouge, Bordeaux Superieur, 2011
70% Merlot, 30% Sauvignon Blanc
Wine-making: 50% new oak French oak but only for six-seven months.
Note: Pure nose, very Bordeaux with some fresh berry, black cherry and a little leafiness and pencil shavings. Supple tannins with just enough grip on the palate to be interesting, medium weight, and moderate acid give an easy to appreciate wine with a hint of new oak.
Price: 900NT (a bit of a bargain for Taiwan)
Score: 16/20
Available from: Chailease Resources Tech Co

Chateau Tour Pibran, Pauillac, 2010 (2nd label of Chateau Pibran)
50% Merlot, 50% Cabernet Sauvignon
Wine-making: A proportion of new French oak
Note: Blueberry, with some floral character (violet) and mineral (tarry). Great acidity provides drive, generous body, moderate alcohol 13.5%. The supple tannins point to a significant proportion of Merlot with some latent richness and power suggesting Pauillac. Obvious use of spicy French oak and although young it is still very approachable. Drink over the next 5 years.
Price: 2100NT
Score: 16.5/20
Available from: Chailease Resources Tech Co

Chateau Pichon Longueville, Pauillac 2008
71% Cabernet Sauvignon, 29% Merlot
Wine-making: New French Oak
Note: Now this is a different beast altogether, graphite, spicy, coffee grounds, super dark chocolate, nice balancing fresh acidity, layered tannins, fine grained – must be Cabernet, and exudes classed growth finesse. Excellent length. Elegant but powerful a serious wine that needs time.
Price: 4500NT (This is very reasonable)
Score: 17.5/20
Available from: Chailease Resources Tech Co

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