Hello, bonjour, and welcome to your new Bonner Private Wines video. A few weeks ago, we talked about an important distinction to have in mind when it comes to white wines. And this was the aromatic whites versus the more neutral ones as we saw back then. Such a difference doesn't apply to red wine all that much because all red wines are rather powerful aromatic.

Yet there are some style variations with red wines that are useful to have in mind when picking a bottle. Today, we're looking at the difference between Bordeaux style versus Rhône style. What's interesting here is that even though the Rhône Valley and Bordeaux are wine regions of France, in France, their stylistic differences when it comes to wine apply way beyond the French borders because the grapes they use respectively are essentially the most popular red wine grape varieties used all around the world.

The cabernet sauvignon and merlot, of course, from Bordeaux, but also syrah or grenache from the Rhône are now used globally from Australia, China, Spain, Italy and France to the west coast of the United States and South America everywhere. So when you choose a red wine in a shop or from a restaurant's wine list, chances are there is one of those two classic red styles somewhere in there.

So it's useful to understand how they differ. But let's get into it and you'll understand what I'm talking about.

My fellow wine loving friends, Julian here. Before we get started with the video, there is something that you have to know about. This video was made possible by the Bonner Private Wine Partnership, and the reason I work with them is not just because it's been called the most unique wine club in America, but because they truly love the wines that they choose for you.

Founded by Will Bonner, the partnership is a small group of wine lovers who have come together to import excellent small batch wines that might otherwise get completely overlooked by large importers. They get them. Right now, you can get your hands on three rare, extreme attitude red wines from Argentina, from some of the purest, highest vineyards in the entire world.

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So the Rhône Valley is in what we usually refer to as the South of France. When we talk casually like this, meaning it's near the Mediterranean coast, as opposed to Bordeaux, which is quite south as well in the country, but on the ocean coast, as we'll see in a minute. As a result, the climate there of the Rhône is warm overall, but also very dry and hot in summer, and that's why we like to go there.

So on the Mediterranean coast, the classic grapes from the Rhône are what we sometimes referred to as the GSMC blend of grenache, syrah, mourvedre and carignan. Red blends are generally made there. They blend all of those grapes or some of those grapes together, especially true in the southern Rhône, which is the biggest sub area in the valley.

The main characteristics of Rhône style wines because of this hot climate and the grapes that they use as well, are opulence and generosity. You could call it somewhat power because the warm weather results in producing sweet and lavish grapes, which translates into the wine. So obviously there's an oily and warming texture as well, as opposed to a tannin-driven texture, meaning that you feel the body and the generosity of the alcohol more than the acidity and the tannins themselves.

And finally, there is a very marked spiciness, so oily and spicy wines, very textural and fruity and powerful with the pepperiness that brings in the overall balance in wines that could feel without the spicy element a little bit too ripe or a little bit flabby. The spiciness lifts things up, and that's the influence of syrah in particular.

So generous, warm climate wines, yet balanced often thanks to the art of blending different grapes, some bring a bit more fruit, some bring a bit of the spiciness, some bring a bit more generosity. The art of blending. Those do have this in common, and you probably have in mind at least a few of the five classic grapes that originate from Bordeaux, France, because they are some of the most planted around the world, the Cabernet sauvignon and the merlot, of course, but also the malbec are part of this traditional Bordeaux blend of five great varieties, backed up sometimes by a little bit of Cabernet franc and petit verdot.

So Bordeaux is by the Atlantic Ocean, so it doesn't get quite as hot and dry as it gets in the Rhône because of the grapes that they use as well, which are very tannic and the less generous heat locally wines are really driven by what we call the tannic structure, the backbone of tannins that, together with the acidity, brings a sense of austerity to the tasting.

It's all about how the wine holds up on your palate, the finish of the tannic texture, rather than the opulence and the richness of the body from the Rhône. Does that make sense? So those are a bit tighter and straighter on the palate. You've got this line of tannins that holds on to your palate. Tannins versus body, if you wish that generally less spicy as well.

They don't have this black pepper character. Sometimes there is a little bit of green or red bell pepper, but not proper pepper, pepper, pepper, a black pepper character and a little bit fruity up there, too, as well overall with clear and bright, fresh red berry flavors, precise notes like blackcurrant and red cherry. So fresh red berry fruit in Bordeaux versus spice and jam stone fruit characters, a bit of figs, more Mediterranean fruits.

When you think about it in the Rhône, major differences when you're picking a bottle of rich red wine and I'm deliberately leaving out the lighter reds like the Pinot noir and the gamay here. We'll get back to those in future videos. Plenty of time when you get a rich red wine from anywhere around the world, outside of Italy, Spain, in all the small European countries that have their own local grapes, chances are that you'll either get a Bordeaux style or a more Rhône style fruit and tannins versus body and spices to be schematic of both those styles.

Sometimes there's some gray areas and they meet somewhere in the middle. We'll talk about this in a minute. So, well, you're going to find either of those styles or both. Let's start with South America, which has emphasized on Bordeaux grapes more than anything, with a lot of cabernet and merlot coming out of Chile and Argentina in particular, and of course, the iconic Argentina malbec, since it also comes originally from the south west of France, the Bordeaux area, it also folds the malbec into the Bordeaux style category, even the grape that has become synonymous with Chile.

If you've ever had a Chilean wine, chances are you may have had this grape that's called carmenère. This is a grape that also originally came from Bordeaux. And it comes in this style, even though carmenère is now extinct now in France, Australia is of course known mainly for its Shiraz, but also for what they call the GSM blend grenache, syrah and mourvèdre with not a lot of carignan there.

But anyways, Rhône side overall in Australia, even though some regions make great Bordeaux blends in Aus to; you've experienced one in your wine selection from Australia and New Zealand. South Africa also makes both styles, although they have their own grape as well. That is pinotage and that somewhat falls right in the middle. California was always more on the Bordeaux style wine.

So obviously, as you know, with the cabernet and the merlot that are, that were, so dominant before pinot noir came in, typically this was more on the Northern California side of things in particular, but many winemakers from the Central Coast in the Central Valley where it's warmer and they've advocated for the use of more and more Rhône grapes over the past 20 or 30 years, forming what's called what's known as the Rhône Rangers movement.

Rhône grapes are most suited to a harsher heat, so they make more balanced ones in those central, hotter areas and they make more sense than forcing the production of the Cabernet in those areas. Rhône style wines are doing extremely well now in California, adding the massive advantage these days of needing less water and using less water for irrigation.

So saving this precious resource in California. Further up the West Coast in Oregon and Washington is generally too cold for Rhône grapes. So it is the Bordeaux style grapes, all the lighter pinot noir. Surprisingly enough, even though both styles are based on blends, grapes from Bordeaux and Rhône together, blended together, are not really often seen. You don't blend those grapes together, surprisingly enough, at least with fine wines that reflect the expression of the terroir.

You're going to find blended grapes together on the more consensual, generally cheaper wines that are very, very popular nowadays. And because they blend those grapes, they make wines that are perhaps a little more consensual. Perhaps this is the secret of the success of what is called red blends, undisclosed red blends in the United States. As a final note on wine and food pairing, specifically because it's a common question, I don't think there is a massive difference between what goes well with each respective style.

They're both quite generous red wines after all. So I think it's more a matter of personal preference, I would say. Do you like and want to have more tannins and acidity and fresh fruit characters in your wine with your dish? Or would you prefer having some body and generosity and spices? In any case, having in mind not only the classic cabernet and merlot that we all know, but also the grapes from the Rhône like syrah, grenache, and mourvèdre and even Carignan in particular.

Those four, those will certainly broaden your possible choices and your potential explorations. Wherever the wines come from, they are present all around the world, and next time you have to pick a bottle of wine, think about those. They're fantastic to explore. If you're not familiar with the Rhône wines from France in particular, I'd certainly recommend trying a few at least the often affordable Cotes du Rhône style and then have a little bit more fun with a slightly higher end appellation like the village of Vacqueyras or Gigondas or obviously a more exclusive Chateauneuf-du-pape.

But we did have an excellent Chateauneuf-du-pape in your French wine selection not so long ago, so you probably remember that, and you may still even have a bottle of those. So now you know a little bit more about it, too. The world of wine is fascinating to explore, and now you have another subtle nuance to your knowledge to read through it better.

Bordeaux vs Rhône now you can read through. Thanks for watching. I hope you're doing well. Take care and I will see you soon, in the wonderful world of wine. Cheers.

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