From buying a gift of wine for a hostess to creating a dinner for that special someone, we all dream of having the knowledge to buy the perfect wines.
Only for too many of us, it really is not that easy to do.
The Bordeaux region of France is the country’s largest wine growing region. Some of the finest wines – from bottles perfect for the porch to those that will stand on your holiday table with distinction – come from Bordeaux.
With more than 700 millions bottles of wine being produced by the region every year, it can be daunting to know which Bordeaux wine to choose.
Simply put, Bordeaux.com, the web site, is the finest wine information sites one will find. Produced by the Conseil Interprofessionnel du Vin de Bordeaux, the site begins with a grid of nine wines that introduce the user to wines the wines of the region that include include white, red, rose, and sweet dessert wines (sauternes).
The majority of Bordeaux wines are blended, meaning they are made by combining Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Daubignon, Merlot, Muscadelle, Sauvignon blanc and/or Sémillion grapes, which makes them very food friendly and easy to pair with a variety of cuisines.
Visit the grape section, found under the The Vineyard, to learn more about the grapes and the flavors they impart.
Choose the Baron de Luze 2010 and read notes that describe the vintage as a ‘A soft, rich wine with a creamy texture and notes of oak, honey, vanilla and candied lemon. Well balanced and fresh with a smooth finish.”
This video features Mollie Battenhouse, aka the ‘le Wine Buff’ who not only informs, but actually teaches about this wine, a blend of merlot and cabernet sauvignon. Taking you through the process of learning the wines nose and mouth.
The Baron de Luze can be purchased under $15. All wines featured on the site are priced between $15 and $55, with most being moderate to very approachable. Most Bordeaux is affordable with 80% of the region’s wines priced under $30.00.
As you learn about the wines, watch the videos as wine experts discuss the different wines, where they come from in the Bordeaux region and how they are best served, making it easier for you to choose the perfect wine for your dinner, patio, or hostess gift.
Clicking through the site learn more about the Bordeaux wine region, how to decipher the labels and, one of the coolest features, the vintage notes. This rollover feature lets the user see, by year, how wines have matured.
A handy feature to have on your smart phone when you are wine shopping. And yes, they have an app for that available at the App store or Google Play.
If you are traveling to France, a trip to Bordeaux means being able to take a wine class, from a two hour introduction to Bordeaux Wines, to a week long course that starts with learning the “technical” of the wine and region followed by a two day course that features on the first day how to taste the wines and build a cellar, what labels tell us, followed by a day the practicalities of serving the wine from choosing the correct glass to decanting, temperature and wine pairings, including a cooking session workshop.
The third day, the Grands Crus level takes participants on a three day journey through the Bordeaux visiting the Medoc, Sauternes, Graves and Saint-Émilion regions gathering a deeper knowledge of the wines and the history of his region.
There is also the Bordeaux Wine Festival held every two years, the next festival is June 26th through 29th.
An excellent feature of the site is the Happenings – Bordeaux wine tasting events happening in your geographical area. The sites’ blog is a great place to find more information and great recipes.
One of the finest aspects of the site is that every line, every word, every feature offers information that will help you to better understand the Bordeaux wines of France and help you to be more informed and knowledgeable shopper. And helping you know what you want to buy, a very hand search engine that allows you to choose either a white, rose, red bottle, grape varietal and price range, means you will walk into the wine store, or click to a wine seller on line, knowing exactly what wine you want to buy.
Meaning that dreams do come true.
The Bordeaux Wine Council has worked with leading chefs and supper clubs to devise recipes that pair well with Bordeaux Wines. Visit the site for l PORK LINGUINI PASTA IN THREE “CHILES” SAUCE or the recipes for Shrimp and Red Snapper Ceviche with heirloom tomato, orange, and fennel pollen, paired with 2012 Saint Glinglin Sauvingon Blanc, Smoked and Grilled Seafood with chorizo and paired with 2012 Chateau La Rame Rosé and Cabernet Braised Lamb Sliders with onion jam and paired with 2009 Chateau Lyonnat, Lussac-Saint-Émillon that follow here.
Holiday Dinner with Bordeaux Wine Pairings
Shrimp and red snapper ceviche with heirloom tomato, orange, and fennel pollen Wine Pairing – 2012 Saint Glinglin, Bordeaux
A Family Style Holiday Dinner highlighting a combination of the food of the region of Bordeaux with Food of the holidays. Recipes are by the “I was really very hungry” Supper Club.
Appetizer ofShrimp and red snapper ceviche with heirloom tomato, orange, and fennel pollen served with a 2012 Saint Glinglin, Bordeaux, produced by the American sommelier-turned-winemaker Richard Betts, Saint Glinglin roughly translates to “when pigs fly.”
“Richard is a friend who, like me, did not always appreciate the many merits of Bordeaux as a value-oriented wine region. Needless to say, we’ve both changed our tune! This is a crisp, refreshing Sauvignon Blanc epitomizes a summer white wine ideal. Great to awaken the palate at the start of a meal.” – Daniel Johnnes, Sommelier and Wine Director of the Dinex Group
SHRIMP AND RED SNAPPER APPETIZER
Ceviche 1 navel orange
1⁄4 cup fresh orange juice
1⁄4 cup fresh lime juice
1⁄4 cup grapefruit juice
1⁄2 cup heirloom cherry tomatoes, cut into quarters or half, depending on size
1 1⁄2 tbsp shallot, finely diced
1⁄2 lb red snapper fillets, cut into 1⁄2” pieces
1⁄2 lb large shrimp peeled, deveined, and cut into 1⁄2” pieces
1 1⁄2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
1⁄2 tsp fennel pollen (found in specialty/gourmet grocery stores)
1⁄2 tsp salt 3 tbsp good extra virgin olive oil (something with a fruity profile)
1 tbsp Maldon sea salt
1. Zest the peel of the orange into a small container and reserve.
2. Remove the pith from the orange with a sharp knife until the orange is nice and clean. Cut in between the membranes to make segments. Cut those segments into 1⁄2” pieces. Reserve.
3. Prep the vegetables: Cut the tomatoes into halves or quarters depending on size to about 1/2” pieces; mince the shallot, chop the basil.
4. Prep the shrimp and snapper into 1⁄2” pieces.
5. Keep everything separate until about 30 minutes before serving.
6. Toss together the shrimp with the citrus juices, salt and fennel pollen.
Let sit 30 minutes to allow the acid in the juice to cook the seafood and the flavors to combine.
7. Just before serving, toss with the orange pieces, tomato and basil.
1 1⁄2 cups semolina flour*
1 1⁄2 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp fine grain sea salt
1 cup warm water
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
3 tbsp fennel seeds 1/8 tsp Saffron threads
1. Add the saffron to the warm water and let sit 5 minutes to infuse the water with flavor.
2. Whisk together the flours and salt. Add the water and olive oil. Kneed the dough on the table for about 5 to 7 minutes. The dough should be just a bit tacky, not too dry, not too sticky to work with. If you need to add a bit more water (or flour), do so.
3. When you are done mixing, shape the dough into a large ball. Now cut into twelve equal sized pieces. Gently rub each piece with a bit of olive oil, shape into a small ball and place on a plate. Cover with a clean dishtowel or plastic wrap and let rest at room temperature for 30 to 60 minutes.
4. While the dough is resting, preheat oven to 450F degrees. Insert a pizza stone if you have one.
5. When the dough is rested, flatten one ball at a time. Using a rolling pin or a pasta machine, shape into a flat strip of dough. On a pasta machine, use setting 4 or if by hand/pin, pull the dough out a bit thinner by hand (the way you pull pizza dough). You can cut the dough into whatever shape you like at this point.
6. Set dough on a floured (or cornmeal dusted) baking sheet, poke each cracker with the tines of a fork to prevent puffing, add fennel seeds on top and slide into the oven (onto the pizza stone). Repeat process for remaining dough balls, baking in small batches. If you don’t have a pizza stone, bake crackers a few at a time on baking sheets.
7. Bake until deeply golden, and let cool before using for a more crackery snap. * If you have trouble tracking down semolina flour, substitute white whole-‐wheat flour (or all purpose flour), it will be make a slightly different cracker but should still work. You can simply cut the unbaked cracker dough into various shapes using a pizza cutting wheels.
If serving immediately, place a small amount of the ceviche onto a piece of tuile crackers. Top with olive oil and Maldon salt. If serving as a plated, stationary appetizer, serve the ceviche in a bowl with the crackers on the side to scoop.
Sprinkle Maldon salt and olive oil on top of the ceviche.
Cabernet Braised Lamb Sliders with onion jam Wine Pairing – 2009 Chateau Boutisse, Saint-Émilion Grand Cru
Perfect for the most important holiday of the year, the Cabernet Braised Lamb Sliders with onion jam are luxurious and pair perfectly with 2009 Chateau Boutisse, Saint-Émilion Grand Cru. The Cru is a complex and ripe wine with notes of plum, mint, berry, sage and menthol with plum cassis on the palate that marry beautifully with the sweet lamb and onion dish.
Cabernet Braised Lamb Sliders with onion jam
4 lbs lamb breast, cubed
3 tbsp mustard powder
6 tbsp brown sugar
1 tbsp salt
2 tbsp black pepper
1 large carrot, small dice
2 onions, small dice
4 stalks celery, small dice
5 cloves garlic, minced 3 cups red wine
2 cups chicken stock
2 bay leaves
3 sprigs thyme
1. Combine lamb with the salt, mustard powder, brown sugar and black pepper. Let marinate at least 30 minutes, up to overnight.
2. In a large pot, brown the cubed lamb pieces in olive oil evenly on all sides, being careful to not crowd the pan. Work in batches and reserve the pieces on the side.
3. When all the pieces are browned, pour off most of the fat, and add the carrots, onion, celery and garlic. Sauté these until they are well softened, 8 to 10 minutes.
4. Add the wine, and reduce by half.
5. Add the meat, thyme and stock. Bring to a very low simmer and slow cook for about 3 hours until very tender. Remove and keep warm.
This can be done the day before – cool filling and store in fridge.
6. Assemble sliders: warm split buns in a 200F oven. Place approximately two heaping spoonfuls of
lamb (warm meat on stove top with a bit of stock if you do the braise the day before) on bottom bun.
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