For a little relief from en primeur exhaustion, we offer you a 4-week crash course in the other Bordeaux. This week: Cadillac Côtes de Bordeaux. The Cadillac Côtes de Bordeaux (formerly known as the Premières Côtes de Bordeaux) runs 60 km (40 miles) along the Garonne River like a dust ruffle on the girthy Entre-Deux-Mers region.
This white Bordeaux spent 12 months in 50% new barrels. The nose was shy, the color almost clear. On the palate it was subtle and soft, offering tropical fruit on the attack, getting tart as it lingered on the palate, but never overpowering. Acids are not prevalent, so drink it now, with garlic crab. Recommended.
This still-young wine spent 18-22 months in new barrels. Soft tannins outweigh acids. Primary flavors are tart red fruit, cranberry and rhubarb, with some dark cherry in the background, evolving toward darker fruits followed by unsweetened chocolate on the finish. Overall mouth-feel was rich. Recommended.
As unlikely as it seems, 2010 seems to be the second excellent vintage in a row for the Grands Crus wines of Bordeaux. This phenomenon does occur a few times a century, but early reports of this new great vintage engendered a lot of skepticism.
On that next to last day of the week, we eased into the tasting with some lovely wines from the middle of the Médoc region, a fairly long, narrow rustic peninsula just north of Bordeaux, where small farms are interspersed with vineyards and very small villages.
Before we began the day with our formal tasting, we all trooped over to Château Cheval Blanc. It was, as usual, a media circus with the top wine critics from around the world shooting interviews with each other and with dapper, sophisticated winery manager Pierre Lurton -- who we would later also see at the Château d’Yquem tasting – the other property he manages.
Becky Sue Epstein is back in Bordeaux, for the annual en primeur tastings. Before the Union des Grands Crus tastings started on Monday, she put in a hefty amount of time amongst the other red wines of Bordeaux. Here’s what she learned in her first 24 hours on the ground.