Caviar and Bordeaux: Italy meets France at the table

The Taste of Planet Bordeaux recently held a wine/pairing seminar at restaurant BoBo in New York’s Greenwich Village. The event was hosted by Michael Madrigale, Ambassador for Bordeaux, who introduced us to the pleasures available to the eye, nose and palate by teaming Calvisiusm caviar with wines from Bordeaux. Bobo’s Chef, Nelson Maldonado, developed a creative menu for a selection of Bordeaux Rosé, Bordeaux Rouge and Bordeaux Supérieur.

Limits on Production Not on Taste

In Bordeaux wineries are known as Chateau. They may only use their own grapes from their own vineyards to produce wine and this, of course, limits production. Production is also limited by AOC rules and the ceiling on the amount produced cannot be raised, although there is an increase in demand. Because of the increased global demand for the wines of Bordeaux, insurance companies, banks and other large corporations now own the Chateaux (although there continues to be a few family owned properties).

Trending is the purchase of Bordeaux chateaux by the Chinese (over 30 currently owned and other deals are pending). Frequently the entire production of the Chateux is shipped to China. Fortunately, we do not have to travel to the PRC to experience Bordeaux wines, and we do not have to fly to Italy to enjoy Calvisius caviar. The recent event at Bobo’s brought the pleasures of caviar teamed with Bordeaux wines directly to our doorstep in Manhattan.

Curated Tastings:

The AOC Cremant de Bordeaux was introduced in 1990 and includes white and rose sparkling wines made in Bordeaux. The sparkling wines are made by the same method as Champagne, “Methode Champenoise” with the second fermentation taking place in the bottle.

1. LaFleur de Francois Rose Brut, Cremant de Bordeaux NV. 90 percent Merlot, 10 percent Cabernet Franc. Harvested manually and transported in small baskets directly to the press.

• Palest of chiffon pink to the eye, with bubbles as light as butterfly wings. The nose finds hints of fruit suggesting just ripened strawberries, raspberries and fresh flowers (daisies and baby rose petals) linked to yellow apples. Round finish on the palate. Serve chilled as an aperitif or with dessert. Especially delicious with Calvisius Caviar.

2. Dourthe La Grande Cuvee 2015, Bordeaux Blanc. 100 percent Sauvignon Blanc. Grapes selected from terroirs located in the north and east of the appellation that successfully deliver Sauvignon Blanc bouquets that are outstanding. The richness of the wine is enhanced by a specific vinifacation process that includes maceration on the skins and low-temperature fermentation. The wine is aged on the fine lees, with batonnage, for 6 months – thereby enhancing the taste and fragrance of the wine to the palate.

• To the eye, transparent as glass. To the palate – interesting points of apples, citrus (grapefruit) green grass and flowers. Fresh and crisp finish motivates the desire for the next sip.

• Perfectly paired with Calvisius Caviar Tradition Prestige. The eggs are large (3+ millimeters) and colors vary from dark grey to black. Requires about 11 years of the sturgeon life-cycle.

3. Chateaux du Cros Sauvignon Blanc 2015, Bordeaux Blanc. 90 percent Sauvignon Blanc, 10 percent Sauvignon Gris. This is an award winer! The 2015 vintage received Gold from the Concours Mondial de Bruxelles, while the 2011 received Silver from the Decanter World Wine Awards. The Sauvignon Blac is from vines grown on the limestone plateau. An English built castle, the Chateau du Cros offers a view across the river Garonne, as it is on the highest point of the surrounding Bordeaux area.

• To the eye – from buttery pale yellow to transparent as glass. To the nose a deep aroma of green grapes, oranges and tropical fruits heightened by a touch of lime. Excellent refreshing finish. An excellent selection for spring-time dalliances and summer-time engagement parties.

4. Chateau Bonnet 2015, Bordeaux Rose. 50 percent Merlot, 50 percent Cabernet Sauvignon.

The Reynier family from Libourne planted their vineyards in the 16th century. In the next three decades the landscape was transformed and vineyards now dominate the former forested area. Located north of the Entre -Deux -Mers, Chateau Bonnet has clay-chalk slopes of the commune of Grezzilac which overlooks the Dordogne valley (approximately 10 km south of Saint Emilion).

Andre Lurton began to manage the Chateau in 1956 and it includes 30 hectares of vineyard. Currently half of Bonnet’s production focuses on dry white (AOC Entre-Deux -Mers), a blend of Sauvignon, Semillon and Muscadelle grapes and the other half is made from classic red varietals: Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon.

Lurtron is one of the three principle landholders in Bordeaux with more than 1556 acres. He is also the largest land owner and producer of white wine in Pessac-Loegnan Les Vignobles. As a family run business they produce quality red, white, and rose wines.

• To the eye, powder pink to coral; to the nose, hints of white peach, grapefruit, raspberry, cherry, and spring flowers. The palate finds balance and freshness with understated acidity and a suggestion of sweetness from ripe fruit. Pair with poached seabass and/or Calvisius caviar.

5. Chateau Jean Faux 2011, Bordeaux Superieur. Made from organic grapes; 80 percent Merlot, 20 percent Cabernet Franc. Aged in 50 percent new oak.

This historical estate, that dates back to the 18th century, is located near Cotes de Castillon. Purchased by Pascal Colotte in 2002, the property occupies nearly 45 hectares. It was developed in consultation with Stephane Derenoncourt, the noted wine consultant. Part of the vineyard is planted to 80 percent Merlot and 20 percent Cabernet Franc with 25-year old vines. Two hectares are reserved for white wine grapes, 80 percent Sauvignon Blanc and 20 percent Semillon. The terroir is clay and limestone. The property uses biodynamic farming techniques that were started in 2011.

The wine is vinified in temperature controlled, stainless steel vats and whole berry fermented. After manual harvest – sorted on a vibrating table. The wine making is fragmented and takes place in small tanks of cement and stainless steel. Malolactic fermentation takes place in the barrel. The wine is aged in 40 percent new French oak barrels for 12-14 months.

• To the eye, deep garnet red and to the nose, black and red fruits, florals and cherry vanilla accents with hints of eucalyptus, menthol and minerals. Medium bodied, tannic and slightly dry finish.

• Pair with steak tartare and Calvisium caviar.

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