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Assuming almost every wine lover will have drunk Bordeaux wines, the popular appellations we come across in wine shops or supermarkets could be, to name a few, St Estephe, St Julien, Paulliac, Margaux, Graves, Medoc, Pomerol, St Emillion etc.
There are yet still many appellations from Bordeaux that might be unfamiliar to us. Cotes de Bordeaux is among one of them that offer fine wines of good value. It is an umbrella appellation created in 2007 that, includes Blaye, Cadillac, Castillon and Francs, situates on the right bank of Gironde and Garonne and accounts for 10% of Bordeaux wines production with 97% being red.
Similar to Pomerol and St Emillion, the reds are mainly from the Merlot variety, associated with Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Malbec. For the whites, the major grape is Sauvignon, blended with Semillon. Both traditional and modern Bordeaux methods are applied – harvesting by parcels and variety, destemming, crushing, malolactic fermentation, ageing in tank and /or in casks, blending and finally the making of the cuvees. There are around 1,000 producers where most of the estates are family owned and run by a young generation of dynamic and passionate wine growers.
The special feature in the appellation is on blending. Not only wines are blended among grapes, they are blended across terroirs of the Cotes, thus creating strong complementarity and character, with vintage peculiarity. Vineyards across the 4 Cotes have terrain and slopes with south to southwest exposure and gravelly to clay-limestone soils. Wines are in deep color, with red fruits (raspberry, strawberry) aromas, stone fruits (plum, cherry) and also of vanilla and mocha which are fruity and enjoyable on their own. Unlike the famous Bordeaux wines for high tannins and agebility, these wines are preferably to be consumed young and can keep for around 10 years.
Food matching for Cotes wines have been focused on South West France food where 24 international chefs were invited to create receipes to serve with Cotes wines, after being inspired by South West France cuisine. Few attempts were made to match Chinese cuisine so far. Once attended a press lunch where a range of red wines from the Cotes are to mix and match with Guangdong cuisine like Dim Sum Platter, Sauteed Scallops with Walnut, Beef with Yam and Green Pepper, Deep-Fried Crispy Chicken and Fried Rice with Abalone Sauce wrapped in Lotus Leaf. The wines that outstand are Chateau Du Vallier (Cadillac) and Chateau de Birot (Cadillac) which match well with seafood or meat dishes of no or light gravy. Those wines that have elegant tannins became too tannic to match the dishes above. Chinese cuisine to match Cotes wines is better to be kept as simple as it could be. Shall suggest trying BBQ pork, Pan-fried Pork or Beef with vegetables or simply Special Fried Rice will be more complimentary.
Cotes de Bordeaux is becoming a new rising brand worldwide. 20% of the production is exported today and the 1st market is China, accounting for 23% of the total. Promotions are still their major focus in 2014. Coming events in HK/China include:
1. Festival of the wines of Aquitaine and Bordeaux ( Oct 30 – Nov 1) Wuhan
2. Bordeaux fete le vin at the Wine and Dine Festival ( Oct 30 – Nov 2 ) HK
3. Hong Kong Wine Fair ( Nov 6 – 8 )
4. Prowine Shanghai Fair ( Nov 12 – 14 )
These Cotes wines are enjoyable on its own. For those that have not a chance to taste the wines from the Cotes, try to grab a bottle from wine shops / supermarkets or attend festivals mentioned above. Sure you will understand the meaning of good value by then.
Text : Salina Fok, AIWS
23 Jun 2014
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