Bordeaux and Rioja

Bordeaux and Rioja


Bordeaux is by a long way the largest producer of quality wines in the world, producing primarily red wine (Claret) principally from Merlot & Cabernet Sauvignon grape varieties.  This fascinating area is further sub divided according to the French Appellation contrôlée (AC) system with sub-regions and individual villages imbuing the wine with a style and quality that is distinctive. 

In this tasting we will compare three wines that demonstrate how this labelling system works, moving from generic, through region to individual village wine.

Firstly, the vast majority of wine from Bordeaux is simply labelled as Bordeaux AC or Bordeaux Superior AC.  These wines can be from anywhere within this vast region, tend to be dominated by Merlot and are usually fruit uncomplixcated wines designed to be drunk immediately.

Secondly, we will sample a wine from the Médoc AC (or left bank to wine enthusiasts) sub region.  This area produces much more serious wines, dominated by Cabernet Sauvignon capable of ageing for several years.

Finally, we will sample a wine from one of the famous villages within the best part of the Medoc, the Haut-Médoc (upper Médoc) - either a Margaux, Saint-Julien, Pauillac or Saint-Estèphe.  These wines exhibit much greater complexity and have great ageing potential.  These villages contain some of the most famous (and expensive) of the Bordeaux Chateaux such as Chateau lafitte, Chateau Latour and Chateau Margaux.

We will include a discussion of the classification system that applies to individual Bordeaux Chateau, most of which actually dates from 1855.


After Red Bordeaux wine, probably the most famous area for producing quality red wine is Rioja in Northern Spain.

Red wines from Rioja are dominated by the Tempranillo grape, but it is the use of oak ageing that gives Rioja its individual character.

The traditional style of Rioja wine uses small, new oak barrels from American oak that imparts significant flavours to the wine in addition to softening the tannins.  Depending on the length of time spent ageing in oak, three labels can be applied and we will sample one from each of these types of wine.

Crianza - Aged for a minimum of one year before sale of which at least 12 months will have been in oak barrels.  These wines represent excellent value for money with fresh red fruit flavours complemented by hints of oak character and soft ripe tannins.

Reserva - Produced only in good years, thses wines are aged for a minimum of 3 years before being released for sale, at least 12 months of which will have been in oak barrels.  These wines retain the fruitness from a Crianza style wine but have a much more developed nose with strong oak influences and complexity from ageing; the tannins are very soft

Gran Reserva - The pinnacle of the Rioja pyramid.  Gran Reserva wines are produced only in exceptionally good years and have been aged for a minimum of  5 years before being releasd for sale, at least 2 years of which will have been in oak barrels.  These wines exhibit pronouced oak character and great complexity from ageing - simply wonderful!

Places remaining: 3

Course Date/Time: Wed 8th May 2019 at 7.00-9.00pm

Duration: 2 Hours

Venue: The Lion Hotel, Shrewsbury

Event Price: £30.00







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