The designation Bordeaux Supérieur is a qualified, superior grade in comparison
to standard Bordeaux AOP wines. As aspiration, they intend to be more layered
and rich due to 3 primary mandates of the appellation: higher planting density of
vines to promote healthy competition between their root systems for nutrients;
judicious pruning to tailor harvest yields and concentrate grape character, and
finally, the typical .5% increase of alcohol level, reflecting the careful selection of
mature fruit from older vines with sufficiently developed, natural sugar content.
The greatest concentration of Supérieur producers is in the peripheral areas
north of Pomerol and St-Emilion though fully 25% of all vineyards throughout
greater-Bordeaux are dedicated to achieving this target grading. The diverse
patchwork of 38 sub-regions encompassing 60 AOC appellations, also divided
into a lengthy list of individual, legendary plots, is somewhat more decipherable
with the understanding that most are anchored around key, namesake towns
and villages. Moreover, they’re further distinguished by being grouped around
the Gironde Estuary at the region’s Atlantic end, or inland along the converging
Garonne and Dordogne rivers. Lastly, the paths of these 3 waterways, roughly
drawn as a diagonal line through the region, provide demarcation for which of
the vineyards and wines are of so-called Right or Left Bank origin. North of the
Dordogne is Right, south of the Gironde and Garonne is Left. An added anomaly
is the sizeable zone between called Entre-Deux-Mers (between 2 seas). It’s all
delightfully bewildering, this vast collection of 7,375 wine-producing Châteaux!
As for price-point range, the loose designation of petit Château encompasses
thousands of producers who don’t officially qualify as Cru Classés: the 5 top-tier,
Bordeaux classifications. In many cases, their vineyards are located right next
to those of better-recognized brands. In rarer instances, there are microclimate
and soil composition factors that innately result in differing wines being yielded
from plots nearby to each other. However, cost and desirability are generally
determined by the reputation of a particular vintage and how much investment
in production there has been by the estate. Despite a common perception that
the offerings from Bordeaux tend toward premium pricing, a significant majority
of Bordelais vintners sell their red and white wines, fairly, at between $15-25.
Fronsac is among the better-known Right Bank appellations where blended reds
are distinctively built around an early ripening Merlot grape; a robust variety that
has the ability to develop adequately in slightly cooler terroirs. The nature of the
resulting wine is typically more supple and softer than the tannic and intense,
Cabernet Sauvignon, hybrid counterpart – which characterizes Left Bank blends.
Partially hidden among 180 growers in the Les Vignerons du Fronsadais co-op
is Château des Moines Menodin, which has already done the cellaring work for
this week’s DéClassé feature. The secret is out and this will rightfully sell quickly.
If you haven’t enjoyed a remarkably inexpensive 2009 or 2010 Bordeaux lately,
then here’s a great starting point for their rediscovery. Drink now thru 2016.
CHATEAU DES MOINES MENODIN 2010
VINTAGES – LCBO Product #424259 | 750 mL bottle
Price $ 14.95
Sugar Content Descriptor: XD
Made in: Bordeaux, France
By: Catherine Mas, Prop.
Release Date: August 22, 2015
This garnet coloured, fleshy, fully rounded table wine has loads of red fruit flavours
and aroma, accented with cassis, vanilla and spice. Try it with grilled asparagus,
roasted veal, or a baked Brie served on savoury bread crisps.