Showing posts with label Podensac. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Podensac. 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.

Monday, June 16, 2014

On Top of St Emilion

On Top of St Emilion
Mon 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
With the tourists in, prices are up. For instance, an espresso here costs €2.50 as against €1.50 in Arcachon. Don't think it cost me that to get to the top of St Emilion. Had a lovely chat with the young man in charge of the entrance to the tower - he is coming to Cork as he loves the Irish women. It was a fantastic climb to the top of the Bell Tower of the Monolithic Church (I kid you not!) with some great views out over the Cote Pavie slope and more.
St Emilion
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
 Earlier, in Podensac, we had renewed acquaintance with our friendly server in the Graves Maison du Vin. We loved our initial haul here and that drew us back. One of the stars this time is the Rochemorin blanc 2010. We bought a few bottles for just €11.95, knowing that the same bottle cost us fifty euro in a local Arcachon restaurant (Le Patio). As we left with our haul, our friendly server, another who now wants to come to Cork, gave me a “Daddy Day” pressie, some Graves drop stops. Merci beaucoup!

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!).

A bientôt!