Under $20 Bordeaux for Memorial Day, Earthy the Way I Like It

Keep Houston Press Free
I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of Houston and help keep the future of Houston Press free.

"Fruit forward" and "fruit bomb" are descriptors commonly used to describe "big" red wines, the kind you want to break out for Memorial Day, when you're going to be grilling and smoking.

And hey, I've got nothing against fruit: Wine is made from fruit and it should taste like fruit. If it doesn't taste like fruit, then there is probably something wrong with the wine. (Remember our series last year on corkiness and how the absence of fruit aromas is an indication that a wine may have been damaged?)

As Americans, we have been raised to believe that fruit-forwardness is one of the hallmarks of a great red wine. And, no doubt, it can be (if that's your thing).

But when I drink "big" red wine, I look for a balance of fruit (tending toward sweet) and earthiness (among the savory "umami" flavors in red wine).

And when it comes to Bordeaux, flavors of tar -- what the French call goudron -- are what can really set the wine apart from the rest.

The 2009 Château Landat, a Cru Bourgeois from the Haut-Médoc in Bordeaux was recommended to me by Houston wine legend and cowboy Bear Dalton, fine wine buyer at Spec's and one of our country's leading authorities on Bordeaux.

I had asked Bear to put together a mixed case of wines that were "outside of my box" and this is one of the ones that has really impressed me: A great balance of ripe red fruit and earthy undertones of tar and menthol, classic hallmarks of Bordeaux.

Here in Texas, we don't just grill for Memorial Day. We are Texans, after all, and so we SMOKE!

And I love the way that an earthy wine like this complements the smokiness in tender brisket.

At around $16 a bottle, I won't even mind if Aunt Dianne mixes some Coke in it.

Follow Eating Our Words on Facebook and on Twitter @EatingOurWords

Keep the Houston Press Free... Since we started the Houston Press, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Houston, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Houston with no paywalls.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.


Join the Press community and help support independent local journalism in Houston.


Join the Press community and help support independent local journalism in Houston.