Regular readers and customers of Bordeaux-Undiscovered will have noticed that I have had my foot pressed firmly to the metal this year and have attended an unprecedented number of Wine Shows and Events across Britain. Meeting folks interested in wine and food is one of the best things about my work. My mission is to broaden awareness of Bordeaux wine and to bring its wonders to a new audience. The feedback from you all that I gain at the Shows is invaluable and is – at times – eyeopening. One of the biggest surprises this year has been the incredible popularity of a little known Bordeaux wine: Bordeaux Moelleux, Chateau Le Rondailh. It’s going down a storm!
There are two styles of sweet white wine in Bordeaux – Moelleux and Liquoreux. Liquoreux are Bordeaux’s famous sweet wines and are represented by the likes of Chateau d’Yquem, Climens etc. However you don’t often see Bordeaux Moelleux outside France and it is increasingly difficult to find over here. It is a semi-sweet / off-dry white wine and is absolutely delicious. Moelleux is fresh and expressive with the sensation of sweetness being ethereal and light. I think this style of wine is quite exceptional – rounded and supple with mouth quenching acidity and superb balance.
Although Sauternes and Barsac tend to grab the limelight as far as Bordeaux’s sweet wine production goes there are actually 9 other appellations that produce sweet and semi-sweet white wines (Sainte Croix du Mont, Loupiac, Graves, Cadillac, Cerons, Sainte Foy, Saint Macaire, Premier Côtes de Bordeaux and Bordeaux Superieur). Chateau Le Rondailh sits on the hills in Saint Macaire.
When I am at a Wine Show I always ask folks to bring their lunch or whatever food they have chosen as a snack to taste alongside my selection of wines. Food has always held a certain fascination for me – the myriads of different flavours and enticing aromas make the simple art of cooking a pure joy. Choosing a wine to enhance the dish is as much fun as preparing the meal itself as far as I am concerned. Bordeaux Moelleux pairs brilliantly with Asian cuisine but at the recent food festivals we discovered that it is fantastic with African-Caribbean food.
Dishes from foreign lands with their exciting and exotic ingredients draw me like a magnet and it’s a real challenge to find a wine that is a companion to them rather than one which swamps the taste of the food. In this instance Le Rondailh really shone with the spicy, hot Caribbean dishes people brought to our stand to try it with. I’ve paired it with curry and found it a great choice – it’s also good with salty cheeses like Roquefort, Feta and Stilton, seafood, poultry and desserts.
We have known for a while now that the taste for sweet and off-dry white wines has been gathering momentum and at grass roots level my experience at the Wine Shows reflects this. If you haven’t tried Bordeaux Moelleux for yourself it’s well worth checking out!