(Sept. 2016) Bordeaux is known around the world for their sophisticated red wines. However, if you visit Bordeaux during the heat of the summer when the temperatures can soar into the mid 90’s F, it is difficult to crave a big heavy red wine. But guess what? That’s not what the residents of Bordeaux drink in the summer. They enjoy their crisp whites (which are widely exported), and also the refreshing Bordeaux rose and sparkling wines.
|Cremant de Bordeaux - A Lovely Sparkling Wine|
What? – you may be asking - Bordeaux produces rose and sparkling wines? The answer is yes, but they rarely export them. The reason is not clear, but perhaps they want to focus on red wines, because they produce more of these and “Red Bordeaux” is their signature wine. However in making the reds, they often “bleed” off the juice (called saignee in French) in order to concentrate the must and make a heavier darker red. The excess pink grape juice is turned into rose and sparkling rose, as well as a slightly darker and more tannic rose called “Clairet.”
|Bordeaux Rose and Darker "Rose Clairet"|
Even more impressive are some of the white sparkling wines they are producing from semillon, sauvignon blanc, and muscadelle, as well as the red grapes of merlot and cabernet franc. Called “Cremant de Bordeaux” these wines lack the elegance of Champagne, but are still enjoyable as an aperitif on a hot day.
|Bordeaux Sparkling Cremant, Graves Bordeaux Blanc and Cheese Plate|
Even better news is the fact that most of the roses, clairets, and cremants produced in Bordeaux are inexpensive – ranging from 5 euros per bottle for a simple rose and up to 15 euros per bottle for a more serious cremant. What a great deal – I just wish they would export a bit more of them.