Showing posts with label Lillet. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Lillet. Show all posts

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Good Stuff From The Garonne Gravel. A Duo of Excellent Graves Reds

Good Stuff From The Garonne Gravel

A Duo of Excellent Graves Reds

Chateau des Fougeres Clos Montesquieu, Graves rouge 2011, 13%, €14.80 at Maison Des Vins in Podensac

This is a fairly small estate and much of the work is done by hand. This is a classic blend, half Merlot, half Cabernet Sauvignon. It is pleasant and supple on the palate, has excellent flavours and some spice. Tannins too but just about. And this superb dry wine finishes so well. Very Highly Recommended.

I passed Chateau des Fougeres quite a few times last summer but never visited. Charles de Montesquieu, for whom this wine is named, was a philosopher and author as well as a public figure, businessman and wine grower. He lived in La Brède, overseeing the development of his estate and his vineyard. He was the first to promote the wines of the Graves region, and did much to build their reputation throughout France and in Britain.

Clos Montesquieu Graves rouge is raised in French oak casks for 14 to 16 months. “Its ageing potential has increased over the past vintages and will continue to do so thanks to various ongoing projects. The grapes we use for this wine come from our most gravelly parcels.” And that gravel gives you a big hint as to how to pronounce Graves!

Chateau de Respide Cuvee Callipyge, Graves rouge 2010, 13.5%, €11.80 at Maison Des Vins in Podensac

The chateau is proud of “this high-end wine”, a blend of Merlot (48%), Cabernet Sauvignon (47) and Petit Verdot (5). 24,000 bottles were produced and it has spent 12 months in oak (50% of which is new timber).

Colour here is quite a dark red and there are intense fruits on the nose. On the palate, it is smooth, and fruity too, hints of spice, but all under close control. Tannins are present but not obtrusive. All in all, a superbly made superbly balanced wine, “suitable for Bordeaux Grands enthusiasts” as they say at the chateau who indicate it goes well with “dishes in sauce”, meats, poultry and cheese. Very Highly Recommended.

The style of wine from both these vineyards, both left bank, is essentially the same as that in Pessac Leognan so that means good value can be found here and neither chateau is too far away from the Autoroute Des Deux Mers (A62), familiar to more than a few Irish holidaymakers. Alternatively, why not detour to Podensac where’ll you find the Maison des Vins (where 100s of chateaux are represented) and also the Lillet distillery.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

In the Heart of Graves. A Sweet Surprise.

In the Heart of Graves. A Sweet Surprise.
Day 3 in Arcachon
Dessert at Chez Charlotte:
 an apple roulade, with vanilla ice-cream and caramel sauce

We had something of a dilemma when we arrived at the Maison des Vins de Graves this afternoon: they hold more than 350 wines of the region which stretches about sixty kilometres (and about 15 wide) from the suburbs of Bordeaux to the villages of Langon, all on the left bank of the Gironde. Didn’t think I was up to tasting all 350.

Luckily, we had a great tasting (of about nine!) and were able to make some choices and, of course, purchases. Back at the ranch now with some red and white and sipping away happily from a bottle of Chateau Magneau rouge 2008.
Lillet Distillery in Podensac
While they do hold the reds of Pessac-Leognan, the dessert wines of Barsac and Sauternes are not on show here. But I was surprised that they did have some sweet wines of Graves itself, those blanc moelleux coming under the AOC of Graves Superieures. Tasted some and bought the Tour de Calens, “the exception that proves the rule”. The other Graves dessert wines come from the borders of Narsac and Sauternes and the micro-climate there but Calens is up by Pessac-Leognan.
Wines of Pessac-Leognan

The Maison des Vins is in the town of Podensac and one of our main reasons for visiting was to see the distillery that makes the rather famous local aperitif called Lillet. Unfortunately the public area is undergoing some renovations and not open for about another three weeks or so.

Not a great reward after braving the busy Bordeaux rocade (ring road), a place where you keep your eyes open and your hands and feet at the ready, where drivers make manic moves like the fellow in the artic that swept into our lane this morning and swept back out again, all in the one movement. Phew! But it is something we are getting used and will see more of if we are to see more of the vineyards.

Before the aborted visit to Lillet, we had called to a lovely restaurant in the town called Chez Charlotte where a three course meal cost us €22.00 each. It was quite a good one too and the proprietor had good English and was eager to engage in conversation. He was quite proud of his food, especially the rabbit and pistachio terrine starter, all made in house.

He was also proud of the area, listing the main attractions as Charlotte (big smile!), the Lillet Distillery, The Maison de Vins and the fact that they had a water tower by the famous architect Le Corbusier. You can see the latter from the grounds of La Maison des Vin. In fact, you will see two towers, but the smaller older looking one is the effort by the renowned Le Corbusier.