01/15/06 – Bordeaux Part 2 (RED)

By Jesse on January 15, 2006


First of all, a minor detail — Jason can’t host this week, so our scholar-athlete duo of Brett and Kate rose to the occasion and offered up their apartment for the meeting.  Show your gratitude by wiping your feet before you even step on their sidewalk.  Thanks, B&K, you guys definitely own us now.

This week’s meeting is going to be epic.  After last Monday’s enlightening exploration of white Bordeaux, we’re going to take a look at the reds, which is definitely the style more closely associated with the storied region.  Bordeaux is France’s most prolific appellation in the production of still wines (aka non-sparkling), and the city of Bordeaux is considered the wine capital of the world.  For centuries, the British have used the term “Claret” to describe all red Bordeaux, and while that word is a protected term used only to describe red Bordeaux within the European Union, it has been used in the US to market generic red wines.  So be careful, if you’re buying Claret, that it’s actually from Bordeaux and not California.

Red Bordeaux is typically a blend of the region’s two main red grapes, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot.  Other grapes used include Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot, and Malbec.  In the late ’80s, which was a period of expanded US interest in high-quality wines after decades of relative indifference, some producers in the Napa region decided to craft Bordeaux-style blends using the red Bordeaux grapes.  However, the “Bordeaux” name is protected by law, and while US winemakers had used protected names freely during much of the 20th century, by the ’80s this was becoming considered extremely tacky and a sign of poor quality.  Therefore, these Napa winemakers decided to invent an entirely new term to describe their Bordeaux-style blends.  A contest led to the selection of Meritage, a combination of “merit” and “heritage” (read more at www.meritagewine.org).  Since Meritage wines are modeled directly after red Bordeaux, it might be interesting to taste one or two tomorrow, so if anyone is so inspired, please feel free to bring one.  For the most part, though, we should have a very interesting meeting tasting solely red Bordeaux.

The address of Kate and Brett’s swanky Hollywood pad is (classified), apartment #1, zipcode 90038.  It’s near Fountain, in between La Brea and Highland.  We’ll be meeting there at 9 PM.  It’s probably gonna be a pretty big meeting, so anyone who can, please bring a few extra glasses.  Other than that, just bring a nice red Bordeaux and your bad selves.  See you Tuesday!