Bordeaux Links to the Young and Restless
In a May 21, 2010 New York Times article, Eric Asimov notes that Bordeaux is not as popular with the under 50 crowd as it was and “some younger wine drinkers are finding Bordeaux irrelevant.” To counter this notion, Bordeaux uses smart marketing to motivate 21–35 singles into thinking Bordeaux, speaking Bordeaux, and ordering Bordeaux, by linking the wines of the region with single matchmaking events and perhaps even leads to good sex.
It appears that the Bordeaux Wine Council has taken the alleged pomp and circumstance associated with Bordeaux very seriously and now offers a series of wine events for singles who connect a budding romance with their first (and second) sip of Bordeaux. The event is supported by the European Union.
At an event recently held on Manhattan’s far west side (try 440 West 10th Street) a few hundred young and (mostly) single folks came out to sample the wines of Bordeaux while also exploring the opportunities to find love, among the vast array of interesting and affordable wines from the Bordeaux region of France.
Paired by Preference
While registering for attendance at a Matchmaking event (held in such major locales as NYC, Miami, and Chicago), interested participants are asked to list their wine preferences (i.e., red or wine, dry or sweet, sparkling or not) and, upon arrival, guests are handed an envelope that directs them to wines that meet their first choice. Instead of asking the usual boring bar questions (i.e., come here often, don’t I know you from exercise class), here the conversation that turns an acquaintance into a date, takes on a bit more sophistication as one asks the other to determine if they can taste the blackberry and oak in the Chateau Sainte Colombe, Cotes de Catillon 2004.
The idea seems to work magic; people arriving alone (or with groups of guys/gals) are quickly discussing the nuances of Merlot and Cabernet Franc or Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon, with members of the opposite sex. Wine appears to quickly turn strangers into new BFFs.
Although I destroyed the demographics for the Bordeaux PR folks, I did find a few wines that made the evening a taste adventure if not a social conquest. Most of the wines are priced under US$25 per bottle.
As I approach a new wine, I prefer to clear my mind of everything else and create a Zen-like zone in my head. My focus is on the wine and everything else disappears. The only significance of the moment is the wine and the way it looks, smells, and tastes.
Chateau Marjosse, Bordeaux Blanc 2010
• 55 percent Sauvignon Blanc, 40 percent Semillon, 5 percent Muscadelle
I closed my eyes and inhaled deeply; searching my database for a link or memory to the bouquet of the wine. When the “aha” moment arrived I was able to find a light whiff of fresh green grass. Now I was totally open to this new virtual experience, viewing a rural meadow with the air filled with hints of lime, oranges, and wild flowers. Pale yellow in color and dry and crisp to the palette, I look forward to pairing this Chateau Marjosse with smoked salmon on buttered toast points or creme fraiche with fresh berries.
Chateau Haut Pasquet, Bordeaux 2011
• 40 percent Semillon, 40 percent Sauvignon Blanc, 20 percent Muscadelle
Think of driving through the mountains after a spring rain and, opening the window, you inhale the fresh breeze; this is as close as I can get to the crisp and citrus nose from this Bordeaux white blend. The in-the-glass color reflects the gold of a sunny day. The finish on the tongue hints of fresh tart limes. Perfectly paired with a goat cheese salad (no tomatoes), and oysters.
Chateau Haut Maginet, Bordeaux 2011
• 60 percent Sauvignon Blanc, 20 percent Muscadelle, 20 percent Semillon
Think of a citrus salad with oranges and pears sliced together – now inhale! The hue is a light gold; on the palate seek a fresh lemon peel and melon experience. Joined together with grilled salmon, yogurt, and bananas alongside country bread with fresh creamy butter and you have created the perfect light spring dinner.
Chateau La Gatte, Bordeaux 2011
• 60 percent Sauvignon Gris, 40 percent Sauvignon Blanc
Sauvignon Gris grapes are considered to be less aromatic than Sauvignon Blanc, and wine experts find the acidity level to be good and the pale gold colored wines it produces to be full bodied. Only 2 percent of all the white wine grapes produced in Bordeaux are devoted to Sauvignon Gris. The grape is used in blends as French AOC law dictates that wineries are not allowed to bottle it as a single varietal.
The Chateau La Gatte offers a pink hue (thanks to the Sauvignon Gris), presents a hint of melon, and delivers a dry finish. This blended Bordeaux is recommended as an aperitif, also a delight with ham omelets and brioche.
Chateau La Gatte, Bordeaux Rose 2011
• 70 percent Merlot, 30 percent Malbec
This red wine is a blend of the juicy Merlot grape with the dark skinned Malbec. Nothing for the nose, but fabulous eye candy with its deep rose color. Definitely fruit-forward to the point of being almost candy sweet on the tongue. Fortunately it offers a pleasant moment; sadly it does not leave a lasting memory. Teams well with smoked meat; also delightful as an aperitif.
Chateau Tour de Gilet, Bordeaux Superieur 2010
• 70 percent Merlot, 30 percent Cabernet Sauvignon
Bordeaux Superieur is a title in its own right, specifically covering both red and white wines. The reds have a slightly higher alcoholic content than standard Bordeaux, are aged for longer in oak barrels (12 months minimum) and are produced from older vines.
The Chateau Tour de Gilet offers deep black cherry (leaning towards purple) in the glass and delights the eye bringing up memories of cushy velvets and the opulence of the opera. The wine is young at heart, but matured through life experience. Look for a touch of vanilla and spicy oak. This Bordeaux Superieur is like a brief kiss with a potential lover. The very pleasant taste with fine tannin is seductive; best to throw caution to the wind and enjoy with spicy pizza, baby back ribs, or marinated flank steak.
Enjoy Bordeaux NOW
Now is probably a very good time to experience Bordeaux wines. While many of the vineyards are still in the hands of experienced wine makers as they have been over hundreds of years, the newest owners of these legendary French vineyards are Chinese. In early December, 2012, a grand cru vineyard in the St. Emilion area was purchased by a wealthy 45-year-old Chinese entrepreneur. The 20-hectare estate was sold at an estimated 1.5–2 million euros per hectare. Currently 40 chateaux have changed hands and are now operated by Chinese owners.
While every kiss may begin with K, many lovely friendships begin with a wine from Bordeaux. Check the Bordeaux website http://www.bordeaux.com/us/blog/tag/bordeaux-matchmaking/ for 2013 Matchmaking events.