Bordeaux, in Southwest France on the Garonne River, has a total vineyard area of over 120,000 hectares (almost 300,000 acres) – notably the largest wine region in France. Bordeaux leads the world of wine, setting the bar quite high for winemakers who strive to emulate the blending of at least two of these five red varietals: cabernet sauvignon, merlot, cabernet franc, Malbec and petite verdot.
On a restaurant’s wine list, a Bordeaux is usually higher in price, but I’ve discovered a few bottles of Légende that won’t break your budget and are pleasant on the palate.
The first one is a 2015 Légende Pauillac crafted with grapes grown in the prestigious Barons de Rothschild (Lafite) vineyards of Bordeaux. This wine is a blend of 70% cabernet sauvignon and 30% merlot, partially aged in oak barrels crafted at the Domaines Barons de Rothschild (Lafite) cooperage.
It was as if I poured a glass of ruby slippers. The color was intense, and the aromas of dried figs, black pepper and cocoa powder took me back to Bordeaux when I visited Chateau Lafite Rothschild in early 2015. This is a Bordeaux within reach — under $50 a bottle. It has enough character to remind you you’re drinking a Bordeaux (that licorice finish…), but it’s a drink alone wine without an overpowering tannin structure — so get ready to open a bottle this fall, when red wine becomes more appealing!
Next, I sipped a 2016 Légende Saint-Émilion, but before I took my first sip, I was seduced with notes of baking spices, butter, pomegranate and dark berries that dominated my senses. This somewhat bold and balanced, dry and slightly acidic merlot has a touch of cabernet franc for elevated interest. This is an affordable right-bank Bordeaux ($37) made with inspiration from the tradition of quality. Twenty percent of its final blend was aged in barrels, which explains its medium body, atypical for a Bordeaux, and fine with me.
More information on these elegant wines of France may be found HERE.