Five Delicious Wines to Try From Bordeaux’s “New Generation”
The region might be best known for its "Premier Crus," but it's home to nearly 9,000 producers
Bordeaux: the mention of this storied French wine region evokes images of ravishing reds sipped by elite wine aficionados in majestic châteaus. Iconic wines meant to age for generations. Special-occasion wines collected and served for birthday and anniversary celebrations, made by a region that takes great pride in tradition and heritage.
And Bordeaux is all of those things. But a closer look reveals a place whose wineries are majority still family-run, with a mass initiative towards sustainable farming and a fresh new generation bringing a renegade energy to the traditional foundations of the region.
Bordeaux is an unexpected source of affordable, everyday wines: 90 percent of Bordeaux wines are sold into distribution at less than 20 euros. Rich red blends are still the region’s signature (around 85 percent of the production is red), but Bordeaux is also a source of fabulous dry whites, crisp rosés and casual young reds more suitable to sip at barbecues and bonfires than with tasting menus.
We can’t discuss Bordeaux without at least a mention of the 1855 Classification. That year, Napoleon III declared that Paris would be home to a massive exhibition to showcase the best French products, and 61 wines from Bordeaux were selected as the top of the crop. Led by the top five-ranked wines, known as the “Premier Crus” (Haut-Brion, Lafite Rothschild, Mouton Rothschild, Latour and Margaux), the 1855 Classification is still held up as a gold standard of Bordeaux. The wines included within the exhibition, called Grand Cru Classes, are still held up as a benchmark and coveted by collectors.
But, today, these 61 wines represent only five percent of the region’s production. There are 8,800 registered wine producers in Bordeaux, and if you’re only seeking the top-rated wines from 166 years ago, you’re missing out on a lot. There’s a new generation of young and passionate winemakers who honor traditions while bringing fresh energy into the future of Bordeaux. Try their wines and you might be surprised: they are stylistically diverse and represent incredible value while still embodying the quality for which Bordeaux is known.
Here are five delicious wines from Bordeaux’s “New Generation” to try tonight …
Château Roquefort 2020, Bordeaux Blanc
Bordeaux’s white wines are primarily made from Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon grapes. Chateau Roquefort’s signature white is 85 percent Sauvignon Blanc, which brings bright citrus notes, and 15 percent Semillion, providing body and a silky texture. Chateau Roquefort recently discovered a 300-million-year-old fossil bed in the middle of the white wine vineyard and are proud stewards of the land; they are Certified Sustainable and working towards converting to organic farming. This wine opens with floral aromas of jasmine and lemon blossom and has ripe flavors of mandarin and pineapple. Try it with Thai food.
Clarendelle 2020, Bordeaux Blanc
Another stunner of a white wine, made by the same winemaking team as Chateau Haut-Brion (one of the famous Premier Crus from the 1855 Classification). Amazingly, you can grab this bottle for around $25 — excellent to bring to a dinner party and of course name-drop a bit. A blend of Sauvignon Blanc, Semillon and Muscadelle, this is a fresh and creamy wine with flavors of white peach and a savory finish. Try it with sushi.
Château Biac 2016, Côtes de Bordeaux
A blend of Merlot, Petit Verdot and Cabernet Franc, this wine has notes of red cherry and black plum balanced with hints of chocolate and spice. Owner Yasmina Asseily is originally from Lebanon and brings her Mediterranean background and worldly sensibility to the winery, striving to innovate and adapt to climate change in the region. This wine is a classic pairing with burgers, steaks or lamb chops hot off the grill.
Château Haut-Rian 2018, Côtes de Bordeaux
A blend of Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc, this is an elegant but easy-drinking wine with velvety tannins and a hint of cedar and vanilla in the finish. The Chateau is 50 percent organic, bee-friendly and HVE Certified. Pair this with a charcuterie board, fireplace and a cozy blanket.
Château d’Arche 2009, Sauternes Grand Cru Classé
Sauternes is arguably the most famous dessert wine in the world — a jewel in Bordeaux’s crown. Sauternes has sweetness and a thick, luscious texture but is balanced with refreshing, mouthwatering acidity. Chateau d’Arche is innovating the classic production methods: they use a glass barrel for aging the wine, which helps manage sulfite levels and restricts oxygen exposure to promote more longevity in the wine (i.e., staying fresher for longer). With notes of honey, marmalade and stewed quince, it’s a perfect treat with a cheese plate and crusty baguette.
This article was featured in the InsideHook newsletter. Sign up now.
Suggested for you