Q&A with sommelier Michael Madrigale


1)   You are the new ambassador for Planet Bordeaux. What is Planet Bordeaux?


It’s the U.S name for a collection of likeminded growers of Bordeaux AOC and Bordeaux Supérieur who want to show the world how special and value-driven their wines truly are.


2)   You’re typically known for your vast knowledge of wines from Burgundy and the Rhône Valley. Why did you choose to champion the wines of Planet Bordeaux?


I chose to champion the wines of Planet Bordeaux to help dispel the myth that Bordeaux has to be expensive to be good. These are real wines made by hand from devoted growers at an incredible value proposition. In my humble opinion, some of the best wine values in the world come from Bordeaux and Bordeaux Supérieur.


3)   As you know, there are several types of Planet Bordeaux wines. Tell us a little bit about the various types of wine and their characteristics?


Cremant de Bordeaux is an easy drinking, traditional method sparkler that is crisp and vibrant and can always get the evening started. Bordeaux Rose and Bordeaux Clairet are pink wines that are as versatile as any pink wine you’ve ever come across. Bordeaux Blanc is dry Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon at its apogee. Bordeaux Rouge is quite  simply  one  of  the  greatest  reds  in  the  world.  And Bordeaux Supérieur wines are also spectacularly produced reds. While Bordeaux Rouge  is  an  easy-drinking,  smooth,  and  younger  type  of  wine, Bordeaux Supérieur is more complex,  terroir-based and structured. I really enjoy the older Bordeaux Supérieur vintages as they age quite nicely.


4)   As a sommelier, when would you suggest opening a bottle of one of these wines?


In the spring and summer months, Planet Bordeaux wines are perfect for picnics and barbecues. In the fall and winter, they’re great for holiday gifting and dinner parties. Given that Bordeaux and Bordeaux Supérieur wines run the gamut of White, Rose, Red, Sparkling and Sweet, I’d say anytime, anyplace, and anywhere.


5)   What are some great food pairings for Bordeaux and Bordeaux Supérieur wines? What’s your favorite?


Fish, salads, and spicy foods go quite splendidly with Bordeaux dry whites. Gazpacho and Bordeaux Rose is also an interesting combination. I also love a good lamb skewer – and they go very well with reds.


6)   What unique cuisines and dishes can you suggest for Planet Bordeaux wines?


For me, sushi and Bordeaux Blanc is a match made in heaven. Also, tacos al pastor and softer, merlot-dominated Bordeaux would dance very well together. In general, I’ve always been of the belief that because there are so many different types of Bordeaux and Bordeaux Supérieur wines, that they pair very well with all types of cuisine.


7)   Do you have any personal favorites?


Bordeaux AOC from Château Penin and Bordeaux Blanc from Château Roquefort are just two of my many favorites. They’re perfect for any occasion and go well with a plethora of different dishes.


8)   You recently visited Bordeaux. What was your favorite part about the trip?


My favorite part about the trip was meeting and tasting with the growers. It is always the best part of visiting any wine region. Specifically, I was very taken with the dedication and passion that all of the growers exude. They are not the “double breasted suits and ascot” Bordeaux winemakers. They are the dedicated, terroir-driven, “dirt under the fingernails” Bordeaux winemakers. They put a lot of thought and care into their work, and it definitely shows.