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Full circle (Bordeaux, France – Day One)

There is a kind of poetry to my arrival in Bordeaux at this point in my trip. After this week I will be taking a hiatus from the wine discovery for about seven weeks, travelling through the UK, Ireland and Northern Europe playing the part of the cliché Australian backpacker. After this I will be working the vintage in Germany and will be having a different wine experience to the one I have had over the past 10 months. This therefore means that Bordeaux is the last wine region I will visit until November when I finish vintage and finish off my French wine discovery in places like Burgundy and the Loire Valley. In a way my journey has been leading up to Bordeaux as it is considered to be the greatest wine region in the world. Wine consumers and critics are more widely enamoured of this region than any other to the point that Bordeaux wines often sell for exorbitant prices in secondary markets if they are from a prestigious house and a great vintage. Bordeaux has created such a strong image around itself, the wines and the appelations that very few wine connoisseurs would struggle to name at least one left bank appellation. This region is the reference for marketing, branding and wine style for so many regions around the world that the cabernet sauvignon variety is the most widely planted in the world. There are thousands of wineries around the world who attempt to produce wine in the Bordeaux model, using the classic varieties and winemaking techniques to produce robust full-bodied and oaky wines. Almost every country I have visited has at least one Bordeaux variety planted, and there are many examples of the blend from Germany, Italy, Portugal, Chile and the USA. So after being shown so many ‘bordeaux’ wines in my journey coming here to taste the original and still the best is like the end of a pilgrimage. My first day was spent in the south eastern parts of Bordeaux at Chateau Canon La Gaffeliere, Chateau L’Eglise Clinet and Chateau d’Yquem.
Outside the famous Chateau d’Yquem

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Chateau L’Evangile – 25/07/2012

2011 Chateau L’Evangile
Nice intense soft merlot colour. Bright intense merlot nose, balsamic reduction and black cherries, some dark pomegranate, very slightly spicy but lots of fruit. Intense supple yet firm and structured, nice clean finish, good fruit concentration but not heavy, in fact quite fresh. Some very subtle savoury notes coming from the barrel, as well as a crunchy texture. Very tightly wound, needs a few more years to open up.

Chateau L’Evangile tank temperature control

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Chateau L’Eglise Clinet – 23/07/2012

2011 Le Petite Eglise
Nice delicate colour, light and fresh with ruby undertones. Very charcuterie-like on the nose, with bright but closed red fruits. Tight fresh and lively, deep concentration without being heavy or fat, slightly candied o the back of the palate, density of fruit looking nice and approachable, with some developing oak notes of caramel and char.

2011 Chateau L’Eglise Clinet
More intense dark purple colour. Darker fruits, more intense floral aromas, a little dusty molasses. Much more intense structure and texture, more robust fruit tannins, but soft and approachable, just youthful and intense. Some tightness from the cab franc perhaps, a refined merlot structure.

Chateau l’Eglise-Clinet 2002, unfortunately not tasted

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