Darkness falls across the land on the longest day of year. An astronomical phenomenon in the Northern Hemisphere where the earth’s tilt on its axis is at the farthest point from the sun and the sun’s daily maximum elevation is at its lowest is known as the Winter or December Solstice. In truth the solstice is really a moment in time; however, it is observed as an entire day; the darkest day of the year. I see it as an opportunity to open a bottle of wine!
Every day is the right time for Bordeaux. Grand and Premier Crus are ideal for special occasions, and Côtes de Bordeaux perfect for everyday enjoyment. Furthermore, for those that love Bordeaux but find Grand Crus out of reach, Côtes de Bordeaux is the perfect solution.
Are you familiar with Côtes de Bordeaux? For starters it is a Bordeaux lovers best friend because it is a region that produces lovely wines at value prices. It was created in 2007 by uniting the terroirs of Blaye, Cadillac, Castillon, and Francs under one umbrella, creating its own distinguishable brand. Côtes de Bordeaux is located on the right bank of the Garonne and Dordogne Rivers, accounting for up to 10% of all Bordeaux wine production. These are very well made wines crafted from small family wineries with all the standards you expect from Bordeaux; however, they incorporate modernity and embrace the idea of opening and enjoying any time with food, friends, laughter, or sipping alone with a good book or movie, no need to cellar for years before they are ready to be enjoyed, but age worthy if one prefers.
Faced with increasing competition, the Côtes de Bordeaux express their strength and their difference around a clear and consistent message: Bordeaux, Heart & Soul. ~ Côtes de Bordeaux
Here are four lovely wines, one from each respective appellation, perfect for welcoming winter, or any day of the year:
Blaye: A young and vibrant appellation, easily approachable wine makers crafting easily approachable wines; dynamic, modern, and outstanding.
2014 Chateau Bellerives Dubois Côtes de Bordeaux Blaye France (SRP $12): 70% Merlot, 30% Cabernet Sauvignon; dark black berries and fruit, tobacco, warm baking spices, and white pepper notes; medium body wine with low acidity balanced with low tannins, not complex but pleasing, ready to drink now; medium finish.
Cadillac: Produces carefully crafted wines, elegant and subtle, sophisticated, always bottled at the chateau.
2014 Chateau Lamothe de Haux Cadillac Côtes de Bordeaux Cadillac France (SRP $16): 60% Merlot, 30% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Cabernet Franc; tart red fruit notes were met with tobacco, fresh brewed coffee grinds, dusty earth, and dried red flowers; medium body wine with a mouth-coating tartness, medium tannins balanced with medium acidity; well-structured medium finish.
Castillon: Produces high class designer wines that are easily approachable, at affordable prices; intense and silky with style and flair; fun wines to drink and share.
2012 Chateau Pitray Castillon Côtes de Bordeaux Castillon France (SRP $15): 75% Merlot, 25% Cabernet Franc; aromas of red and black fruit, deep earthy notes of dried savory herbs, tobacco, forest floor, white pepper, and a lingering hint of vanilla; a pleasing medium body wine with dusty tannins and balanced acidity, smooth with an edge to it, well-structured wine with a medium finish.
Francs: Produces bold wines that are intense and expressive, crafted by bold winemakers; a perfect combination of personality and uniqueness that is one of a kind.
2012 Chateau Puy-Galland Côtes de Bordeaux Francs France (SRP $22): 90% Merlot, 10% Cabernet Sauvignon; ripe red and blue berries and fruit, dried violets, warm baking spices, touch of tobacco, white pepper; unusually juicy and fruit forward for a Bordeaux, pleasing and easy to drink; light tannins balanced with light acidity; medium body, medium finish.
Because these wines are easily approachable they are also easy to pair with a wide variety of cuisines. As we welcome winter, these wines will pair with beef stews, lamb shanks, roast, pastas with red and meat sauce, lasagna, Coq au Vin, oven roasted hens, rabbit ragu, pizza, meatless Monday, roasted chicken, etc. I cannot think of a winter dish that will not pair easily with these wines.
Head to your favorite local wine retailer or online and pick up a few bottles of Côtes de Bordeaux. Furthermore, they make great wines to serve at your holiday party or meals, and are great gifts! Get to know Côtes de Bordeaux today!
My Song Selection: I know this is Charlie Brown Christmas song; however, I think this instrumental version by the Vince Guaraldi Trio is such a melancholy winter song. It makes me think of curling up with a warm blanket, a good book, and a glass of wine while it softly snows outside.
Get your own bottle of Côtes de Bordeaux and let me know what song you pair with it. Cheers!