Petite Siréne Bordeaux 2015
Cost: $19-21
T he truth most of us would not like to admit is that even if we could taste the top first-growth Bordeaux wines, most of us would not like them. That’s not to say we wouldn’t drink them if we had the chance.
But when I have had the chance I could always tell my palate was not really developed enough to fully appreciate what was in my glass. I have enjoyed great Bordeaux, and if you get the chance you should try them, but for regular drinking, they really aren’t for me.
Ah, but thank goodness for all the outstanding second- and third-growth Bordeaux that you can enjoy without taking out a loan. This Petite Siréne is a fine example.
I’m not sure where we got this idea that we must have the best of everything, the top of the line. Just plain, old, everyday Bordeaux is pretty special, and for most occasions, I’m sure it would satisfy most mid- to upper-level wine drinkers. Wine snobs can go do their own thing.
The Bordeaux is a large region, with great grapes growing all through it. You don’t need first-growth grapes to get a very good wine. Even the non-classified vineyards are just a stone’s throw from first-growth vineyards.
This wine is made from grapes grown throughout the region and carefully handled by the technical team from Chateau Giscours, which makes a wonderful Grand Cru Classé Margaux. In fact, 2015 was such a great year for Bordeaux, if you are trying to figure out if you like them, this is a good time to find out. There should be plenty of good wines at reasonable prices.
The Petite Siréne is full of ripe fruit, such as blackberries and red fruit, with generous aromas. Well integrated tannins and pleasant acidity give it some heft and make it perfect with a nice meal. This elegant wine has good structure with a suppleness that makes it enjoyable. This wine might even age for a few years. This wine is powerful without being overpowering.
The blend is 60 percent merlot and 40 percent cabernet sauvignon. The grapes were cooled to undergo a short cold maceration, which helped bring out the fruitiness. Alcoholic fermentation was carried out in tanks at between 79 and 86 degrees Fahrenheit. The grapes stayed in the tank for three weeks before they were drawn and blended. The finished wine then spent 12 months in oak barrels, 20 percent of which are renewed each year.
Chateau Giscours has been making Petite Siréne since 2008, but 2015 was such a good year in Bordeaux the owners thought this might be the time to expand distribution. So they turned to Cape Classics, which has distributed South African wines since 1992 and recently added some French wines.
The winemaking team at Giscours has some exceptional vineyards to work with in the
Côtes de Bordeaux, where vines are on slopes overlooking the Garonne River. They benefit from clay-gravel and clay-limestone soils, a warm climate and southwestern exposure. The folks at Giscours practice sustainable agriculture.
“Our technical team from Château Giscours brings the same expertise and skill to this wine as our Grand Cru Classé, stated Alexander van Beek, CEO of Château Giscours. “With Petite Sirène, our aim is to produce a very approachable and affordable Bordeaux blend, satisfying all the wine lovers, including the most demanding connoisseurs.”
Petite Siréne also produces a tasty sauvignon-sémillon blend that also sells for about $20. It has fresh, mineral-driven flavors of citrus and exotic fruits.
Winery: The Chateau may be Petite Siréne, but everything else comes through the winemaking team at Chateau Giscours. They have great winemaking talent and their distributors have a 25-year history of sending great wines around the world.
Cape Classics started in South Africa in 1992 and has built up an impressive portfolio of wines. They now represent wines in the Loire Valley, Rhone Valley, Burgundy, Bordeaux and Languedoc-Roussillon.
The 30 wineries they represent embrace sustainable eco and social practices, doing their part to help preserve lands for future generations while improving the human condition now.
Though the wine label only dates back to 2008, like everything else in France Petite Siréne has an extensive history. This one begins in the 14th Century when the estate was a defensive tower overlooking a wild, unwelcoming terrain.
In 1552 Pierre de Lhomme, a wealthy Bordeaux draper, purchased a nobleman’s house called “Guyscoutz.” He revitalized the property and converted it into a vast estate, planted vines, and soon after, wine production began.
As the years passed, little by little, Pierre’s successors added their own contributions to the estate. In the 19th century, under the control of the Pescatore and Cruse families, Giscours gained much of its grand appearance. Architect, Eugene Bülher transformed the château into a neoclassical palace, modernizing the winemaking facilities and constructing additional buildings including the famed, Ferme Suzanne, a large, lavish space used for banquets today
The name Petite Sirène translates to “The Little Mermaid,” a nod to a legend surrounding Chateau Giscours. At the end of the 19th Century the Cruse family had created a wine label for Chateau Giscours utilizing their coat of arms.
However, in 1919 the family sold the estate to Emile Grange, who wanted to adjust the labels to reflect his own personal influence. He was contemplating how best to execute this while sitting in front of a fire at Chateau La Houringue, whose vineyards are part of Chateau Giscours now, on a damp evening when he claimed to see the outline of a siren in the flames.
This vision haunted him and prompted his addition of a beautiful mermaid carrying a branch of vines (the symbol of the Médoc) to the labels.
The Petite Sirene went well with tomato sauce and pasta.
Goes with: We had this nice wine on one of those nights when I didn’t feel like cooking. I boiled some angel hair pasta, heated up a jar of Newman’s Own sauce and we had a great meal.
I love making my own marinara or meat sauce and serving it over all kinds of noodles. But when I don’t have the energy to do that you can’t beat Newman’s Own. All the flavors are delicious, and I love that the profits go to charities.
On this night I mixed marinara with sockerooni sauce, which has sausage and a little bite. We added tossed salads and it was a well-rounded meal.
The rich sauce went really well with the fruit flavors, and the acidity perfectly matched the acidity in the tomato sauce. It was even a pleasant wine to sip after the meal.
The Petite Siréne also would pair well with white meat, roasted poultry, steak, pizza and hard cheese.

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