Mais surtout, il reigne dans cet endroit un grand calme et une certaine quiétude propice au repos.
These words from an anonymous reviewer, enthusiastically describing her stay at Château Grand Renom, may tell us something about the pleasures of seeking out the unknown wines of Bordeaux — those which are perhaps moins renoms. Without the pressure of high style and imperial presence, these wines bring their own sense of pleasure to us — a kind of Sunday morning relaxation. Very propice au repos.
Bordeaux has always produced quantities of reliable table wine. Labeled with sunny optimism as Grand Vin de Bordeaux or Bordeaux Supérieur, these are cheap, friendly, and indispensable. Grand Renom is produced in the village of Eynesse, close to St. -Emilion but, fortunately for our bank cards which are permanently chauffées — excessively hot from frequent use — not quite in St. -Emilion.
The wine comes from the region called Entre-Deux-Mers. A little geography helps. Bordeaux is largely composed of water and wine (with an ancient commercial city planted in the centre.) The water consists of an enormous estuary, the Gironde, formed at its eastern end by two great rivers, the Dordogne and the Garonne. The triangular slice of land between the rivers is Entre-Deux-Mers — between two seas. All Bordeaux wines are said to be improved by a view of the water, and Grand Renom justly claims its place on the left bank of the Dordogne.
Entre-Deux-Mers is best known for white wine, but this one is red. (As a red wine from the region, generally poorly regarded, it cannot even describe itself as “Entre-Deux-Mers.”) It is merlot-based but remains light and floral, not broody or sweet. And for a second act, it has that marvelous cocoa quality which comes from time spent in oak barrels. In this case, not very much time. The 2009 is entirely young but seems ready for an outing.