Friday, 10 September 2010

Day 37 – To Médoc

A new day dawned... dull and wet, but it brightened up quickly when presented with the sumptuous breakfast! The 3 of us (myself, Jennifer and Adrien) packed up our things, loaded our respective cars and headed north, about 15km to another tasting at Château des Tourtes (we had actually enjoyed a bottle of their red at dinner the night before, which was to form part of the morning’s tasting).

Another family business, started by the father and now run by his 2 daughters and their husbands – it was one of the daughters who showed us around before taking us to the tasting room.
Jen with oak barrels for aging white wine
They also own a vineyard elsewhere, this time on the other side of the estuary in Haut-Médoc:

1. AOC Blaye Côtes de Bordeaux - Château des Tourtes 2009 (white) – Mainly Sauvignon Blanc with just a little Sémillon. I should mention here that the name of the appellation is undergoing a change for marketing purposes: “Blaye Côtes de Bordeaux” is the new name for “Premières Côtes de Blaye” – the belief is that having ‘Bordeaux’ in the name will encourage the average man in the street to buy the wine... I hope it works, because these wines are very much underestimated. Anyway, back to this white which on the nose was elderflower/elderberry and surprisingly for a French Sauvignon Blanc, a little gooseberry. To taste, it was very citrusy, fresh grapefruit.

2. AOC Blaye Côtes de Bordeaux - Château des Tourtes 2009 “Cuvée Prestige” (white) – The same blend, but this time aged in oak, adding vanilla aromas to a more citrus nose and to taste, again citrus, but with hints of vanilla and sweet apple.

3. AOC Bordeaux Rosé - Château des Tourtes 2009 – 50/50 Merlot/Cabernet Sauvignon – on the nose, red cherries and raspberries and to taste cherries and redcurrants.

4. AOC Premières Côtes de Blaye - Château des Tourtes 2007 (red) – A 70/30 Merlot/Cabernet Sauvignon which gave aromas of cherry jam and sweet spice and to taste cherries, redcurrants and tannins.

5. AOC Premières Côtes de Blaye - Château des Tourtes 2006 “Cuvée Prestige” (red) – A 70/30 Merlot/Cabernet Sauvignon, this time oak aged for 12 months, giving vanilla notes to the cherry and deep plum aromas. To taste, the oaking was evident over the deep plum flavours, as well as giving the wine much greater tannins.

6. AOC Blaye “L’Atribut des Tourtes” (Grand Vin de Bordeaux) (red) – This wine is made from lower yield vines, giving better quality in this 60/40 Merlot/Cabernet Sauvignon blend. The wine is also aged in new oak for 18 months adding vanilla aromas to the cherry nose and to the fruity cherry flavours. The tannins are integrated perfectly into this beautifully round wine. Still a wee bit young, but only 2 years and it will be wow!

7. AOC Haut-Médoc – Château Haut-Beyzac “Cuvée Opeyrah” 2004 – A 12 month oak aged 70/30 Merlot/Cabernet Sauvignon blend which on the nose is damson jam, sweet spice and even a little coffee, and to taste, ripe plums, but then again with notes of sweet spice and coffee.

8. AOC Haut-Médoc – Le Grand Vin du Château Haut-Beyzac 2004 – Aged in new oak for 18months, this 55/35/10 Cabernet Sauvignon/Merlot/Petit Verdot blend had a nose of damson jam and sweet spice with a hint of violets. To taste, blackberries and blackcurrants, sweet spice and tannins.
Adrien and Jennifer in full tasting mode!
A slightly different feel about this vineyard to last night’s – more relaxed, but still producing lovely wines.

Back to the cars and I parted company with Jennifer and Adrien as they headed to the south of Bordeaux and to the coast for a couple of days of sun.... I hope they got them!!

A little later than planned, I started on the long way round to Médoc – it wasn’t too bad a drive except for the absolutely torrential rain – the wipers were on overdrive!

I started on my way up the peninsula and stopped at the “Winery” a new concept in wine... their blurb, not mine. I had hoped to go in to do some tasting, but decided to have a bite to eat as the cold, rainy weather had made me really hungry – another disaster from the vegetarian perspective – I discovered a chunk of beef and a chunk of pork in my completely vegetable plate, to which I received “the shrug” and a “it can happen” – I just didn’t have the energy to argue. I tasted one wine there, a Margaux, before I left:

AOC Margaux – Château d’Arsac 2007 – I didn’t get the blend, but from the nose and flavours, I would say Cabernet Sauvignon was the dominant grape. On the nose, red/black fruits – blackberry and a hint of chocolate and to taste blackberry, blackcurrant, a little spice, excellent tannins giving a round fruity wine.

For the rest of the afternoon, I seemed to be out of step with the universe... I kept just missing tastings, etc, so while I enjoyed a drive through the vineyards, I didn’t do any further tasting and made my way to my stop for the night, Château Foulon... And then the universe jumped back in time with me, because it was gorgeous... The house is very old fashioned, but beautifully so... and the setting was magnificent... I went for a walk in the evening and well, I’ll let the pictures speak for themselves...

The peacocks just loved wandering up and squawking at me... Ooh and a new word - the french for peacock is "paon".

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