Bordeaux Blend means anything but boring.
No-one wants to be labelled a copycat. To simply produce a carbon copy is to deny all sense of creativity and to evade the potential for individuality. Of course, that old adage that there is no such thing as an original idea is true, but is that necessarily a bad thing?
Sometimes there are things that are just so right that it is worth taking just a little bit of inspiration.
Bordeaux wines, without deferring to the French, are one such example."
In the XX centuries since wine traditions were formalised in this region, a veritable heritage has emerged that rightly celebrates Bordelaise winemaking traditions. This means (of course) the debates between the Left and the Right Bank’s methods and the merits of the blends traditionally used in these areas. Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc, with a maximum of 80% permitted from a single variety to qualify a montage.
As with so many great ideas, such a template spread beyond its origins, morphing as it went and subsequently taking on its own identity. and that is how the term ‘bordeaux blend’ emerged. it is a deliberately allusive term that encompasses all manner of wines and traditions that take inspiration from bordeaux. and ‘inspiration’ is the key word with the two producers who we are featuring in our box of the month.
Both are forward thinking winemakers who prove that Bordeaux Blend means anything but boring.
Meet Eugenio Rosi and Giorgio Meletti-Cavallari. We have decided for December’s Box of the Month to focus on one cuvée from each producer and to offer you three different vintages of each. This will be a deep dive into the world of the Bordeaux Blend and the impact that each year’s harvest has on a wine.
One of the leading lights in the Italian natural wine revolution.
His vineyards are set in the idyllic valley of the Trentino. A key part of this philosophy is to support the Dolomotici Association that is a co-operative of 9 winemakers dedicated to the viticultural traditions of the area. And he does this with aplomb, if not in his eccentric manner. What this means is the careful selection of grapes that perform best in the generous albeit temperamental terroir. This naturally encompasses the indigenous grapes of the region – Marzameino and Nosiola but it also extends to the traditionally resilient varieties of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot.
This is demonstrated in his Esegesi that consists of an 80:20 blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. Aged for 24 months in oak barrels, this is a wine that deserves your full attention. It has an almost balsamic vinegar quality in its depth and complexity and the myriad of notes on the nose. From raspberry to black pepper to ripe plums. Truly intoxicating, and even more so when left to age for a few years as in the vintages of 2017, 2018 and 2019 that are in our December Box.
GIORGIO MELETTI CAVALLARI
He is doing something truly fascinating for a relatively young winemaker working in an area with such a reputation. .
With the wines the other half to our Box of the Month, namely Meletti-Cavallari, there is a more direct relation to Bordeaux that is tied up with the fortunes of Bolgheri. In 1978, a blind tasting proved that Sassicaia stood up to the finest wines from Bordeaux. On account of the gravelly soil – literally Sassi-caia. Bordeaux varieties, predominately Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc were planted, giving rise to the Bolgheri DOC that eventually came to acquire the reputation of the Super Tuscans.
Meletti Cavallari is not punching at the weight of Sassicaia, But instead, he is doing something truly fascinating for a relatively young winemaker working in an area with such a reputation. His Azienda was set up in 2002 and now extends over 12 hectares. The top Cru is the Impronte and which is the focus of one half of our Box of the Month. As Giorgio himself puts it, the Impronte is a wine of balance between force and elegance. 70% Cabernet Sauvignon is balanced by 30% of Cabernet Franc. Each vintage undergoes malolactic fermentation in barrique and 12 months ageing in bottle. The result are wines of great energy: vintages here are 2017, 2018 and 2020. Each one displaying an entirely different character to the last.