Producer: Domaines Ramage la Batisse – Belcier
Region/Appellation: Cotes de Bordeaux Castillon
Country Hierarchy: Cotes de Bordeaux, Bordeaux, France
Grape/Blend: Bordeaux Blend Red
Food Suggestion: Beef and Venison
Wine Style: Red – Savory and Classic
Alcohol Content: 13 – 14.5%
- Le Guide Hachette des Vins, 2014: 1 Star
- Decanter World Wine Awards, 2013: Bronze
- International Wine Challenge, 2013: Commended
Cotes de Bordeaux Castillon Wine
Cotes de Bordeaux Castillon is the appellation title for Cotes de Bordeaux wines made specifically in the Castillon district, at the very eastern edge of Bordeaux. Until 2009, these wines were sold as Cotes de Castillon.
The coat of arms of Castillon-la-Bataille
All Cotes de Bordeaux Castillon wines are red, made predominantly from Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc, with a permitted addition of Malbec, Petit Verdot and even Carmenere. Merlot is the main variety, producing relatively well-structured wines that are approachable at an early age. There is of course, variation in the exact blends of these Cotes de Bordeaux Castillon wines, depending on several factors. These include the target market and style of a wine, the existing varieties planted in the vineyards and their precise terroir. Those sites with clay soils, for example, are better suited to Merlot and will have the potential to create softer, more supple wines for early consumption. Those on gravelly soils will favor the Cabernet varieties, which are likely to create more-structured wines with higher tannin levels – wines that will require and reward a few years’ cellaring.
The Cotes de Bordeaux appellation was created in 2009 to bring together several cotes of Bordeaux under a single banner – the idea being to improve the marketability of the wines in question and simplify the overall Bordelais appellation structure. Individually, these appellations were struggling to find sufficient marketing resources to combat the increasing popularity of Bordeaux-style wines from emerging wine regions, particularly in the New World.
The process began officially in 1985, when the presidents of five cotes appellations founded the Association des Cotes de Bordeaux. This later became Les Cinq Cotes de Bordeaux, as confusion had arisen between the first name and that of the entirely separate Premieres Cotes de Bordeaux title. By the end of 2003, the decision had been taken to create the Cotes de Bordeaux appellation, with the geographical denominations Blaye, Cadillac, Castillon and Francs. After another few years of negotiations and red tape, the appellation was confirmed and ratified.
A Bordeaux Blend, at its most basic, is any combination of those grape varieties typically used to make the red wines of Bordeaux. The phrase, which seems to have originated with British wine merchants in the 19th Century, relates as much to wines made from the blend as to the grape variety combination itself (© Copyright material, Wine-Searcher.com). Far from being an officially defined or legal term, it is almost never used for wine-labeling purposes (although it occasionally appears on back labels). Its equivalent in the United States is Meritage, which is not only legally defined, but also a registered trademark.
Red Bordeaux Blends are known for their powerful structure and deep flavors. Dark fruits and berries such as plum and blackcurrant are commonly used to describe the flavors of red Bordeaux, although there is an unlimited range of terms that have been ascribed to them. Tannins tend to be relatively high in these wines, giving them a firm structure.
Blending red Bordeaux wine
Cabernet Sauvignon is widely accepted as a compulsory component of any Bordeaux Blend, with Merlot following close behind. In fact, the majority of Bordeaux Blend wines are often made exclusively from a blend of these two varieties. The remaining components are Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot and Malbec, used in varying combinations and proportions. Even Carmenere is on the list of possible ingredients, despite being rarely used by modern Bordeaux vineyards (notable exceptions include Haut-Bailly, Brane-Cantenac and Clerc-Milon).
With the global wine industry expanding and developing at pace, the use of the term “Bordeaux Blend” is changing. Although a product of the Old World, it remains a useful concept, allowing the wine industry and enthusiasts everywhere to talk about Bordeaux-style red wines as an international group, irrespective of regionality.
Flexibility and a useful vagueness are key assets of the term “Bordeaux Blend”, but are also its Achilles’ heel; if it becomes too broad or too widely used it will lose its meaning. Is a Bordeaux Blend still a Bordeaux Blend if it contains Zinfandel, Sangiovese or Syrah? Without a formal definition to go by, the answer to that question lies entirely in the collective consciousness of those who use the phrase. Provided that Bordeaux’s vignerons don’t discover a new grape variety (Cabernet Sauvignon is only a few hundred years old), the term’s definition remains relatively clear.
The red Bordeaux style has reached almost every winegrowing country, with new candidates looking to emulate Bordeaux’s success. North and South America, Australia, South Africa and New Zealand all have their own expressions of the Bordeaux Blend. Even countries in North Africa and the Middle East produce their own interpretations of the style.
For more information on the various permutations of the Bordeaux Blend, please see Cabernet Sauvignon – Merlot, Cabernet Franc – Cabernet Sauvignon or Cabernet Franc – Merlot.
Food matches for Bordeaux Blend wines include:
- Steak entrecôte marchand de vin (red-wine sauce and shallots)
- Grass-fed wagyu rib-eye fillet
- Roast leg of lamb with rosemary and garlic
(sources : wine-searcher)