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Winemaker’s Roundtable: Five Facts About Bordeaux Blends

Wednesday, September 28th, 2011

For this edition of Winemaker’s Roundtable, we’re talking about Bordeaux Blends- specifically, red Bordeaux blends. These lush, deeply rich wines are called Meritage here in California, and Temecula Valley wineries offer a fine variety of what would be a great pairing to a holiday meal.

  1. Bordeaux is a port city on the Garonne River in Southwest France, and is the world’s premier wine industry capital. Bordeaux’s defining characteristics are its limestone soils and the neighboring rivers, which are used to irrigate the land.
  2. A red Bordeaux wine is a blend of two or more of these five grape varieties: Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Malbec, and Petit Verdot.
  3. In 1988, a small group of Napa Valley vintners formed The Meritage Association, using the term “meritage” (a combination of merit and heritage, and pronounced like the latter) to denote red and white Bordeaux-style wines made outside of Bordeaux. The term “Meritage” was created to avoid using the name “Bordeaux” for wines that are not actually produced in the Bordeaux region.
  4. Because the percentage of each grape used in Bordeaux blends varies, each year’s vintage brings different flavors and nuances, making tasting Bordeaux blends a fun and interesting experience. Red Bordeaux blends typically are rich, full-bodied wines with notes of black currant, blackberries, cocoa and cherries.
  5. Bordeaux-style wines go well with grilled steak, rack of lamb, or even game meats like venison or duck. Several Temecula Valley wineries offer wonderful Meritage wines perfect for the holidays or simply your next meal:
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