I love making list like these! Brings back so many tasty memories. Full of my favourites from the Left Bank, Right Bank, and, a few Sauternes.
Check out my double exposed pic’s in the Mouton and Pichon-Lalande reviews, yep, that’s right boys and girls and film camera!
At Yarra Yering we devoured Bordeaux in verticals, horizontals, appellations, growths. We were pushing to achieve excellence with the Dry Red No.1 Cabernet blend. Tasting the best from the world was essential.
Exploring the wines per and post 1982, and, before and after key changes in the winemaking teams is an education in itself. A classic example being the wines of Margaux before and after Paul Pontalier’s leadership of the winemaking.
One of the areas we began pushing, following these ‘Tastings’ was texture. The wines on the list have historically had exceptional mouthfeel.
It’s not just the memories. It’s the ability to snag a little bargain. The aforementioned Pichon-Longueville Comtesse de Lalande for $399 at 98+ compares well to Mouton at $1400 at 97+ Points. There’s a heap of sub $200 95 and above wines as well as the Classic 1st and Super Seconds.
What you are about to explore is a list of some of the worlds best Bordeaux blends extracting the very best from Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Malbec and Petit Verdot + some of the very best sweet whites of the world.
There are quite a few mags and half bottle options too!
The flyovers of the regions are EPIC! Pierre Le Hong is a LEGEND!
Enjoy and shout out if you need any help.
All wines are in stock and ready for delivery, weather permitting. Both of our warehouses are climate controlled and we will not compromise wines by shipping when the weather is hot!
All pricing is best net whether you buy one or a million.
Just in case you missed it on social media, my cryptic imagery is explained in the video below!
The 2015 Vintage
2015 goes toe to toe with 2010 and 2009.
Two thousand fifteen has turned out to be a fabulous vintage for Bordeaux. A dry, hot summer followed by late-season rains introduced a degree of variability in some of Bordeaux’s main appellations, but where sites were well positioned to cope with those challenges, the wines are absolutely thrilling… The finest 2015s are wonderfully sensual, exotic wines that should drink well relatively early and also reward aging. Antonio Galloni
We could go through each appellation one by one, but, frankly, I prefer to play the wine rather than the generalisation because Vintage Charts suck & there are better ways!
The Varieties of Red Bordeaux
There are 5 permissible varieties in Red Bordeaux, making what is called the Bordeaux blend. They vary considerably in their flavours, tannin profiles, and, most significantly the order in which they ripen. As a generalisation, the Left Bank, including the Medoc and Pessac-Léognan / Graves tend to use Cabernet as their backbone. The right bank, including, Pomerol and Saint-Émilion, Merlot as there backbone.
The below commentary on the varieties is a generalisation. Each of the varieties will express a little differently in each appellation, and, individual vineyards in the hands of mother nature, and, the vignerons and winemakers of the Château.
The backbone of the warmer left bank, the later ripening Cabernet Sauvignon has long linear tannins that run the length of your palate. It is responsible for those blackcurrant / cassis fruits, and, is the only variety that produces methoxypyrazines responsible for the herbaceous, vegetal, grassy, capsicum aroma. Sauvignon Blanc is the other notable variety to produce methoxypyrazines. These flavours and aromas decrease through the exposure of the fruit to heat and sun.
Extended post-fermentation maceration is near universal for the variety in Bordeaux. The process where the wine is left in contact with the skins following the completion of the alcoholic fermentation. This allows the slow introduction of oxygen and it’s interaction with the soup of tannins in the wine. It softens and lengthens tannins, develops the fruit characteristics, and, introduces a second layer of aromas and flavours, flowers, violets, earthiness and beyond.
At Yarra Yering we’d look for flowers, and, a pencil shaving character to indicate the best time to press the wine. The pencil shaving character was short-lived, a sign of early oxidation and the wine would immediately freshen on pressing. The feel of the cap of skins would also be a helpful indicator that the post-fermentation maceration was almost at its end. Texture being the obvious final factor.
The backbone of the cooler right bank wine, the earlier ripening Merlot, has softer, more supple tannins, less overt fruit characters than Cabernet Sauvignon, showing more restraint. Again, it benefits from extended post-fermentation maceration.
In Australia, large plantings of Merlot were actually incorrectly identified Cabernet Franc!
Cabernet Franc in Australia is often referred to as a weed! It tends to make insipid wines lacking depth and importance. In Bordeaux it can be something special, anyone who’s had a good bottle of Cheval Blanc will know what I’m talking about. Earlier ripening, it tends to have softer suppler tannins like Merlot, and, be framed with slightly rawer tannins.
Malbec is perhaps the broadest in fruit characters, richness, and, generosity, adding, a lovely spice to the wines.
The little green one is the last to ripen and is typically a very small component in any Bordeaux blend. As the name suggests it is known for its acidity. Again extended post-fermentation maceration is key to releasing a lovely perfume and softening the tannins.
Where in the World Are They?
Play around with this interactive map of Bordeaux.
On the left bank of the Gironde River, you’ll find the main regions of the Medoc, and, Pesssac-Léognan & Graves. Sauternes
The Medoc sits to the north of the city of Bordeaux. Note how flat it is and how it is surrounded by two massive bodies of water with the Atlantic Ocean to the west and the Gironde River to the east of the Medoc wine regions.
The flyover below covers the Médoc from the north, running through the main appellations of Saint-Estephe, Pauillac, Saint-Julien and Margaux with all of the intermediate appellations.
Pesssac-Léognan & Graves
Resting south of the city of Bordeaux. Pesssac-Léognan & Graves follow the river and move inland. At the south of the region, the appellations of Sauternes and Barsac, making their outstanding botrytis sweet wines.
Although specific to the four Châteaux Thienpont/Derenoncourt the fly-over below helps place Saint-Émillion in relation to Pomerol, it’s neighbour, and the vineyards of the Medoc, and, Pesssac-Léognan & Graves
Pomerol on the right bank is considerably smaller than Saint-Émillion. The fly-over below covers the major geological sub-regions of Pomerol and shows where each of the important Châteaus is located