In every wine region there is at least one wine that manages capture one’s personal impressions of that region—its colors, smells, and the energy of the place.
I’d fallen in love with studying art history in high school and regretted, throughout college, that I’d chosen a different—seemingly more practical—route (at the time studying journalism still seemed like a splendid idea). Wine reminded me that I use my brain best when the subject concerns beauty.
The first vineyards in the Côtes de Bourg—which lies right along the intersection of the Dordogne and Garonne rivers—are said to date back to the 2nd century A.D., when the Romans planted a species of vine called “Vitis Biturica,” an ancestor of cabernet sauvignon which they brought over from Albania.
Blaye is the largest and the most northern of Bordeaux’s band of Côtes. The region—which lies along the milk chocolate Gironde, just across from the Médoc—sits atop of the Côtes de Bourg (which we’ll cover in more detail next week) like a cartoonish conglomeration of furniture tied atop a tiny sedan.
For a little relief from en primeur exhaustion, we offer you a 4-week crash course in the other Bordeaux. This week: Cadillac Côtes de Bordeaux. The Cadillac Côtes de Bordeaux (formerly known as the Premières Côtes de Bordeaux) runs 60 km (40 miles) along the Garonne River like a dust ruffle on the girthy Entre-Deux-Mers region.
Whether or not the “proletariat” housed in the Côtes will storm Bordeaux’s figurative Bastille is yet to be determined. It happened most recently in Champagne with the rise of the grower-producers who have since staked a claim in the market and introduced a new more value-driven and terroir-sensitive element to the region. If it were to happen in Bordeaux, Castillon wouldn’t be a bad place to start a revolution.