Chateau Haut Gay 2013
A selective approach is taken in the vineyards to ensure low yields and a high quality of grapes at harvest. The labor intensive work of green harvesting, leaf thinning and removal of excess shoots is practiced diligently.
To maximize flavor and aromatic potential, the selected grapes are left whole to begin their maceration in stainless steel vats. The final result is a finely structured wine, with an accessible fruitiness and a balanced integration of oak. Haut Gay is enjoyed from its second year onwards.
Though the region is larger than many of its Right Bank neighbors, it is one that consistently produces high quality, well-valued red wines. In fact, Cotes de Castillon can almost be considered a geographical eastern extension of St. Emilion, producing similarly-fashioned reds based on Merlot.
Vineyards in the region’s clay, limestone and sandstone soils produce sturdy red wines. On alluvial terraces, in vineyards closer to the Dordogne River, wines tend to be more supple and fruity. In either case, a great Cotes de Castillon red will be bursting with raspberry, plum and blueberry, have an enticing bouquet of dried flowers and a finish that is plush and opulent.
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.