Before the summer, I received three samples of Bordeaux wines from Michael Wangbickler of Balzac Communications as part of a new marketing campaign called Planet Bordeaux. The goal of Planet Bordeaux is to promote wines from the Bordeaux and Bordeaux Supérieur appellations, incite wine amateurs to look beyond the expensive classified growth and top rated wines and help them discover well-crafted wines at very reasonable prices.
The Bordeaux AOC is the most generic and the largest category within the Bordeaux region. It is used for red, white, and rosé wines produced outside the more specific appellations. Wines under that appellation vary greatly in style, price and quality but the best can be smooth, easy to drink, and affordable.
The Bordeaux Supérieur AOC covers the same geographic area as the Bordeaux AOC but has stricter production norms. The wines must be aged for at least twelve months before they can be sold. So it is usually used for more ambitious wines with a better aging potential, sourced from older vines in selected vineyards.
The first sample was the 2009 Château Ballan Larquette Rosé. Château Ballan Larquette is a 35 hectare property (86 acres) owned by the Chaigne family. It is located in the Entre-Deux-Mers region between the Garonne and the Dordogne rivers. The vines are on average 18 years old. The blend is mostly Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon with a small amount of Cabernet Franc. The Rosé is made by partial saignee (or bleeding off the juice) after a 24 hours contact with the skins to obtain a light cherry color. The wine had a fresh nose of red berries and citrus with some good acidity on the palate and notes of of sour cherry and mineral on the finish. Take the wine along on your next picnic or try it with Grilled Rosemary Lamb Chops.
The next wine was the 2008 Château Fontblanche. Château Fontblanche is owned by Elisabeth & Armand Schuster de Ballwil of Château Montlau. It is located between the hills and the banks of the Dordogne river. The wine is a blend of mostly Merlot with some Cabernet Franc and a dash of Malbec. It showed a medium ruby color and a mellow nose of fresh plum. On the palate, it was easy going with a dry and clean aftertaste. Try it with Pork Tenderloin and Grilled Vegetable Salad
The last sample was the 2007 Château de Bel La Capitane. After spending 10 years as a négociant in the wine business, Olivier Cazenave and his wife Anne bought the property in 2003, realising their dream of making their own wine from their own vines. Olivier's philosophy is to make wines that are immediately pleasurable, without being diluted or overextracted, and as such, works long hours in the vineyard. The Château is located along the bank of the Dordogne across the river from Saint-Emilion. It has 12 acres in production, mostly old vines of Merlot and some Cabernet Franc. The cuvée La Capitane is a Bordeaux Supérieur made from 100% Merlot vines averaging 30 years old. The wine has matured in 100% new American oak for 6 months. It had a deep garnet color and attractive notes of vanilla and fresh cherries on the nose. On the palate, it had a round, juicy mouthfeel with dried herbs and earthy tones on the finish. Try it with Grilled Pork Sausages with Spiced Figs.
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