Calluna Chalk Hill Calluna Vineyards Cuvee 2013
Blend: 40% Merlot, 28% Cabernet Sauvignon, 15% Cabernet Franc, 10% Malbec, 7% Petit Verdot
That meant initially spending years in enology school and learning from those who were already successful. After many years of visiting wine regions and tasting wines from around the world, our adventure truly began in 2001 when my family and I left the East coast for Fresno, California where I attended Fresno State’s top Viticulture and Enology school. As a capstone to my three year program, I worked in Bordeaux for the 2003 harvest with Dr. Alain Raynaud at Chateau Quinault l’Enclos. My stated goal in Bordeaux was to go beyond being a cellar worker and closely examine every facet of Bordeaux vineyards and winemaking. Working with Dr. Raynaud was both a revelation and an inspiration.
The journey to Calluna has taken me around the world and led my family to this hilltop in the middle of Sonoma County. It’s here that we staked out our vineyard from bare land, raised our kids and began making the wines we’re proud to share with you today. — David A. Jeffrey, Winemaker
One of the world’s most classic and popular styles of red wine, Bordeaux-inspired blends have spread from their homeland in France to nearly every corner of the New World, especially in California, Washington and Australia. Typically based on either Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot and supported by Cabernet Franc, Malbec and Petit Verdot, these are sometimes referred to in the US as “Meritage” blends. In Bordeaux itself, Cabernet Sauvignon dominates in wines from the Left Bank of the Gironde River, while the Right Bank focuses on Merlot. Often, blends from outside the region are classified as being inspired by one or the other.
Tasting Notes for Bordeaux Blends
Bordeaux Blends are dry, red wines and generally have aromas and flavors of black currant, black cherry plum, graphite, cedar and violet. Cabernet-based, Left-Bank-styled wines are typically more tannic and structured, while Merlot-based wines, modeled after the Right Bank, are softer and suppler. Cabernet Franc can add herbal notes, while Malbec and Petit Verdot contribute color and structure.
Perfect Food Pairings for Bordeaux Blends
Since Bordeaux red blends are often quite structured and tannic, they pair best with hearty, flavorful and fatty meat dishes. Any type of steak makes for a classic pairing. Equally welcome with these wines would be beef brisket, pot roast, braised lamb or smoked duck.
Sommelier Secrets for Bordeaux Blends
While the region of Bordeaux is limited to a select few approved grape varieties in specified percentages, the New World is free to experiment. Bordeaux blends in California may include equal amounts of Cabernet Franc and Malbec, for example. Occassionally a winemaker might add a small percentage of a non-Bordeaux variety, such as Syrah or Petite Sirah for a desired result.