The Red and The White of It

Last evening, with our friend Corinne, we had dinner tasting and enjoying these two very special Bordeaux wines: Les Hauts de Lagarde 2015 – Blanc and Rouge.

We began our food and wine tasting with humus and endives as an appetizer. We were so involved with Corinne having just returned from the Netherlands, I forgot to pour the Blanc. Once we sat down, it became an embarrassing moment, but no one held it against me. Both the blanc and rouge were poured at the same time, so we could go back and forth with all of the flavors. As it turned out, the wines and foods were perfect in this accord. We enjoyed the following:

  • Roasted, paprika and herbs chicken with roasted white potatoes, which had soaked in the juices of the poultry while cooking.
  • An organic garden salad of lettuce, tomatoes, shredded carrots, sliced persimmons (from our orchard), cucumbers, cranberries, celery, and scallions.
  • Gallettes ~ One slice was apple, the other was sour cherries, served with organic vanilla ice cream.

This was a very simple, peasant meal. It was easy to go back and forth, sipping what wine seemed to match what we were eating at the time.

  • Les Hauts de Lagarde 2015 Blanc ~ This white wine was soft and round, from its Semillon grapes, and yet the Sauvignon Blanc brought out its tartness, leaving a delicious grapefruit flavor lingering on my palate. The roasted potatoes made it all blend really well… the tart and the smooth…
    • With the salad, I favored the Blanc, sure that the dried cranberries and fresh persimmons had something to do with that. Still, it also paired well with the Rouge. Just a bit of sweet can make a salad work with a salad for me, since I love fresh, raw vegetables.
  • Les Hauts de Lagarde 2015 Rouge ~ For a Merlot, this wine was as I always wanted a Merlot to taste… Soft, smooth, and just blending in, not dominating. When I read – this morning, not last night – that this wine pairs well with poultry – not mentioned in what pairs well with the Blanc – I was stunned. I had discovered it accidentally, but I’m here to attest that this is spot on for this wine.
    • The rouge, had we tried it with the hummus, would have worked beautifully.

[This is the famous Mirror d’eau – Mirror of Water – in Bordeaux.]

Vin de Bordeaux ~ Les Hauts de Lagarde 2015 ~ The Red And The White of It

Appellation Bordeaux Contrôlée

This is a designation for generic wines of Bordeaux, which are about 50 percent of the wines from the region. These wines usually sell as “value” wines. The label designate simply reads, “Appellation Bordeaux Contrôlée.” They’re very enjoyable for their prices. And, they make up the “house wine” category, while Margaux is saved for special occasions and guests who appreciate the wine’s significance.

So, when Natural Wine Merchants offered the opportunity to taste their Vin de Bordeaux Appellation Bordeaux Contrôlée ~ Les Hauts de Lagarde 2015 wines, it was an offer that I just couldn’t refuse.

Two bottles with the same label arrived. The only differences:

  • Color of labels slightly different – Green for the blanc, with brown and red for the rouge
  • Capsules also different colors – Silver for blanc and copper for rouge
  • Back labels tell the story
    • Blanc: 60% Sauvignon, 40% Semillon
    • Rouge: 65% Merlot, 25% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Cabernet Franc
  • Other detail – SAME
    • Location: Saint Laurent du Bois, Entre-Deux-Mers (Between Two Seas) region, Bordeaux France
  • Other details – DIFFERENT
    • Tasting notes: White ~ Yellow pale with iridescent hints. Aromatic, citrus fruits with aromas of white flowers. Lively, rich, with the fine presence of acidity. Serve at 45°F
    • Tasting notes: Red ~ Garnet red; aromas black currant and raspberry sherbet. Medium body, well-balanced with supple tannins. Serve at 60º-62°F
    • And, of course, what foods to enjoy with each wine. Blanc, vegetable platters, oysters, seafood, fish, appetizers, grilled salmon; rouge, red meat, poultry, pasta dishes, and your favorite cheese

[Image from Travel France Online]

Saint Laurent du Bois, Entre-Deux-Mers region

Château de Lagarde ~ Vignobles Raymond

From Entre-Deux-Mers, I knew approximately where the vineyard was located. Cabernet dominating? (Left bank) Merlot dominating? (Right bank) These are the telltale signs for which side of the water to find a vineyard, from whence the grapes originate.

And, these grapes were organically grown (Agriculture Biologique), as well as their being part of a non GMO project, verified. (I avoid GMO at all cost, when I have the option.) This really pleases me about Natural Wine Merchants, located in Grants Pass, Oregon. Oregon, in my humble opinion ~ having traveled to 40 of our 50 states ~ is the epitome of a state that is progressively natural in the US.

Our history: The future is in the bio

From Château de Legarde’s Website: The Raymond Family has always been a family farmer in Saint Laurent du Bois*. The first generation of winegrowers at Château de Lagarde is in 1850 with 15 hectares [37 acres]. Today, the Raymond Vineyards are the largest organic farm with 180 hectares [445 acres].

From Natural Wine Merchant’s Website: In 2000, we tend to believe that it was fate which made Lionel Raymond purchased Château Joumes Fillon (an organic vineyard). Because of Lionel’s strong beliefs in the respect of environment and the terroir he decided to convert the whole vineyard (130 hectares) to organic agriculture.  It was a quite a bet, and most winemakers in the area thought he was pretty crazy. It is twice the work of a conventional vineyard. Located in the Entre-Deux-Mers, not far from Bordeaux, our wines have grown in the villages of Saint-Laurent-du-Bois, Saint-Martial, Saint-Felix de Conclude since medieval times.

*Saint-Laurent-du-Bois, in the southwest of France, is commune. It’s located in the Gironde department of Nouvelle-Aquitaine, the largest administrative region in France. [See the map for Nouvelle-Aquitaine.]

Here I am, once more honoring that I was inspired to learn about Bordeaux, to better round out my wine knowledge. It will now have to be a life of learning about this one eponymous, world class wine region. I really don’t care which wine regions anyone learns about; however, without a good dose of Bordeaux, that person is still limping through the process. Please don’t judge me as an elitist in this evaluation. It’s just an observation, 12 months later. As much as I’ve learned, I’ve only approached The Miroir d’eau… Yet to enter the heart and soul of Bordeaux.