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Wine of the Week: France 2017 Bordeaux vintage

Dwight Casimere | 1/30/2020, noon
The most anticipated and highly coveted event of the wine world is the debut of the newest wines from the ...

The most anticipated and highly coveted event of the wine world is the debut of the newest wines from the famed Bordeaux region of France. The Union des Grands Crus de Bordeaux introduced its 2017 vintage to the United States and by all accounts, it is a banner year for Bordeaux. Unveiled amidst the fear of steep trade tariffs that have happily since been deferred, the background drama only heightened the experience of tasting what are reputed to be the world’s finest wines. The union’s 134 producer members presented nearly 400 wines of superlative quality. Composed primarily of Cabernet and Merlot grape varieties for red wine and Sauvignon and Semillon for dry white and sweet wines, the region is known for producing exceptional wines.

Located at the earth’s 45th parallel, the Bordeaux region is know for its perfect location for wine production. Its terroir, that almost inexplicable confluence of climate, soil and region, makes for an eminently favorable environment for wine. This harmonious blend combines the natural expression of the region with time-honored traditions, passion, dedication and a touch of soul, to create unique wines.

Here are just a few of the highlights.

From the Haut-Medoc

Chateau Fourcas Dupre -$24

Founded in1844 by the lawyer Jean Baptiste Antoine Dupre, a member of the Bordeaux Appeals Court, the cellars, buildings and chateau have been completely restored. The vineyards are located in gravel soils on the slopes of the Pyranees. Current owner Patrice Pages is also the winemaker. The wine is 44% Merlot, 44% Cabernet, 10% Cabernet Franc and 2% Pett Verdot. Bright Ruby red in color, the wine is redolent of blackberries on the nose with a mix of black and red fruit on the palate. A subtle marine influence ads to its complexity. Terrific to drink now because of its freshness and tension on the finish. The best that Listrac-Medoc has to offer

Margaux

Chateau Cantenac Brown -$69

John-Lewis Brown purchased a vineyard in the early 1800s in the village of Cantenac and built a Tudor style chateaux that reminded him of his Scottish home. In 1843, Mssr. Gromard, a banker, took over the property and turned it over to wine merchant Armand Laland, the owner of Chateau Leoville Poyfere in St. Julien . Now owned by the Simon Halabi family, the winery has flourished and has achieved world renown under the stewardship of winemaker Jose Sanfins.

The 2009, 2010 and 2015 vintages are considered benchmarks for the chateau. Chateau Cantenac Brown was sold to Tristan LeLou of the Urgo Group in 2019 with Sanfins still on board. The wine is made with grapes from old vines, about 60 years old. The wine is fermented at very cold temperatures and allowed to age in a combination of French oak barrels and large concrete vats. It is then aged in 60% new French oak for 12 to 15 months. This is a wine best served after a few years of cellar aging and after decanting for several hours. Best with classic meat dishes such as roast veal or lamb and hearty firm fish such as tuna or salmon. Great with mushrooms, aged cheeses and any number of pasta dishes. Feeling adventurous? This wine never met a Thai or Szechwan dish it didn't like!

Chateau d'Yquem

Close Haut-Peyraguey-$79

This is liquid gold in the glass. Rated Premiere Cru Classe, the winery is located just across from famed Chateau d’ Yquem. Layers of honeyed lemon, hints of tamarind and orange zest. This is best savored alone as the dessert.