Bordeaux is the largest, and some argue, the most popular wine producing region of France. I personally love it and am willing to forgo a year of Ironman (and maybe all long distance sports) to travel and explore the region in more, intimate depth (a bike, however, will be involved). My background in working with the US budget has always left me impressed with numbers, and Bordeaux is no less impressive in the wine world. Known for the wines on the Left (Cabernet Sauvignon dominant) versus the Right Bank (dominated by Merlot), the region has more than 50 appellations on nearly 300,000 acres of land. That’s a lot of wine.
And some of it is really, really good. Beautiful. Artistic, even,like a Shakespearean sonnet, an aria by Mozart, or a simple sunset over a quiet Minnesota lake.
This wine, however, from the Entre-Deux-Mers region near St. Emilion (Merlot dominated, with Cabernet Sauvignon and Franc added) is not one of those masterpieces.
If you’ve ever forgotten to put sugar into a pie or a pancake mix, or have had orange juice after brushing your teeth, this wine is reminds you something important has been forgotten, or perhaps forged (and forced) in the wrong order. It is a shallow blackberry and cherry pie where the fruit has been picked too early–and converted to wine before the sugars have matured. It is tart and absent of fruit-forward flavors, let alone complex ones. Even with aeration, this wine is looking for something to open it, but like the poem’s of a teenage girl just on the other side of puberty, the soul and painstaking formulaic beauty of age is missing and its expression is limited by its core ingredients.
Because fruit and depth are lacking, I had trouble finishing the glass. However, I did venture to a region that does something right: Wisconsin and beer–and turning to the Spotted Cow was just the right touch to turn the tide from a bad glass of wine. But more on that beer later. The wine may have been tonight’s foe of Bordeaux, but the Cow showed itself to be a true friend.
Drink the wine. It is a fine for a night around the table. Fine to share. But, savor any beer from the New Glarus Brewing Company. (Again, more on that later, especially as friends and family work on getting to and finishing Ironman Wisconsin).