Bordeaux: A Primer

It’s easy to get in over your head at a wine store or while perusing a restaurant’s wine list. What are you looking for? Sometimes wines are divided by country, region, grape, or even flavor (which Best Cellars does with shelves labeled “juicy” and “luscious”). But it’s good to have some foundational knowledge of wine—especially the wines from Bordeaux. And although the Wall Street Journal‘s Jay McInerney wrote about Latour back in September (Hey, that 1995 vintage is only $595!), his column left me envious: It’s rather like a car column rating the newest Maybach. (McInerney does list a Grenache-Syrah for $26.) His colleague Lettie Teague, on the other hand, delves into Bordeaux and finds several affordable offerings from lesser known labels. But more important, Teague gives us a quick history lesson of the region, the Great Growths, and the 1855 classification system—all of which are useful. Sure you can find some of this on Wikipedia, but it’s not as nicely written. Not even close.

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