Wine Term: Bordeaux
Variations: Bordeaux Blend, Bordeaux-style Blend, Right Bank Blend, Left Bank Blend, Meritage, Claret
Usage: Do you have any [insert any of the above]?
What it really means: A red wine blend, generally dominated by Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot, made from the grapes of Bordeaux
First and foremost, unless you’re looking for Coppola’s wine, or asking around the UK, you can immediately remove “Claret” from your vernacular, however we included it for some level of completeness. That said, Left Bank means Cab dominated, Right Bank means Merlot dominated, any of the others are a winemaker’s crapshoot, but will be a big red nonetheless. No need to worry about any lighter wines like Pinot Noir being delivered or suggested when asking for any of the above. If you happen to be one of the very few looking for a white wine from the region or style, just add white in front of the above variations and you’re all set.
How to effectively use it:
You don’t want to say you’re looking for a “French Cab” or a “French Merlot” nor do you want to ask for a “French-style Cab blend from Napa” – instead, in order of appearance, ask for a “Left Bank,” “Right Bank,” or “Meritage” (also synonymous with “Bordeaux-style Blend”). The beauty of this process when around those “in the know” is that you don’t need to finish with “Bordeaux” when saying “Right Bank” or “Left Bank” – these are world renowned areas, the right and left are all the implication you’ll need:
Bad idea: “I’m looking for a French Cab blend.”
Better Approach: “I’m interested in seeing what you have in Bordeauxs and Bordeaux-style wines.”
Best Approach (with proverbial fluff): “I am a huge Cab fan, I’d like to explore your Left Bank wines or a Meritage equivalent, I’m open to New and Old World* wines alike.”
*New World is wine from anywhere other than the European continent, parts of the Middle East, and its associated islands in direct vicinity, European wines from Europe, the Middle East, and said islands are Old World wines.