Are you dreaming of a Bordeaux wine glass right now ? Of course you are ! Bordeaux represents 111 000 hectares of vineyards, the biggest French Protected Designation of Origin, with a majority of small properties. With its oceanic climate, they produce 85% of red wines and 10% of white wines. 6300 wine growers, 300 negociants, 33 cooperatives cellars, 704 MILLIONS of bottles produced every year, with 270 millions sent to export, mainly in Europe, China, USA… and the most impressive numbers are:
1. 21 bottles of Bordeaux wine are sold per second in the world
2. 630 millions of bottles are sold for about 3,65 billion euros per year. How about that ?
Château Margaux, the historic first growth Bordeaux property, was one of my favorite visits (and wine!), from their cellar to their wines. With 80 hectares of red in Margaux appellation and 12 hectares of whites in Bordeaux appellation, the Chateau Margaux exists since 1815, and was classified historical monument in 1947. Most of their red wines are sold “En Primeur”, with a majority sold in France, USA, Great Britain and Japan. 100% of their vineyards are Biodynamic, but are not certified (in case a decease will force them to go back to conventional wine making process). We had the opportunity to taste the Pavillon Rouge du Chateau Margaux 2009 - an amazing vintage with an exceptional tannic power and concentrated tannins, which gives softness and delicacy - as well as the Grand Vin de Chateau Margaux 2004, a great classic vintage, perfectly balanced, precise and fresh that can only be found in great Margaux.
Château Grand Puy Lacoste
Château Grand Puy Lacoste is known as one of the oldest properties of Medoc. They have 90 hectares since 1965, with a total of 58 hectares planted with vines all together around the Chateau. The domain stayed in the hands of the same family from the 16th century until 1920, then bought by the Borie Family in 1978 where François-Xavier and his daughter Emeline works together, hand in hand, to continue creating some of Bordeaux's magical potion.
The name Montrose comes from the marines, when long time ago, they used to see the hill with a rose heather on top. The Chateau Montrose is nowadays a 95 hectares property with 89 hectares of production in Saint Estephe with 4 different types of grapes: 60% of Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot, 8% Cabernet Franc and 2% Petit Verdot. They have 45% of their vineyards in biodynamic non-certified and plan to be fully biodynamic by 2020. We could try 2 of their wines: Château Montrose Millesime 2011: With its black current nose, thanks to the strong presence of Cabernet Franc, this wine has precise tannins and a nice finish on red fruits, as well as La dame de Montrose Millesime 2011: A nice cherry red robe, a concentrated nose, slightly sweet and woody with red fruits and raspberry aromas. This wine is powerful and combines flexibility, a nice length in mouth, and tannins less marked on the end of the tasting. A well balanced and easy to drink second wine !
Baron Philippe de Rothschild SA - Mouton Cadet
Saint Laurent Médoc
We had the chance to visit the heart, the fabric, the industry, or however you want to call it, of Mouton Cadet. The history of Mouton Cadet goes back to 1930. At first, it was called Chateau Mouton Cadet, but at the time it was decided to produce a wine for a wider public, Mouton Cadet has lost his Chateau tittle. In 1930, this wine was only produced and sold to Parisian restaurants. It was a Bordeaux blend until Baron Philippe passed away in 1988. Baroness Philippine took in charge the domaine since his death and decided to change the style of the wines, as well as the label, to adapt the product to the consumers. Nowadays, Mouton Cadet is an international brand, producing 12 million bottles, a 100% parcel selection, 453 partners, 7 oenologists, a new packaging, and 3 plateforms of international communication (Cannes for the festival, the Ryder Cup and the America’s Cup).
Domaine de Chevalier
The Domaine de Chevalier is a family domaine, and a Grand Cru Classé de Graves on 60 hectares of vines in Pessac-Leognan. They produce 90% of red wines and 10% of white wines. In order to preserve the authenticity of the terroir, and respect the environment, the terroir is in Biodynamic since a long time. “Creating wines is a human, artistic and natural job, with a lot of complexity linked to the environment, that we need to protect! Only a great terroir can produce a great wine.”
Being the only Premier Cru Classe Supérieur from the Sauternes classification of 1855, it’s been centuries that Château d’Yquem is keeping its legendary status. Under the family Sauvage, and then Lur Saluces, it kept progressing and propel its wines to the top sweet wines of the world. Today, Château d’Yquem is a 104 hectares property of the LVMH group, and is under the eye of the talented Pierre Lurton. They have 2 grapes varieties: the Sémillon, the dominant, for its richness and its volume and the Sauvignon, for its finesse and aromas. The tasting of this wine is a moment of rare emotion. 2015 vintage is a wine of great acidity and sugar, which contributes to make this Yquem an exceptional vintage.
Château Coutet, 1er Grand Cru Classé, is the best Sauternes of Barsac! Wines of Barsac can wear the appellation Sauternes, or Barsac, but the terroir is totally different from one to another. They grow Semillon (which is a better grape to get noble rottenness in order to create a sweet wine), Sauvignon Blanc and Muscadelle. Their vines’s roots extract elements from a limestone and clay-based soil, and it’s for this particular reason that the wine has been named Coutet, because of the Gascon's word for knife, to remind the fresh, lively and crisp palate that is the estate's style.
My biggest regret is that I had to go back to Paris on the last day of visits, because of which I missed the visit to Château Cheval Blanc, one of my favorite Bordeaux wines... I will have to go back to Bordeaux soon then I guess, all will visit some more domaines!