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How wine tastings transport you

Ron Smith, World of Wine columnist

Picture the Bordeaux region of France, and place your mind's eye in the city of Bordeaux looking northwest up the Gironde Estuary that empties into the Atlantic. All the vineyards to the left are considered Left Bank plantings and all the plantings on the opposite side of the Estuary and Dordogne River are considered the Right Bank.

Recently some wine from this region came into my possession — specifically the Left Bank plantings by a premium brand wine known as the Légende range of wines that are available in America. These are terroir-driven wines being offered at affordable prices, re-interpreted by the expertise of Domaines Barons de Rothschild (Lafite).

Légende, as you likely would guess, is the French word for "legend", and Légende was developed in five major appellations: Bordeaux Rouge, Bordeaux Blanc, Médoc, Saint-Émilion and Pauillac. They are intended to appeal to millennials who want a quality wine-tasting experience without a budget hemorrhaging.

Légende wine selections are truly legends, in that they are definitely meant to be shared with someone of significance in your life, whether it be the love of your life over the past dozen or so years, or one where your intentions are at the initial stages of possible permanence.

The Légende Bordeaux 2016 vintage (SRP $17.99) combines 60 percent cabernet sauvignon with 40 percent merlot for a silky tannin taste, with a strong fruity finish. This door opener shows appreciation for one who has your intended interest.

If this date is somewhat beyond the first date to impress, bring a bottle of Légende Médoc, 2015, a blend of 60 percent cabernet sauvignon and 40 percent merlot that, when tasted during an elegant dinner, will bring a smile to her face. This generous, full-bodied and structurally rounded wine will deliver some spice as it is sipped, highlighting the terroir difference between these two blends.

Légende Saint- Émilion 2014 is a blend of 85 percent merlot and 15 percent cabernet franc from the Right Bank of the Dordogne River, just south of the city of Bordeaux. This wine's expressive and fruity nose, accompanied by very noticeable fresh fruit aromas of cherry, blueberry and a hint of vanilla, will leave a smooth freshness on the palate. This is a serious wine for serious intentions or celebrations, like a marriage proposal, or better yet, a significant wedding anniversary. Accompanied by a long-stemmed red rose, your true love will be convinced of your sincerity.

The Légende wines are produced and supervised by oenologist Diane Flamand. With years of experience and a master's degree from the International Wine and Spirit Trade, Diane elaborates these wines following the same approach used in crafting wines for Domaines Barons de Rothschild (Lafite), with the same care and attention to detail and with passion, discipline, humility, excellence and harmony.

Légende wines from Bordeaux are no longer just for collectors, but also for immediate consumers.

Ron Smith, a retired NDSU Extension horticulturist, writes weekly about his love of wine and its history. Readers can reach him at