Chateau Callac Graves Blanc 2011- Graves, Bordeaux $15.99
“One of the oldest winemaking properties in Graves, it was purchased by Phillippe Riviere some years ago to restore the glory to the property. The white grapes are 50% Semillon and 50% Sauvignon on 30-year-old vines and are grown in a gravel soil over a clay-gravel subsoil. It is this porous gravely soil that gives the Graves whites the lovely citrus character. Aged in oak barrel for 11 months, this elegant white is both aromatic and fruity with complexity from the subtle oak influence, and can be drunk young when it still has all its freshness and sinew, or after several years in the bottle. Perfect as an aperitif, with seafood, poultry or light pasta dishes with cream or shellfish.”
“Graves (from French: ‘gravelly land’) is an important subregion of the Bordeaux wine region. Graves is situated on the left bank of the Garonne river, in the upstream part of the region, southeast of the city Bordeaux and stretch over 50 kilometres (31 mi). Graves is the only Bordeaux subregion which is famed for all three of Bordeaux’ three main wine types—reds, dry whites and sweet wines—although red wines dominate the total production. Graves AOC is also the name of one Appellation d’origine contrôlée (AOC) which covers most, but not all of the Graves subregion.”
La Grande Dame de Chateau Lavagnac 2010- Gironde, Bordeaux Superieur $17.99
“This is the first release of The Grande Dame of Château Lavagnac ever. Owner Philippe Riviere had noticed in the past that certain areas of the vineyard were more ripe than others, this is the first time he has separated those grapes from the rest of the vineyard to make a special cuvée, and what a spectacular wine it is.
Situated in the commune of Sainte Terre about 10 miles southeast of the center of Saint Émilion, the vineyards of Château de Lavagnac are planted in a clay and sand soil with gravel subsoil, typical of the area near the river and the Côtes de Castillon. In the 16th century, the picturesque château was a fort surrounded by a moat. Until quite recently you had to go over a drawbridge to enter the château.
At the vineyard they practice leaf pulling to give the grapes more sun during the last two months of ripening. Grape varieties are planted to the ratio of Merlot 70%, Cabernet Sauvignon 25%, and Cabernet Franc 5%. This bottling, however, is 90% Merlot and 10% Cabernet Franc. After traditional vinification in thermo-regulated vats for over 20 days, this wine is aged 1 year in new oak barrels and then bottle-conditioned for 9 months before release.
This wine has a lovely intense purple color, with red and black fruits on the nose and palate. Rich with oak and fruit, with ample tannins, it is round and velvety, showing excellent balance, with an incredibly long finish. Although it drinks well now when allowed to breathe a little, this wine will shine after a few years in the bottle and could keep upwards of 10 years.”
Chateau Fort-Lignac Haut-Medoc 2010- Cussac-Fort-Medoc, Bordeaux $17.99
“The district Cussac-Fort-Medoc has 598 hectares under vines and lies between Moulis and St. Julien and has two hectares that have the right to the ‘Moulis’ appellation, and this production appears under the commune of Moulis. Nearly 42 acres have the right to the St. Julien appellation and their production shows under the commune of Saint-Julien-Beychevelle. The vineyards are typically planted 50%-70% Cabernet Sauvingon, 30-50% Merlot, 10% Cabernet Franc/Petit Verdot.
Château Fort-Lignac covers 4.4 hectares in the district of Cussac-Fort-Médoc and was previously owned by Annie Fort and Henri Pradère, now owned by to M. J.E. Borie. The Château is not far from the well-known estates Châteaux Moulin Rouge, Lanessan, and Bel Air.
Deep garnet all the way to the edge of the glass, the wine has fairly strong aromas of spicy oak, cassis, black plum, and granite. On the palate, ripe, round red and black fruit overpowers the oak and spice, which linger as the fruit dissipates. On the finish, the supple yet substantial tannins intermingle with the fruit and spice, to give a lingering, complex finish that ends clean and dry.”
Chateau Grand Francais Bordeaux Superieur 2009- Bordeaux Superieur (near St. Emilion) $18.99
“The name Grand Francais dates back to the 15th century designating a small piece of land between the valley of Isle and the Dronne. A neighbor to St Emilion, Grand Francais has long been the land of choice for noblemen and the expression of the unique micro-climate it is found in. This medieval city is now part of UNESCO Patrimony, and benefits from both the Libournais and St Emilion characteristics.
Grand Francais agricultural philosophy dates back to its first cultivation, and is therefore considered and organic wine. A land that represents 8 hectares, the average age of the vine is 40 years-old, with 5500 vines per hectare. 45% Merlot, 30% Cabernet Sauvignon and 25% Cabernet Franc, the vineyard can produce up to 35,000 bottles of wine. Hand harvested, grape are vinified separately and finished off in French Oak barrels. The wine is then stored for 6 months after bottling.
Vanilla aromas and spices, followed by an intense and sweet berry taste. Melted yet present tanning give this wine a softness and suppleness. The added advantage of being an organic and natural product is the wine will always evolve into something better and different.”
Chateau Haut-Surget Lalande de Pomerol 2011- Lalande-de-Pomerol, Bordeaux $26.99
“Rigorous selection of grapes whether in green harvest in July or during harvest in September. Indeed, during the harvest, they are sorted manually twice, thus requiring the use of two sorting tables. For its winemaking takes place in temperature-controlled tanks cement to better master temperatures.”
“70% Merlot, 15% Cabernet Sauvignon, 15% Cabernet Franc. Bright red in color with fresh oak and vanilla fragrance. Features a powerful base of linzer torte [Austrian torte/pastry] and black licorice married to fresh violet, plum and black cherry notes. Smoky, toasty notes give this red a modern feel, with its sweet black fruit almost exotic flavors and firm tannins. It’s quite round, yet fresh and nicely focused, with a spicy finish. Drink now through 2018.”
“Lalande-de-Pomerol is an Appellation d’Origine Contrôlée (AOC) for red wine situated in the Bordeaux wine region. The appellation is located on the right bank of the Garonne and Dordogne rivers, just north of the appellation of Pomerol, across the meandering Barbanne stream. The two main villages of the appellation are Lalande-de-Pomerol and Néac.”
Chateau Villefranche Sauternes 2010- Sauternes, Graves, Bordeaux $19.99 375ml
“Made from 85% Semillon, 10% Sauvignon Blanc and 5% Muscadelle, these grapes are grown on a sandy clay soil, near the river Ciron. All of the sweet wines of Bordeaux are centered around this tributary of the Garonne, because it creates a special microclimate. Leafy trees shade the cold water of this tiny river and the misty autumn mornings are favorable for the production of noble rot. This grows on the grape skins at perfect maturity and concentrates the grape sugars without making the skins burst, resulting in a grape must at pressing that is very concentrated.
Chateau Villefranche is golden in color (which deepens with age), with a perfumed and complex nose of vanilla, apricots, peaches and preserved white fruits. Highly concentrated with great acidity and balance, this wine may be consumed young, or left to age in a cool cellar and increase in complexity for a decade or so. Drink this with foie gras, starters of all types, white meats, and cheeses, especially Roquefort! Also excellent as an aperitif with walnuts.”
“Sauternes is a French sweet wine from the Sauternais region of the Graves section in Bordeaux. Sauternes is made from Sémillon, Sauvignon blanc, and Muscadelle grapes that have been affected by Botrytis cinerea, also known as noble rot. This causes the grapes to become partially raisined, resulting in concentrated and distinctively flavored wines. Due to its climate, Sauternes is one of the few wine regionswhere infection with noble rot is a frequent occurrence. Even so, production is a hit-or-miss proposition, with widely varying harvests from vintage to vintage. Wines from Sauternes, especially the Premier Cru Supérieur estate Château d’Yquem, can be very expensive, due largely to the very high cost of production.”