Showing posts with label Margaux. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Margaux. Show all posts

Thursday, July 9, 2015

In Margaux Once. Must visit again!

In Margaux Once.
Must call again!

The vineyards of Margaux, on the south bank of the Garonne estuary (many Irish holidaymakers will know Royan on the opposite bank), grow mostly Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. The classic  blend is always a combination of these two “majors” and sometimes a little of Cabernet  Franc, maybe some Petit Verdot, more rarely Malbec and other old varieties.

According to the Maison du Vin de Margaux, where I bought the bottles below (along with some more!), Cabernet Sauvignon accounts for nearly 65% of the vines planted in the appellation. “It gives wine structure, bouquet, and a potential to age.”

Merlot brings roundness, generosity and complexity to the aromas. Cabernet Franc, much rarer, brings an extra touch of of elegance and suppleness while Petit Verdot produces wines “that are fairly rich in colour, fruit and tannins”.

The vines and the soil all play a part in making a Margaux and so does the climate of each year. “This variability, known as the effet millésime (vintage effect), is at the origin of variations in wines’ quality and expression.”

The variables will test the expertise of the winemaker who also has to contend with different harvest times for the different grapes. Merlot is first, then comes Cabernet Franc followed by Cabernet Sauvignon and then the Petit Verdot.

Take good care of your Margaux wines. They recommend “to open them one or two hours before service and present them in a nice carafe or decanter. Perfect service temperature is 19 degrees. Their finesse and subtlety show themselves in accompaniment with red meats or cheeses with delicate aromas”. Margaux wines are widely available in Ireland. Enjoy!

Some of my 2014 purchases
Chateau La Galiane 2009, 13.5%, 16.50 in Margaux

Gorgeous intense dark fruit aromas. Then there are rich fruit flavours, with a wee bit of spice, ripe tannins, and good balance. All in all, a classic well rounded Bordeaux with good structure and no little finesse, a lovely blend in which Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot are the major grapes.

Chateau La Tour De Bessan Crus Bourgeois 2011, 13%, 20.30 in Margaux

Even more intense wave of aromas, slightly different to the Galiane. It is rich and complex, full bodied and, again, ripe tannins. Great flavours of red fruits in this smooth Cru Bourgeois. The blend here is Merlot (62%) and Cabernet Sauvignon (38%). A marginally better wine than the Galiane. It has spent 12 months in French oak and the average age of the vines is 25 years.

Labastide Dauzac 2008, 13%, €23.00 in Margaux

Garnet is the colour, the aromas full and harmonious. This is full-bodied, red fruits, some spice too, pleasant and smooth on the palate, and with a long finish. Again the classic blend of Merlot (57%) and Cabernet Sauvignon (43%) and Very Highly Recommended.

This is the second wine of Dauzac, made from younger vines. It has spent 12 months in oak (not all new) and, if I had to pick one from the three, this would be it.
Take your pick!
In a pioneering book on matching food and wine called The Head of the Household from his Cellar to his Table, conceived and started in a WW2 prisoner of war camp, the author Frenchman Roger Ribaud, knowing that the Bordelais had been trapping pigeons, recommended that they match their catch with a Margaux. (Source: Wine & War by Don & Petie Kladstrup).

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Margaux and Riedel

Margaux and Riedel

Charmes de Kirwan, Margaux 2010, 13%, €31.00 Maison du Vin de Margaux.

Thought this Kirwan would be just the one to baptise the new Riedel glasses and indeed, it proved a very compatible pairing indeed.

It may well be the second wine of the estate but it is a very drinkable classic and “one to watch” according to the 2014 Hugh Johnson handbook.

The dark fruit aromas were highlighted by the Riedel. On the palate, the fruit (plum, cherry mainly) is upfront in a very well balanced wine. Tannins in evidence but not in major way and you’ll also notice the characteristic freshness of the Cabernet Franc. Second wine, yes, but a first class drop and Very Highly Recommended.

Cabernet Franc makes up 23% of the blend and the other grapes are Petit Verdot (12%), Merlot (25), and Cabernet Sauvignon (40%).

La Reserve d’Angulet, Margaux 2009, 13.5%, €20.00 Maison du Vin de Margaux.

Continued the Margaux-Riedel combination with this gem, the second wine of the Angulet estate. Like the Kirwan above, it is made from the fruit of younger vines. The blend in this case is 50% Cabernet Sauvignon, 45% Merlot and 5% Petit Verdot.

The Sichel family, the owners of Angulet, say it “offers the best quality for price in the entire Margaux appellation”. A bold statement indeed but I think there’s more than a tannin of truth in it. Oz Clarke reckons the last ten years or so have seen it get better and better while Hugh Johnson says it is stylish and good value. 

Delicious red fruit aromas rise from this one which has a dark opaque colour. Superb fruit, some spice too, as the wine, with its rounded supple structure, washes gently across the palate, the pleasant sensations carrying right on through a long finalé. Very Highly Recommended.

I think you can take it that I am now, after taking part in a few demonstrations, the most recent last month at Ballymaloe, a Riedel convert. I’ve no doubt but that they enhance the wine. The glass used for the two wines here is the Riedel Restaurant Cabernet Merlot 446/0, recommended for Margot in particular and for Bordeaux in general; the recommendation details: Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Fronsac, Graves rouge, Listrac, Medoc, Moulis, Pauillac, Pessac Leognan rouge, Pomerol, St Estephe, and St Julien.
Great glass too for Port. Just don’t pour too much in!

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Reds to Remember

Reds to Remember
A Margaux chateau this summer.

Marques de Riscal Gran Reserva 2001 (150th anniversary edition), 14%, €49.99 Bradley’s, North Main Street, Cork.

This was produced to mark the 150th anniversary of Riscal and is rather special, a good choice for a special occasion of your own! It is the normal Rioja blend of Tempranillo (mainly), Graciano and Mazuelo, but from vines older than 30 years. The picking was by hand. Two and a half years in American oak was followed by three years bottle aging.

Dark cherry in colour, it has a complex nose: herbs, oaky fragrances, spicy. It is rounded, at this stage, well balanced with a viscous mouthfeel, no shortage of power or backbone, intense black fruits, supple and with a long silky finish. Superb. I’m sure you'll think of a special occasion. Very Highly Recommended.

By the way, I had a special occasion myself! Normally, I'll be sticking to my usual (flexible!) price range on this site, usually between €12.00 and €22.00.

Domaine de Maucaillou Margaux 2009, 12.5%, €12.00 in Margaux June 2014.

Moved on to this just as I was finishing the Riscal. What a pleasant surprise and a pleasant reminder that price is not always the best indicator of wine quality. This is a beautiful Bordeaux from a good year. Thought it was one of the more expensive of the Margaux that I bought there this summer and, on checking, was surprised to see it was the cheapest.

This is a blend of 70% Cabernet Sauvignon and 30% Merlot, has spent 12 months in barriques and is produced in a 2.3 hectare vineyard. Confusingly, there is a Chateau Maucaillou not too far away in Moulis.

Colour is a deep ruby, healthy and bright, and it has a rather delicate fruity nose. On the palate, it has power and attractiveness in equal measures, a big wine indeed from a very small domaine, and a very nice finish as well. Check out your local wine merchant for Margaux. This one, if you come across it, home or away, is Very Highly Recommended.

Aresti Trisquel 2012 Syrah (Chile), 14%, €17.99 Supervalu.

This dark dark red has an intriguing nose: blackcurrants, spices, vanilla, caramel, smoke even. The Syrah (rather than Shiraz) suggests a nod towards the European style and it is indeed close to the more restrained Old World style. Quite complex on the palate, juicy, spicy, darkly fruity and a long pleasing finish. Quite a lot going on in this really stunning wine. Very Highly Recommended.

Moulin de Gassac Albaran 2011, Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah Old Vines, 13.5%, €14.49 Curious Wines online.

On the lookout for value? Then you could do worse that check out the Curious Wines website as they give genuine discounts throughout the year. I saved three euro on this one a few weeks back. This is an excellent red for the price, great fruit and flavour, a highly recommended easy drinker from this innovative and well established Herault (Languedoc) vineyard.

Friday, June 13, 2014

In the Medoc today. €1439.80 wine. €14.00 lunch.

In the Medoc today. €1439.80 wine. €14.00 lunch.

Fri 13th June 2014

Cherry Cake
I have neglected talking to you about the Menu du Jour in French cafés. You’ll have no choice but you’ll have a very satisfying meal for somewhere between ten and fourteen euro.

Our latest example came today in the Medoc wine village of Listrac. They had a board outside offering the Plat du Jour for €7.50. We had already bought some local wine there, from the small Listrac and Moulis appellations, before sitting down for lunch in Le Relais de Listrac. The Menu du Jour offered the first two courses for €11.00 euro, the dessert for just three.

The opening salad was promising. The main part was a tasty duck terrine and the salad leaves were fresh and every well dressed and the gherkins added to both the textures and the flavours.
The main, Sautée de Veau, was a little gem. The perfectly cooked veal was accompanied by some excellent Medoc mushrooms (full of flavour) and a spoon or two of mash, all in a lovely sauce.

We were offered desserts off the other menus but I had a feeling that the one cooked for today would be good and so it proved. It was a cherry cake, according to the friendly waitress. In fairness it is packed with cherries and served with a cold custard. I think we met everyone in the house, including the chef who shook hands with the two of us as we left.
Chateau Haut Breton Larigaudiere
By the way, not too much white in the Medoc but do look out for the Chateau Saransot Dupre 2012. This is a quote from the chateau website: The Château produces an excellent dry white wine from old Sémillion, Sauvignon and Muscadelle vines. The harvest is vinified and aged in oak barrels. This wine, which enjoys a great popularity among connoisseurs recalls the fine white wines that Listrac produced in the second half of the 19th century, wines that were almost as famous as the commune's reds. Well worth a try. If the proprietor of the Relais had produced it earlier we might have bought it but by then our reds were safe in the car.

The roads in the Medoc were quiet, just as they had been last Monday and you wonder what kind of landscape you'd see here if there wasn't a wine industry. We headed for the village of Margaux, one of the capitals of that industry, and for Maison du Vin in particular.
On the wine route
The tourist office is also incorporated in this fine building and they sell a large range of the local wine. But they don't do tastings here. We worked our way through the display. By the way, the bottles are empty. I checked the Chateau Margaux Premier Grande Cru Classé 2005!

We reckoned Margaux could do without our custom but we did buy a selection across the range, including a Chateau Kirwan 2010. We Irish have to stick together!

Got a few photos around the town and, with the temperatures again up around the 30s, headed “home” to Arcachon, buying a kilo of mussels (€4.95) on the way. That should keep us going through the World Cup. A bientot!

Friday, April 25, 2014

Wine from the isle of Margaux. And one from mainland Medoc.

Wine from the isle of Margaux.
And one from mainland Medoc.

Domaine de L’Ile Margaux, Bordeaux Superieur 2006, 13%, €24.00, Karwig Wines    

Amazing how your geography improves when you are interested in wine. Just found when checking up on this bottle that there is an island called Ile de Margaux in the Gironde estuary and it is opposite Chateau Margaux and, in addition, grows all the main grapes of the Medoc!

This charming wine is more complex than your normal Bordeaux AOC. Colour is garnet and the aromas are of the darker fruits with a hint of vanilla. Black and red fruits and some spice too on the palate. It has a refreshing acidity, tannins there for sure but not too obvious. It has quite a pleasing mouthfeel and a longish dry finish.

Traditionally made so you will find a deposit but this just emphasises its credentials. Superbly made and well balanced, this is Very Highly Recommended. Might well be hopping over to the island when in the area this summer.

La Paroisse Haut Medoc 2009, 13.5%, €22.35 Karwig Wine

The Cave Saint Seurin de Cadourne is hardly one of the best known producers in the Medoc but this well structured 2009 red, 50% Merlot and 50% Cabernet Sauvignon, is quite a wine.

You get a hint of what's to come from the welcoming red fruit aromas. It is really well balanced, with supple tannins, and a long finale. Hard to beat Bordeaux! From aroma to finish, this traditional elegant wine doesn't disappoint.

Don't worry if it hasn't a big chateau name attached. Don't worry either if you find a deposit in the bottom of the bottle. This is all natural as the wine hasn’t been treated. Very Highly Recommended.