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At Topaz, Bordeaux flowed as the rain fell

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Bordeaux expert Nicolas Olivry pours a bottle of Fugue de Nenin on Friday night at Topaz. Photograph: Stuart Alan Becker/Phnom Penh Post

A crowd of tasters gathered at Topaz Restaurant on Friday night for a rich sampling of French Bordeaux wine varieties, with wine expert Nicolas Olivry explaining the complexities of France’s most productive wine-producing region.

The Bordeaux Wine Experience was jointly organised by Sopheap Phean of Vintage Wines and Arnaud Darc and his team at Topaz Restaurant.

Flanked by a variety of snacks with cheese and other treats, the packed event was designed as an informal Bordeaux wine tasting to show that Bordeaux was affordable.

On hand was Olivry, CEO of Red & White International and representative for Salin Bordeaux Wine merchants.

While Phnom Penh’s movers and shakers sampled the Bordeaux wines and the rain came down outside, Olivry filled the glasses and explained the Bordeaux region.

“Bordeaux is a very complex area where you have over 8,000 wine growers,” he said. Bordeaux wines ate 90 per cent red and 10 per cent white.

The red wines of Bordeaux are always a combination of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot grapes.

During the winemaking process the juices from the Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot grapes are blended. Interestingly, Bordeaux is distinguished by whether it is grown on the right bank or the left bank of the river.

“Every wine region in the world has a river,” Olivry said. “You have a left bank and a right bank. On the left bank 90 per cent of the wine is always dominated by the Cabernet Sauvignon rather than the Merlot. On the right bank, you have merlot dominating.

One the left bank are the Margaux and Pauillac sub-regions; on the right bank, the most famous sub-regions are St Emilion and Pomerol.

During the event, Olivry offered the right bank Bordeaux Fugue de Nenin in a 2007 vintage. The Fugue de Nenin retails in Cambodia for about $50 per bottle and is 90 per cent Merlot, from the Pomerol region.

“That is what we call a second wine. The property that produced this wine also produced a higher quality. The second wine is usually made of the younger grape. The second wine is always better value for money. It carries the name but is more affordable,” Olivry said.

“It is a very fruity wine, very round and will go very well with steak, veal, lamb roast and any meat.”

During the evening, 11 wines were tasted, retailing in price from US$11 to $50. Some Bordeaux wines such as Betrus cost as much as $2,000 per bottle.

To contact the reporter on this story: Stuart Alan Becker at stuart.becker@gmail.com

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