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In service of the quest for ‘delectaffordable’ wine

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  • In service of the quest for ‘delectaffordable’ wine

With the arrival of cooler weather, our collective palates tend to gravitate toward more hearty, bolder wines. If you have become more conscious about finding the perfect combination of taste and value (delectable + affordable = delectaffordable), you are not alone.

Let’s talk about Merlot. Much reviled for a period of time following the December 2004 release of the blockbuster movie “Sideways,” Merlot eventually rebounded.

As one of the primary Bordeaux grapes, the dark, blue-colored grape is said to have been named after the French word for blackbird, merle (or ‘merlau’ in the southern Occitan Patois, and merlo in Italian), either because of the dark color of this grape’s skin or because blackbirds enjoy eating the ripe Merlot grapes right-off the vine.

Browsing the shelves of your favorite retailer can be fun but also daunting. If you like right bank-styled Bordeaux blends, which favor a higher percentage of merlot over cabernet, here’s one that I’ve grown to like over the years.

Like most wines from that region, château goudichaud rouge is a blend. In this case, it is composed of 65% merlot and 35% cabernet sauvignon.

Bordeaux (the region) has been producing wine since the days of the Roman empire. It is believed that the first vineyards were planted with vine cuttings the Romans brought from the Rioja region of Spain with the intention of producing wine for the Roman legion soldiers, including those stationed in the British Isles.

Bordeaux literally means “on the edge of the waters.” Geographically located in Southwestern France, at the edge of the Atlantic Ocean and with two major rivers flowing through it, the land was blessed with rich alluvial soils and a desirable climate.

This, coupled with the waterways providing natural inlets and outlets for commerce, contributed to making Bordeaux what it has become today; one of the most well-known and largest wine producing regions in France.

But back to château goudichaud. Powerful, elegant and complex, it is very much representative of the Graves-de-Vayres subregion from which it hails.

Situated just a few miles away from its better- known brethren Fronsac, Saint-Emilion and Pomerol, here’s a wine that you can enjoy today but which will age well for a few years as well, if you wish to cellar it for later consumption; and it won’t break the bank.

Although, at the price point at which you can procure it today, my advice would be to buy a few bottles and just enjoy them during the upcoming holidays with your friends, neighbors and relatives.

In it, you will discern a touch of blueberry and licorice, along with hints of cacao, and a woody, spicy note on the finish. If you are going to be a guest at someone else’s house for Thanksgiving, it would be a great wine to bring along as an accompaniment to the traditional turkey. It will be perfect with it, (especially with the dark meat).

It will also pair exceedingly well with all types of cheese, particularly semisoft cheeses such as Stilton, Manchego, Gouda, Edam, etc., as well as with dark chocolate.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone.

Olivier Bourgoin is a wine broker and consultant, and a freelance writer who has been involved in these industries in and around the greater San Antonio area for more than 25 years. A native of France with family roots deep in the famed wine producing region of Burgundy, ( known as the cradle of the Chardonnay and Pinot Noir grape varieties). He is known as “ Olivier The Wine Guy” and was featured as such on a local weekly radio segment for over 20 years.