Wine tips: How to enjoy Bordeaux on a budget

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The annual release of Bordeaux wines is thought of as one of the highlights of the year for serious oenophiles. If you don’t know much about Bordeaux besides that it can be pricey (or if you had to stop and Google what an oenophile was) but you are a wine lover nonetheless, Bordeaux doesn’t haven’t to be beyond your reach.

October 3, 2015 is the big day for wine lovers in B.C. It’s release day at a dozen BC Liquor Stores for the 2012 vintage of Bordeaux, and the BC Liquor Distribution Branch tell us they’re increasingly “seeing young professionals and hip, urban foodies getting into worldly wines,” like those from France’s exciting Bordeaux region.

Notably, pricing for wines in this year’s release start at $28–a stellar deal for Bordeaux in B.C. True, buying Bordeaux can get a little spendy, but with Thanksgiving and the holidays coming up there may be times when you’ll need to pull out a bottle that will impress.

For those who are keen to explore the tastes of Bordeaux, we connected with Barbara Philip of the BC Liquor Distribution Branch. She happens to be Canada’s only female Master of Wine, and primed to steer wine shoppers towards making excellent selections from the Bordeaux release, without breaking the bank.

Here are Philip’s tips for getting to know Bordeaux:

1. Don’t forget white Bordeaux.

These Sauvignon and Semillon blends are crisp and aromatic.

2. Experiment with lesser known regions and Châteaux.

With modern vineyard techniques and winemaking there are great wines to be found throughout the greater area of Bordeaux.

3. Ask a Product Consultant to recommend something in your price range.

BC Liquor Stores’ PCs have tasted many of the wines and trained by some of Bordeaux’s top experts. Let them know what price range you feel comfortable with.

Barb Philip in the vineyard (Photo courtesy BC Liquor Distribution Branch)

Barb Philip in the vineyard (Photo courtesy BC Liquor Distribution Branch)

Here are three standout Bordeaux wines Philips suggests checking out this year:

Château La Garde Blanc, Pessac Léognan ($45.00)

Philip’s tasting notes: “Mineral, lime and white flowers start off this wine while the palate is citrussy and creamy at the same time. Try with grilled halibut with fruit salsa.”

Domaine de l’A, Côtes de Castillon ($50.00)

Philip’s tasting notes: “The Côtes de Bordeaux appellations on the right bank offer some of the best value in the region. The Domaine de l’A is a Merlot based wine with plum fruit and mineral notes.”

Château Rahoul, Graves ($28.00)

Philip’s tasting notes: “This medium bodied Bordeaux always sells out fast. Drink it now or lay it down 2-3 years. It has nice a lovely dried herb and plum aromas.”


The 2012 Bordeaux release at BC Liquor Stores takes place October 3, 2015. Metro Vancouver locations participating are: 39th & Cambie (Vancouver), Alberni & Bute (Downtown Vancouver), Dunbar (Vancouver) Park Royal (West Vancouver), Richmond Brighouse, Westwood Centre (Port Coquitlam), Langley, and Peninsula Village (Surrey).

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Lindsay William-Ross Lindsay is a Senior Editor at Vancity Buzz, and currently runs the site's Food section. A fourth generation Vancouverite, she spent the last two decades in Los Angeles, where she was EIC of the city's top blog, earned her MA, attended culinary school, and was an English professor (among other things). Lindsay's first published piece was December 1980 in The Province; it was her letter to Santa. E-mail: lindsay@vancitybuzz.com
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