Thursday, January 29, 2015
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.
Monday, June 16, 2014
On Top of St EmilionMon 16th June 2014
|St Emilion chateau, from the tower|
Finally made it to St Emilion and too did tout le monde. The season has started here for sure and the tourists, including this Irish pair, are out in force. And the wine-shops are ready, ready to deal in dollars or yen, en premiere and any wine investment you fancy.
Not for me. First priority was to find a parking space and this we did, within yards of the local Maison du Vin. They have a big selection here but no tastings. Not very well up on St Emilion so I stuck to 2009 and 2010. Had some notion that Chateau Haut Rocher was a good one and got some, though the most expensive purchase was the 2010 Chateau Haut La Grace Dieu. Also picked up a few cheaper ones from Lussac.
|St Emilion vineyard|
Much of St Emilion is classed as Cultural Landscape by UNESCO since 1999. Has France stolen a march with these UNESCO bods or has Ireland been slow off the mark?
Back down then for a visit to the ancient church and its intact cloisters, also a stroll round that part of the town, some slippery shiny paving stones there in the narrow streets (bring decent footwear), and a quick look at an art Expo before heading for “home”.
|Passed through Entre Deux Mers today|
|Graves vineyards, near Podensac|
As we approached Arcachon, we were getting a little worried about dinner as many restaurants and shops close on Monday. But our traiteur friend in Chez la mere Catherine came to the rescue with his plat du jour, Axoa de veau (€10.12 for two), a Basque dish that we regularly enjoyed during a stay two years back in Hendaye. He also supplied dessert: Fondant a L’Orange (€5.60 again for two). Sipping a superb refreshing Chateau Bauduc rosé (by Gavin Quinney) as I anticipate dinner and maybe a World Cup match (must check what’s on!).