Left Bank and Lentils – French #Winophiles
French #Winophiles Visit Storied Left Bank Bordeaux
Our French #Winophiles group will be hanging out in Bordeaux for the next few months (if it could only be real!). This month, we are focusing our efforts on the Medoc and Haut-Medoc AOC communities. You can link to all our posts farther down the page.
The AOC regions of Medoc and Haut-Medoc include the most famous and expensive wines in Bordeaux, and some of the most famous and expensive wines in the world. You can still enjoy drinking wines from this region, even if you’re not willing to spend upwards of $500/bottle, then waiting 15+ years for it to mature.
Fast Facts on Left Bank Bordeaux Wines
- Bordeaux red wine grapes: Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot, Carmenere, Malbec
- Left Bank: Stand on the bank of a river, face downstream. The bank on your left is the “Left Bank” (works in Paris, too).
- Cool maritime climate due to rivers and ocean.
- Gravel soils make the Left Bank slightly warmer than the Right Bank (come back in August for our Right Bank edition).
- The Left Bank climate is just barely warm enough to ripen Cabernet Sauvignon, most years. Merlot and Cabernet Franc will fully ripen in cooler temperatures, guaranteeing the winegrower an ability to make at least some wine every year.
- Blends are the name of the game. Cabernet Sauvignon is dominant on the left bank.
- If you’re lucky enough to inherit land in Pauillac, Margaux, St. Julien, or St. Estephe, congratulations, you are rich!
Château Carmenère Medoc 2011 ($30 at Brightwines)
Château Carmenère is a small chateau who used to sell their grapes to larger Bordeaux estates. In 2006, the son decided to start making their own wine. The Family Richard-Barraud is dedicated to bringing back the use of the Carmenère grape in Bordeaux wines. This wine is 60% Cabernet Sauvignon, 35% Merlot, 3% Carmenère, 2% Petit Verdot. Lesson: if you stay out of the well known villages, you can buy a very pretty red Bordeaux wine from a family winery for $30.
Eye: Clear, medium ruby with a purple edge.
Nose: Clean, medium- intensity. Very gentle herbal nose with red fruit behind. A bit of soft richness brings a sense of some oak aging in the wine but very subtle.
Mouth: Medium body, medium acidity and medium+ tannins, but nice and refined. Flavors of red fruits. Very subtle, elegant and restrained.
Steak and Lentils for a Summer Dinner
Grilled, braised or roasted red meat is always a good choice with red Bordeaux. In the summer, I think first about the grill. Easy enough, but how about a French twist on the meal? In looking for a side dish in a French summer theme, I found a nice lentil salad recipe in David Lebovitz’ “My Paris Kitchen“. Perfect! Here in the US, we hardly ever give a thought to lentils. They’re delicious and I like their texture, but they are just a homely brownish green color. They need help. David Lebovitz to the rescue!
This salad is definitely a keeper. Julie, who is not wild about lentils, raved about it. Plus, it was a nice way to give steak a nice French summer twist. Just make sure the wine is just a bit cooler than room temperature. Not cold, just a touch cool. We enjoyed a beautiful evening out on the deck, with a Medoc red wine being a perfect partner to dinner.
French #Winophiles Dream of Bordeaux
Take a look at what our #Winophiles found in our first of several Bordeaux outings below:
Interested in joining in? Put Saturday, July 16 at 10 am CDT on your calendar and pop into twitter. Hunt down the hashtag #Winophiles. Share, ask, enjoy.