Tag Archives: Saint Emilion

Sweet tooth (Bordeaux, France – Day Five)

It seems somehow fitting that the last day I will be visiting wineries is spent tasting some of the most famous dessert wines in the world. Graves is in the southern part of Bordeaux on the left bank but a long way from Medoc. It is a special area in the sense unlike other parts of Bordeaux all three of the famous wines are produced here; namely red, white and dessert wines. Red wine is the largest proportion of production, and in fact this was the origin of claret wine. In the original classification of 1855 one red wine was given first growth classification,which was Chateau Haut-Brion. Graves is also famous for the sweet wines, most importantly wines from Sauternes and Barsac which were also classified back in 1855. As you would remember I visited Chateau d’Yquem which is the most famous Sauternes house that has been given special First Growth Superieur status, but there are a number of other first growth estates. The varieties used for these wines are semillon and sauvignon blanc with a little muscadet. The fruit is harvested so late that the berries are botrytised and the sugar concentrated, and it is not uncommon for several passes to be made through the vineyard during the harvest to ensure only the best botrytised fruit is selected. The fermentation is stopped whilst there is still a high level of residual sugar in the wine, which is where the sweetness comes from. I visited two Sauternes estates in the morning and finished the day with an estate in Saint-Emilion.

The many aromas of sauternes captured by Chateau Suduiraut

Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under Winery Visits

Chateau Soutard – 27/07/2012

Chateau Cadet-Piola 2006
A little sharp on the nose, quite precise and fresh, red fruits but a tad volatile and bretty. Tight and lean, very intense but somewhat simple, very soft tannins, good acids but generally quite empty and simple.

Chateau Larmande 2002
Dense and meaty, darker fruits more mature and savoury, picking up some nice bottle-character, toastier and a little mint elements, dried fruits. Quite sharp and precise, definitely a product of its vintage, high acids and a little bitterness. On the bitter side, volatile and alcoholic. Not impressive.

Chateau Soutard 2003
Visibly ageing very fast. Much meatier on the nose, burger rings, bacon rind, fairly cooked on the nose, fruit all but gone. Soft and supple on the palate, looking quite complex at the moment but very little chance that it will improve, leathery and yoghurt. Creaminess in the texture but typical old-world bad.

Chateau Soutard 2007
Deeper and darker fruits, more mellow on the nose, good concentration but still showing some of that old-world funk, almost like a brunello. Good structure through the palate, well balanced and filling the mouth very well, subdued red fruits, a little creaminess in texture from the oak and the tannins, quite supple but persistent. Good acidity through the mouth, certainly potential and a fine example but still a lot of improving to be made.

Chateau Soutard

Leave a comment

Filed under Tasting Notes

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

Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under Winery Visits

Comtes Von Neipperg – 23/07/2012

Chateau D’Aiguihe 2007
Nice tarry black fruits cassis blackcurrant with a slight dusty balsamic note. Soft bright, good intensity and freshness, dark fruits but soft and structured. Approachable tannins and very well balanced. Reasonably simple but quite good.

Clos de L’Oratoire Grand Cru 2007
Slightly deeper and earthier, more brooding and yet still bright and fresh with expressive dark fruits. More character in the palate, earthier more savoury elements, definitely oak influence in the flavours and texture. Slightly chewier but balanced through the palate.

Chateau Canon la Gaffeliere Grand Cru 2007
More refined and closed, more mature and assured, earthy and slightly meaty with concentrated red fruits. Very bright lifted and intense, very fresh and pure, late influence on oak, structure but wonderful lines through the palate, very young. A coiled spring will open up with time.

La Mondotte 2007
More floral and dark fruits, nice concentration and lifted aromatics, full on the nose and inviting. Soft mellow and smooth, but balanced and structured through the palate. Very approachable now, not sure it will improve much, it’s great now. Quite different.

Chateau Canon la Gafelliere

Leave a comment

Filed under Tasting Notes