Fashionable Bordeaux without the Fashionable Pricing Pt. 4: Côtes de Bourg and Francs Côtes de Bordeaux
The first vineyards in the Côtes de Bourg—which lies right along the intersection of the Dordogne and Garonne rivers—are said to date back to the 2nd century A.D., when the Romans planted a species of vine called “Vitis Biturica,” an ancestor of cabernet sauvignon which they brought over from Albania.
Blaye is the largest and the most northern of Bordeaux’s band of Côtes. The region—which lies along the milk chocolate Gironde, just across from the Médoc—sits atop of the Côtes de Bourg (which we’ll cover in more detail next week) like a cartoonish conglomeration of furniture tied atop a tiny sedan.
Very pretty floral and stone fruit aromas waft up from the glass, with apple blossoms and pears showing the most. Similar flavors show on the palate, with the addition of Meyer lemon adding a citrus tang. Partial malolactic fermentation softens the palate and adds apple notes to the mid-palate. Acids are well balanced. This is a very nice wine, particularly for the price. Drink with fresh trout. Highly recommended.
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.