Bordeaux has what’s known as a high-class problem: People think of it as a snobby French region making great, if unapproachable, wine. People are in awe of it—and intimidated by it—before they even open a bottle.
To remind you that red Bordeaux can be tasty, affordable, and not complicated, I tasted a bunch of wines from the Médoc, a famous part of the region on what’s called the Left Bank of the Gironde River. It’s home to some of the world’s most revered wines, like Château Lafite Rothschild and Château Haut Brion, but also more humble bottlings.
And to further make it interesting, all of the wines are made by women. This isn’t like seeing a unicorn or anything—plenty of women work in wineries. But that wasn’t the case 10 years ago, so it’s worth noting how far the industry has come.
Château du Cartillon 2011 Cru Bourgeois ($30) has the lovely strawberry patch taste profile that Bordeaux is especially good at, and almost no tannin, so it will go with pretty much anything. Easy and pleasant, it strikes me as the kind of thing you’d serve with homemade chicken salad for a Mother’s Day luncheon.
A little more body is present in Château La Lauzette 2010 Cru Bourgeois ($28), and more tingly acid too, plus good black cherry flavor. I’d open this one a bit in advance, since a bit of air smoothes it out. There’s a slightly tart edge here, which absolutely demands you serve it with food, like lamb chops.
I love when my favorite wine in a tasting is the cheapest, too, and that’s the case with Château Donissan 2010 Cru Bourgeois ($20). At five years old, it’s getting the slightest hint of leather, which happens as Bordeaux develops. Fresh cherry flavors, great supple mouth-feel—it’s a lot of fun to drink, and doesn’t require a PhD or a nose-in-the-air attitude to enjoy it.
To the women behind these wines, respectively—Meret Lowig Larsen, Liz Roskam, and Marie Veronique Laporte—we say, thanks, ladies.