News From Terre Haute, Indiana

Top Story 2

July 22, 2012

GRAPE SENSE: The most legendary and mystifying of all the world’s wine regions

TERRE HAUTE — It’s time to discuss Bordeaux. Of all the world’s wine regions it’s probably the most legendary and mystifying. It’s not easy to understand France’s iconic wine country but it’s possible.

The French, of course, make it difficult to understand any of their wine regions.

The French labeling system tells you the producer, the region, the appellation (region) where the grapes were grown, and the vintage but those darn French don’t tell you what grapes are used for the wine.

That’s old world wine making and you’ll find the same from Italy and Spain. Burgundy isn’t Burgundy at all; it’s Pinot Noir. The Loire Valley is Cabernet Franc and Chenin Blanc. Champagne is Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, and some minor varietals. You get the picture.

Bordeaux is largely Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. There are other grapes but we’ll get to that.

If you know just a little about Bordeaux, it’s probably all the confusion over left bank and right bank. Let’s try to simplify. The area is divided by the Garone River running about 375 miles through the southwest region of France and a bit of Spain. The river divides Bordeaux right down the middle.

The left bank is the one closer to the Atlantic Ocean. The soil has gravel allowing for good drainage — ideal for Cabernet Sauvignon. The right bank has limestone and clay soils which act like a sponge when it rains keeping vine stock roots moist long after the rainfall. That is perfect growing conditions for Merlot.

If you can remember those simple facts Bordeaux gets a lot simpler. We’ve mentioned Cab and Merlot but the area also grows Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot, Carmenere and Malbec. Bordeaux wines are driven by the two dominant grapes but almost never 100 percent Cab or Merlot. So remember Bordeaux is always going to be a blend.

Now, let’s say you’ve seen Sideways one too many times and you’re convinced you don’t like Merlot. That is probably because the only Merlot you have ever tasted was crappy Merlot. The right bank wines of Bordeaux, which are Merlot driven, will surprise you. The blends are big and rich and might even make you think you’re drinking Cabernet.

The left bank wines, and particularly the areas of Medoc, Haut-Medoc and Margaux, are where the insanely expensive French wines are produced. But that still leaves more than 15 other appellations on the left bank for you to explore. There are more than 20 appellations on the right bank, perhaps the best known is Saint Emilion. And those wines are beautiful.

The French love regulations when it comes to making wine. Let’s just say what grapes grown, how long those grapes are aged, and virtually every step of the process has some government regulation.

It’s highly unlikely you’re going to find Bordeaux wines in your neighborhood supermarket or neighborhood shop. But retailers with larger inventory and shops catering to wine enthusiasts will definitely have Bordeaux wines. But with just under 10,000 wineries how do you decide what to buy?

I’d suggest you start with your preference of Cab or Merlot and go from there. There are plenty of good Bordeaux wines at value price points. But keep in mind that Bordeaux’s high end goes to thousands of dollars per bottle for the world’s best wine.

Grape Sense has always focused on finding a small wine shop where the proprietor knows wine. That’s never more true than when buying in Bordeaux.

Having visited Bordeaux recently, it’s not as complicated as it seemed before. We can argue if Bordeaux makes the world’s best wines. But it’s a region wine enthusiasts need to sample and understand.

Bonjour!

Howard W. Hewitt, Crawfordsville, writes Grape Sense every other week for 18 midwestern newspapers.

 

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints
Top Story 2
  • MET 041314 PAINT PARTY.jpg Going purple: ‘Honoring those who are still fighting’ against cancer

    Every stroke of paint that touched the roadway had a profound meaning to a small group of painters on Sunday.

    April 13, 2014 4 Photos

  • Ukraine_Ter .jpg 10 Things to Know for Tuesday

    Your daily look at late-breaking news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about today, April 8:

    April 8, 2014 1 Photo

  • NCAA Kentucky UConn F_Tayl.jpg UConn wins NCAA title, 60-54, over Kentucky

    No conference wanted them. Several teammates and their coach left them. The NCAA wouldn’t have them.
    UConn won it all anyway.

    April 7, 2014 1 Photo

  • TV-Letterman Retiring_Ter .jpg Letterman’s departure will reshape late-night

    NEW YORK (AP) — Jimmy Fallon’s fast start replacing Jay Leno on the “Tonight” show the past two months had a secondary effect: David Letterman suddenly seemed old.

    April 4, 2014 1 Photo

  • Colts Owner Arrested _Ter .jpg Police: Colts owner had $29K in cash when arrested

    CARMEL, Ind. (AP) — Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay had $29,000 in cash and bottles of prescription drugs in his vehicle when he was arrested on suspicion of intoxicated driving, according to a police arrest report.

    March 27, 2014 1 Photo

  • Malaysia Plane_Ter .jpg UPDATE: Relatives sob as Malaysia confirms plane is lost

    BEIJING (AP) — Relatives shrieked and sobbed uncontrollably. Men and women nearly collapsed, held up by loved ones. Their grief came pouring out after 17 days of waiting for definitive word on the fate of the passengers and crew of the missing Malaysia Airlines jet.

    March 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • APTOPIX Chicago Train_Ter .jpg Train derails, climbs escalator at Chicago airport

    CHICAGO (AP) — An eight-car Chicago commuter train plowed across a platform and scaled an escalator at an underground station at one of the nation’s busiest airports early today, injuring 32 people on board, officials said.

    March 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • Snohomish Mudslide_Ter .jpg 10 Things to Know for Monday

    Your daily look at late-breaking news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about today, March 24:

    March 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • NYC Explosion_Ter .jpg Searchers scour rubble after blast kills 7

    NEW YORK (AP) — Rescuers working amid gusty winds, cold temperatures and billowing smoke pulled four additional bodies overnight from the rubble of two Manhattan apartment buildings, as the death toll rose today, to at least seven from a gas leak-triggered explosion.

    March 13, 2014 1 Photo

  • Film Casting Jesus_Ter .jpg 10 Things to Know for Friday

    Your daily look at late-breaking news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about today, March 7:

    March 7, 2014 1 Photo

  • US Obama Ukraine Russ_Ter .jpg 10 Things to Know for Tuesday

    Your daily look at late-breaking news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about today, March 4:

    March 4, 2014 1 Photo

  • 86th Academy Awards -_Ter (2).jpg ‘12 Years a Slave’ wins best picture at Oscars

    LOS ANGELES (AP) — Perhaps atoning for past sins, Hollywood named the brutal, unshrinking historical drama “12 Years a Slave” best picture at the 86th annual Academy Awards.

    March 3, 2014 2 Photos

  • MET030114swope shaffer.jpg VIDEO: Mardi Gras at the Swope

    Teresa Shaffer was handing out beads and masks at the Swope Art Museum's Mardi Gras celebration Saturday night. The event is an annual fundraiser for the downtown museum.

    March 1, 2014 2 Photos 1 Video

  • Married Priest_Ter .jpg 10 Things to Know for Friday

    Your daily look at late-breaking news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about today, Feb. 28:

    February 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • Planet Bonanza_Ter .jpg 10 Things to Know for Thursday

    Your daily look at late-breaking news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about today, Feb. 27:

    February 27, 2014 1 Photo

  • Backyard Gold Bonanza_Ter .jpg 10 Things to Know for Wednesday

    Your daily look at late-breaking news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about today, Feb. 26:

    February 26, 2014 1 Photo

  • Obit Ramis_Ter .jpg 10 Things to Know for Tuesday

    Harold Ramis, creator of comedy classics, dies at 69. The writer-director-actor created a hugely influential body of work, including such films as “Caddyshack,” “National Lampoon’s Animal House,” “Ghostbusters” and “Groundhog Day.”

    February 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • Nets Lakers Basketbal_Ter .jpg 10 Things to Know for Monday

    Your daily look at late-breaking news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about today, Feb. 24:

    February 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • Ukraine Protests_Ter .jpg 10 Things to Know for Friday

    Your daily look at late-breaking news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about today, Feb. 21:

    February 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • 21 To Smoke_Morg (1).jpg Colorado, Utah move to hike smoking age to 21

    DENVER — Two Western states with some of the nation's lowest smoking rates are considering cracking down even more by raising the tobacco age to 21.

    February 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • TV Fallons First Nigh_Ter .jpg 10 Things to Know for Tuesday

    Your daily look at late-breaking news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about today, Feb. 18:

    February 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • Switzerland Plane Div_Ter .jpg 10 Things to Know for Monday

    Your daily look at late-breaking news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about today, Feb. 17:

    February 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • Obama US France_Ter .jpg 10 Things to Know for Wednesday

    Your daily look at late-breaking news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about today, Feb. 12:

    February 12, 2014 1 Photo

  • Economy_Morg.jpg U.S. employers add 113K jobs; rate dips to 6.6 pct.

    WASHINGTON — Hiring was surprisingly weak in January for the second straight month, likely renewing concern that the U.S. economy might be slowing after a strong finish last year.

    February 7, 2014 1 Photo

  • APTOPIX Sochi Olympic_Ter .jpg 10 Things to Know for Thursday

    Your daily look at late-breaking news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about today, Feb. 6:

    February 6, 2014 1 Photo

  • MET020514snowzimmerman.jpg Vigo schools on 2-hour delay Thursday

    Vigo County students will be back to school Thursday.
    According to Vigo County School Corp. Superintendent Danny Tanoos, schools will be on a two-hour delay on Thursday.
    Due to inclement weather, schools were canceled today in Vigo and surrounding counties.

    February 5, 2014 1 Photo

  • CVS Caremark Tobacco _Ter .jpg Obama praises CVS for pulling tobacco from shelves

    WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama is praising CVS Caremark for its decision to stop selling tobacco products at its drugstores.

    February 5, 2014 1 Photo

  • Winter Weather NYC 10 things to know for Wednesday

    Your daily look at late-breaking news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about today, Feb. 5:

    February 5, 2014 1 Photo

  • MET 020414 HEAVY SNOWFALL.jpg Here we snow again: More winter weather hits the Wabash Valley

    Police and rescue workers were busy Tuesday night responding to crashes and slide-offs in the wake of another big snowfall in the Wabash Valley.

    February 5, 2014 2 Photos 2 Stories

  • Winter Weather Pennsy_Ter .jpg 10 Things to Know for Tuesday

    Your daily look at late-breaking news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about today, Feb. 4:

    February 4, 2014 1 Photo

Latest News
TribStar.com Poll
AP Video
Raw: What's Inside a Commercial Jet Wheel Well Motels Near Disney Fighting Homeless Problem Raw: Obama Arrives in Japan for State Visit Michigan Man Sees Thanks to 'bionic Eye' S.C. Man Apologizes for Naked Walk in Wal-Mart Raw: Deadly Bombing in Egypt Bon Jovi Helps Open Low-income Housing in Philly Raw: Leopard Bites Man in India Raw: Anti-Obama Activists Fight Manila Police 'Piles' of Bodies in South Sudan Slaughter U.S. Paratroopers in Poland, Amid Ukraine Crisis Obama to Oso: We'll Be Here As Long As It Takes Pipeline Opponents Protest on National Mall Air Force: $4.2B Saved From Grounding A-10s New Country Music Hall of Fame Inductees Named Raw: Man Fatally Shot During Police Standoff Raw: Violence Erupts in Rio Near Olympic Venue Chief Mate: Crew Told to Escape After Passengers Hagel Gets Preview of New High-tech Projects New Yorkers Celebrate Cherry Blossom Blooms
NDN Video
Michael Strahan's First Day on "GMA" Amazon's Deal With HBO Leapfrogs Streaming Rivals Stephen Colbert Tells David Letterman His Plan for 'Late Show' Georgetown police officer filmed tripping students Viral: It's Not Pitbull - It's Amy Poehler! Recycling Highlights for Earth Day Lupita Nyong'o Named People's 'Most Beautiful' Peeps Launched into Outer Space NYPD's Twitter Request For Photos Backfires New HBO Go Commercials Capture Awkward Family TV Watching Raw: Leopard Bites Man in India Rise of the Milkbots Jenna Dewan-Tatum Strips Down TRENDING: Brian Williams Raps 'Gin and Juice' on ‘Tonight Show’ Middle School heroes rescue students from burning bus WHOPPER OF FISHING STORY: Florida man catches massive Mako shark Maks Chmerkovskiy's "DWTS" Meltdown The many faces of Mike Woodson Ape Builds A Fire And Toasts Marshmallows In Amazing BBC Video Manchester Utd sack manager David Moyes
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
  • -

     

    March 12, 2010

activity