Bordeaux – The World’s Most Famous Red Wine Region

PKF lawyers aren’t just known for their brilliant legal minds. They are active members of our communities and enthusiasts of the arts, culture, sports, local foods, wines and music.

Vincent J. Bueti, a respected lawyer with PKF since 2008 is extensively involved in the local community, has interests in politics, education and the Italian community. What many people aren’t aware of is Vincent is also an aficionado of fine wines. He enjoys exploring and tasting wines from all over the world and has written two articles for Mixology magazine, published by the Winnipeg Sun. The magazine includes tips on dining at home and dining out, along with recipes, and stories on restaurants and wines.

Here is his latest article, Bordeaux – The World’s Most Famous Red Wine Region.

No wine lover should ever travel to France without devoting at least five hedonistic days to this Garden of Eden.

An ideal base from which to indulge your passion is the cosmopolitan city of Bordeaux itself. From here you will be able to venture into the AOV regions of St. Emilion and Pomerol, to the East, and Margaux, mid-Medoc and upper Medoc towards the Atlantic to the North.

Start first by visiting the city’s spectacular La Cité du Vin museum to learn about the history and science of winemaking. This modern world-class facility with its interactive displays will broaden your knowledge and train your senses before you launch yourself into your work over the next few days. Plus, the panoramic wine bar at the top of this magnificent structure will allow you to hone your wine tasting skills!

A short half hour drive from Bordeaux is the UNESCO world heritage site of St. Emilion. This 8th century village is practically an open air museum. More to the point, it is known for its ancient underground wine caves, Michelin restaurants, vineyards and of course … wine tasting. Take a day to meander through its cobbled streets as you explore its architectural beauty, sample its wines, and dine on fois gras, snails, and goat cheese before visiting one of the Châteaus close to this medieval village.

The Bordeaux red wine region is composed of numerous villages and 27 sub regions. They share some common characteristics but differ from area to area based upon which side of the Gironde Estuary, Dordogne or Garonne rivers they are situate and how close they are located to the Atlantic. As the terroir and microclimates change, so do the varietals.

The principal varietal for the Bordeaux region is in the plump, blue Merlot grape. It is an early ripening grape that produces soft, rich wines often described as “fleshy”. It harmonizes well with the more structured Cabernet Sauvignon. However, depending upon the location and appellation, French winemakers blend Merlot with Malbec, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Petite Verdot. Usually the wines of the Medoc will favour Cabernet Sauvignon while the wines of St. Emilion will favour Merlot.

Wine tasting tours can be organized with local tour companies. If you are driving, it is best to contact the various Chateaus well in advance to be given a tour of their facility, vineyard and a private tasting. As you travel north west into the Medoc the scenery is spectacular with groomed vineyards and beautiful Châteaus in abundance. A photographer’s dream.

While many of the Châteaus are steeped with history involving the gentry of France, others are now utilizing highly sophisticated and modern facilities. One such remarkable facility is Château Pedesclaux near the village of Pauillac. At the other end of the spectrum is Château D’Agassac which dates back to the 13th century and whose architecture could have been the inspiration for Walt Disney. Both produce superb wines. The pinnacle of French wine making in Bordeaux are: Chateau Lafite-Rothchild, Chateau Latour, Chateau Margaux, Chateau Mouton-Rothchild, and Chateau Haut-Brion, with pricing to match.

For those who tire of the hard work of red wine tasting, then a day trip to the quaint seaside town of Arcachon is needed. Here you can cleanse your palate with raw oysters and the white wines of the Sauterne region south of Bordeaux where Semillon, Sauvignon Blanc and Muscadelle dominate.

There are many beautiful wine growing regions all over the world. However, a trip to Bordeaux will convince you as to why it has earned its international reputation.

“One barrel of wine can work more miracles than a church full of saints.”
(Old French Proverb)