NY TIMES 12 Under $12
Here’s a bottle of plain old Bordeaux from the outlying areas of the exalted region, the sort of wine, we are told, that nobody buys anymore. Except, this is the proverbial great drink: a dry, delicious, refreshing wine that goes with all sorts of foods. It’s 70 percent merlot, 20 percent cabernet franc and the rest cabernet sauvignon, and harks back to a time when local villagers bought their wines “en vrac,” or in bulk, in containers that they filled and refilled directly from the producer.
“VRAC”, or “en vrac" translates to “bring your own bottle”. In many French villages, locals will bring bottles or jugs to a nearby winery and fill them up with an easy drinking wine to use as their house wine.
The Right Bank of Bordeaux is home to some of the most famous wines in the world. Merlot is the predominant grape grown all over the region, followed by Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon. The area is best known for its limestone and clay soils that cover the hillsides and plateaux from the beautiful seaside Côte de Blaye in the north, all the way east to the forested Côte de Castillon.
The traditional winemaking methods call for natural yeast fermentations, the careful addition of some of the press fraction back into the final blends, and a bit of oak aging; the VRAC approach is to leave the wine unoaked, so the wine is in its purest state - just fruit, soil and the sense of place.
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