Bordeaux The Beautiful!

Bordeaux. This single word conjures up thoughts of some of the most prestigious wine known. Both the business side and the romantic side of wine meet seamlessly in Bordeaux where the largest amount of fine wine in the world is produced.

The Bordeaux wine region is located in southwest France and surrounds the bordeauxmappicmonkeycity of Bordeaux. Near the city, two rivers, the Garonne and Dordogne, meet to form the Gironde, which flows into the Atlantic. These rivers divide the Bordeaux region into three areas: the Left Bank, the Right Bank and Entre-Deux-Mers in the middle.

The main red grapes for the region are Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot and Malbec. To be a “Bordeaux” the wine must have at least two of these grapes blended together. Generally, a blend from the Right Bank will lead with Merlot while the Left Bank showcases Cabernet Sauvignon. Entre-Deux-Mers produces mostly everyday drinking wines featuring Merlot.

Today, Bordeaux style blends are made worldwide. Among the best regions to produce this style is Napa Valley, California. Napa Valley is also home to “Meritage” (pronounced like heritage), which is similar to a Left Bank Bordeaux with Cabernet Sauvignon being the prominent grape. If you have a hefty wine allowance and want a superior Bordeaux style from Napa Valley, splurge on Opus One, a collaborative effort between Robert Mondavi and Baron Philippe de Rothschild of Chateau Mouton Rothschild.

If Opus One isn’t in your budget not to worry. It is fairly easy to find Bordeaux style wine. Most will use the typical Bordeaux grapes and generally Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot will be the predominant varietals. And now you have an excuse to go wine shopping!



What A Lovely Figure!



Have you ever wondered about the shapes of wine bottles? Are they shaped differently for a reason or is it just random artistry? As is often the case in wine, tradition is the major player for the different bottle shapes. I touched on this subject a few years ago in my blog with a graphic but let’s look at it with a bit more detail.  There are four main types:

Bordeaux bottles have high shoulders with straight sides for wines like Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Malbec, Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Grigio. The high shoulders were created to help trap sediment due to prominent tannins in most of these wines.  These bottles are made of thick glass with a high punt (the punt is the indentation on the bottom of the bottle).

Burgundy bottles are tall and wide with sloping shoulders for wines like Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Chablis and Pinot Gris. Much like Bordeaux bottles, these are made of thick glass. Purportedly, Burgundy bottles were the first to be created and the sloping shoulders made for easy stacking as well as achievability for glass blowers.

Champagne bottles are wide with low shoulders for wines like Champagne, Cava, and Prosecco. These bottles were created out of necessity due to the pressure inside the bottles (roughly 70-90 psi). They are made of thick glass, have a high punt and low shoulders to contain the immense pressure inside the bottles. By the way, the thick corks and cages securing them are no mistake either.

German/Alsatian bottles are narrow and tall with gentle sloping shoulders for wines like Riesling and Gewürztraminer.   The slender shape and lighter weight of these bottles were made for convenient stowing on ships during their voyage along trade routes in the early years.

This may just be extra wine knowledge fodder in your head but it may make it easier to spot the type of wine you’re looking for in the wine shop.  As I mentioned a few years ago when I first wrote about the subject, that could mean scoring that last bottle of prize vintage Bordeaux.


Which Type Are You?

Have you ever wondered about the shapes of wine bottles? Are the different shapes random happenstance or are they part of a great plan?  Believe it or not, the shapes of wine bottles are actually well calculated to match the styles of specific wines.  If you love burgundy wine, then your bottle type has sloping shoulders and a tall appearance or if you love bordeaux, then your bottle type has straight sides and high shoulders.

This little bit of trivia can give you ease in spotting your preferred bottle…which can come in handy the next time you and your fellow wine shopper are both going for that last bottle of bordeaux!


graphic from:


Destroyed Vines

I saw this article on and wanted to share.  What a tragedy!

Just to make it clear – I am copying and pasting this article directly from…..

Thousands of Medoc vines vandalised

  • Wednesday 21 March 2012
  • by Jane Anson in Bordeaux

About 2,000 young vines have been vandalised causing tens of thousands of euros damage at a Medoc estate.


One of Chateau Labat’s vines cut off at the stem

The plot of Merlot vines at Chateau Labat, a 7-hectare cru bourgeois estate in AOC Haut-Medoc, was attacked on Friday night, possibly by a gang, the owners suspect.

The vines, in the commune of Saint-Laurent-du-Medoc near Pauillac, were not located next to a main road, and accessible only through a main gate to the estate, indicating that the vandals may have specifically targetted the site.

The plants were cut between 8cm and 12cm from the base, with almost all of the shoots and buds cut off. Around one third may be able to produce fruit again, but the rest have been destroyed, meaning a huge loss in terms of lost plants, and manpower.

‘It is the symbolic value that is most shocking,’ owner François Nony, whose family have owned Labat since 1920, and who also owns the 38-hectare Chateau Caronne Ste Gemme, told

‘We have been racking our brains as to who could possibly have done this. Clearly they were very determined. For one person alone, cutting this many vines would have taken around six hours of work, so I have to assume there may have been more than one criminal.’

The plot of 5,500 vines had been planted in 2011, and was due to be used in the wine next year, for the 2013 harvest. Between 1,900 and 2,000 vines – around 20 rows – were damaged.

A police enquiry has been opened in Pauillac, but there are no obvious lines of enquiry.

Nony is vice-president of the Alliance Cru Bourgeois, working to promote the wines of the Medoc. ‘As part of the promotions team, I deal with the good news, not the bad news, and can’t see why that would attract anger. We do have occasional staff issues at the estate, as does everyone, but again I can’t see that they have been so severe as to cause this anger towards my family.’

Although extremely rare, this is not the first time that vines have been criminally damaged in Bordeaux. In March 2006, the Cathiard family, owners of Chateau Smith-Haut-Lafitte, found 800 of their vines had been destroyed at their Chateau Cantelys estate in Pessac Leognan.