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French Bordeaux – Tasting Bottles of Wine With Retailer Total Wine

Old World Wines Vs. New World Wines

Tasting French Bordeaux Wine

A good California bottle of wine is a thing to celebrate, a joy many in our country and the world covet. And while these pages are dedicated to California wine, when we received a Bordeaux wine tasting invitation from Total Wine we accepted with glee.

One of their stores is thankfully just a mile away, so visiting the store is easy. We’ve always enjoyed their store layouts, their breadth of inventory and certainly their price points. Yet we had never visited one of their classroom programs. So this seemed the perfect moment. We enjoyed our visit. But we also felt they should fine tune their tasting event.

California Bottle of WineVisiting so many wine making estates, we’re accustomed to the ‘Flight Sheet’. We like to see a paper sheet listing the wines we’re about to taste and enjoy, taking notes and ranking their tastes. But alas, that was not to be here.

We were left to our own taking notes documenting what we liked and didn’t enjoy. So after shooting phone snapshots of bottles we started taking notes on a Costco receipt. Midway through the taste a wine host finally provided everyone a note card to take notes on our tastings (it also had a 15% off coupon.)

Another observed oddity was the wine hosts opening a Bordeaux bottle of wine and pouring the wine immediately. We’re not French wine experts but we know Bordeaux style wines need air, whether it be decanting or aeration. They’re not ready to drink right out of a freshly uncorked bottle. The wine hosts finally decanted the last three wines, though we had to encourage them to decant the final bottle.

So while there were two things we thought they missed in a big way (tasting notes & aeration) we enjoyed the tasting and the opportunity of visiting French Bordeaux bottles of wine.

What did we taste? Here goes:

2011 Les Hauts de Larrivet Haut Brion Pessac-Leognan $29.99 ✰
2002 Chateu La Papete Montagne-Saint-Emilion $19.99 -✰
2010 Chateau De Chantegrive $29.99 ✰+/✰
2010 Chateau De Sales Pomeral $34.99 ✰+
2012 Chateau Barde-Haut St. Emilion $29.99 ✰+
2010 Chateau Landat Haut Medoc $24.99 ✰
2012 Chateau Giscours Margaux $49.99 ✰+
2010 Chateau Lynch Moussas Pauillac $49.99 ✰/✰+
2009 Chateau Lilian Ladouys $39.99 ✰+

Did we enjoy these wines? Yes we did, we purchased a bottle each of Chateau Giscours Margaux and Chateau Lilian Ladouys.

But tasting these Old World wines reminded us of the New World wines we are so familiar with, great California bottles of wine. This truly is a Golden Age of Wine in our state. We’re thankful to have great, interesting wines from regions like Paso Robles, Lodi, Foxen Canyon, Santa Barbara, Lompoc, Napa and Sonoma. Winemakers here are free to experiment and push forward the styles of the West, the wines we  truly enjoy most.

Bill Hodge & Erin O’Neill-Hodge enjoy a good bottle of wine, visiting and enjoying California wineries from Lake County to Orange County, from the Paso Robles Gold Coast to Gold Country and from Lodi to Temecula.

Some notes on our wine ranking system.

– -✰ means -What’s next on your list of wines
-✰ means -Not liking it too much
✰ means -We’ll drink this wine, especially if it’s hosted!
✰+ means -You’ve got our attention and we might buy this wine.
✰++ means -We’re hooked and we’re going to buy this wine.
When you see -✰/✰+ with a slash, it signifies our opinion differs.