Because I tend to have an affinity for blends, it would only seem natural that my curiosity for wine would ultimately gravitate toward Bordeaux – perhaps it should have started there. So for the second week in a row, I'll share a Bordeaux. Bordeaux wines after all, for the most part, are inherently blends either red or white. Red Bordeaux are generally either predominantly Merlot or predominantly Cabernet Sauvignon. Those that are predominantly Merlot are considered “right bank” and those predominantly Cabernet Sauvignon are considered “left bank”.
The main river in Bordeaux is the Gironde. Two smaller rivers, the Dordogne and the Garonne, feed into it. Together, the rivers are shaped almost like an upside-down Y. If you're standing in Bordeaux facing west, toward the ocean, the "Left Bank" is south of the Garonne and Gironde rivers, and the "Right Bank" is north of the Dordogne and Gironde Rivers. (The area in between is known as Entre-Deux-Mers.)
The left bank vineyards are dominated by Cabernet Sauvignon and the right by Merlot. It should be mentioned that other varietals that can be added to red Bordeaux wines in addition to Cabermet Sauvigon and Merlot are Malbec, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot.
This week’s Wine Wednesday feature the 2010 Chateau Arnaud Bordeaux Supérieur is an example of a red, right bank Bordeaux, predominantly Merlot (70% Merlot and 30% Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc). How can you tell by looking at the bottle if it’s right or left bank? Well, you sort of need to know the region. On the back of the bottle it indicates this wine is from Saint - Émilion an AOC in the Bordeaux region, which is right bank, thus likely this wine is predominantly Merlot.
On the nose - blackberry, violet and a hint of spice. On the palate, raspberry, moderate tannins (right bank are usually less tannic than left bank Bordeaux wines) and a touch of cocoa on the lingering finish. We enjoyed this with Jambalaya one night and with Grilled Lamb Chops over Wild Mushroom Couscous and sides of Grilled Marinated Portobello and Asparagus the next.
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