Tag Archives: Château de Sours

Romance with wine

We all know a little wine can help oil the wheels of romance – so if you need a few tips or ideas for next week – try these.

Planning a Romantic weekend? I’ve mentioned Bordeaux as a destination enough times for you to get the message but here are a few special events lined up for the big day.  The Grand Hotel has special menus in both restaurants and a getaway offer including a welcome cocktail and use of the Nuxe spa.

Chateau Troplong Mondot,  the beautiful First growth of Saint Emilion perched high above the village is offering a special 4 course Valentines menu on the 14th –I suggest you book early to try and spend the night in one of their beautiful rooms either in the guest suites or cottage in the vines.

An Invitation from Troplong Mondot

Further east at Le Chateau des Vigiers, the beautiful golf and country club amongst the vineyards and orchards of Bergerac, is offering two different Saint Valentine’s packages, each of which include a welcome bottle of champagne and access to the spa. Should you be a little behind with your planning you have up until June to celebrate.

A romantic room at Le chateau des Vigiers

Les Sources de Caudalie is a romantic location at the best of times but for the Saint Valentine’s they are offering packages including lunch and diner at both of their 2 restaurants but don’t forget to book into the Spa too. Just in time for the Saint Valentines their land mark suite L’Isle aux Oiseaux has been revamped by the Parisian designer Maxime Simoëns. This could be the perfect time to inaugurate it

The Isle aux Oiseaux suite

In London and you can’t travel to Bordeaux on the 14th? Roux at Parliament Square   is offering a special Five Romantic Cities menu without leaving London. Taking you from Venetian Risotto to Viennese Sache Torte via London Fish and Chips, Parisian Chateaubriand and New York  Waldorf salad all accompanied by an equally exotic wine selection. Do you believe the best way to your loved one’s heart is via their stomach, nip over to Leith’s for the day and prepare a 3 course Valentines menu for two and take it home to serve to your loved one along with the complimentary bottle of Prosecco.

Of course it has to be bubbly for Valentines Day and preferable, pink but if the budget doesn’t run to champagne you can try a few alternatives from around the globe

From Bordeaux, of course, try Château de Sours sparkling rosé in the packaging designed using the artwork of the late John Hoyland from owner Martin Krajewski’s personal collection.

Reserve de Sours in the Hoyland packaging.

Or go further afield to Australia if you want something a little more light hearted, and lighter on alcohol coming in at only 4.5% alcohol, try Wirra Wirra’s Mrs Wigley Sparkling Moscato,

Mrs Wigley’s sparkling rosé

You could also try your luck at winning some bubbly Decanter Magazine are running a competition with Champagne Gosset to win one of a Champagne gift set and have it delivered in time for Valentine’s Day. Each set contains a 75cl bottle of Champagne Gosset Grand Rosé NV, a pair of engraved champagne flutes and a special Gosset champagne stopper, best of luck ??!

Even better if you are feeling really lucky join in Nyetimber’s Facebook competition to win a romantic dinner for two prepared by 2 star Michelin chef Tom Kerridge at the Hand and Flowers accompanied by a bottle of Nyetimber Rosé 2008 – what else ?






Are Bordeaux whites one of the wine world’s best keep secrets?

Image CIVB

Bordeaux is red, right? It’s Cabernet isn’t it? It’s so much fun to surprise visitors to Bordeaux with wines they are not expecting. I do not wish to deflect from the glory from some of the great Cabernet-driven wines of the Left Bank but there is often a preconception amongst visitors that Bordeaux is all about Cabernet.
Check out the percentages of current red plantings and you’ll see the error. 63% of Bordeaux planting is currently under Merlot and only 25% under Cabernet Sauvignon. 11% is Cabernet Franc and the remaining 1%, for those if you doing the maths, is Malbec, Petit Verdot and Carmenère.
Given that, as I type, the first white grapes are now making their way into the cellars this is a great time to look at the white wine production. It’s relatively small, only 11% of Bordeaux vineyard land is planted to white grapes. The dry white wine production, coming in at around 70 million bottles accounts for the lion’s share of this (8% compared to 3% for sweet wines of total Bordeaux vineyards).
This is a dramatic change – only 60 years ago white grapes represented half of Bordeaux planting. So why the change? White grapes were originally planted in the 17th century to supply the Dutch, much of which was destined for distillation. The big production area was the Entre-Deux-Mers, which is still uniquely a dry white wine appellation, despite the fact that the area is now the powerhouse for red Bordeaux and Bordeaux Superieur production.
In 1956, Bordeaux was hit by a severe frost and this area particularly suffered, obliging farmers to uproot vines destroyed by the cold. Responding to the demand for Bordeaux reds (yes the Bordelais do listen to market forces), farmers replanted with red varietals. This also explains the dominance of Merlot mentioned earlier; the soils of the Entre deux Mers region have a limestone subsoil with varying depths of clay and some patches of gravel but it is really clay that dominates the ‘terroir’ making the planting of Cabernet Sauvignon a risky business if you want your red grapes to ripen – which is the objective after all. With the memory of the frosts, there was a push in the 70’s to plant later-budding Cabernet on these soils as they are more frost-resistant, but this was soon abandoned in favour of the Merlot to meet the demand for the more easy-drinking fruit driven wines which it produces on these soils.
Dry whites may be in a minority in Bordeaux but the incredible rise in the quality of these wines astounds newcomers. As for the reds, most Bordeaux whites are blends. The majority of planting is Semillon; 53% against 38% for Sauvignon Blanc and 6% of Muscadelle and again, for those of you with the calculator handy, 3% of a few lesser-known varietals. It was in the 1990’s that Professor Denis Dubordieu and his team at the Bordeaux Faculty of Oenology first identified the molecular structures that give the characteristic citrus and vegetal aromas responsible for the aromatic complexity of Sauvignon Blanc. Once identified, it was then a matter of experimentation to find out how to increase, enhance and preserve these precious molecules, be it in the field, in the cellar or in the bottle.
It’s easy to recognise the influence this research has had by tasting many of the dry whites of Bordeaux from the Entre-Deux-Mers to the Graves and Pessac-Léognan. This is one of the examples of how research and development at the faculty is quickly shared throughout the Bordeaux wine making community by the actions of the wine consultants, of which Denis Debourdieu is one, as well as the training programmes initiated by the CIVB. The Bordeaux Wine Council co sponsors much of the R & D in Bordeaux to the tune of 1.3 million Euros on both the agricultural and wine making side.
Dry whites are popping up all over. Outside of the classic appellations of Bordeaux Blanc, Entre deux Mers, Graves and Pessac-Léognan, don’t forget the Côtes appellations and even in the sacrosanct land of red – the Medoc. Along side the famous Pavillon Blanc and Aile d’Argent, look out for Les Arums de Lagrange and Caillou Blanc amongst others. These dry white wines are delightful young and those that have enjoyed barrel fermentation and battonage offer lovely ageing potential and, in the main, represent wonderful value for money. More and more Bordeaux Blanc are available in screw caps, such as Château de Sours and Chateau Bauduc from the Entre-Deux-Mers, which seems to be the perfect closure for these wines that are best served young, but also some of the more venerable whites from the Pessac Léognan stable of André Lurton , Château La Louvière and Château Couhins-Lurton, are available in screw cap along side his Château Bonnet.

Perfect summer drinking while the fine weather lasts.

New cellars at Château de Sours

Chateau de Sours is putting the finishing touches to the dramatic renovation of their new wine making facility. The 250 year old cellars have been brought into the 21st century.

The particularity of the new cellars is that the 250 oak barrels are cooled with air from the limestone caves situated directly underneath the cellars.

These caves, remarkably similar to the ones under neighbouring Saint Emilion, show the quality of the terroir in this corner of the Entre Deux Mers, ideally suited to these Merlot dominant wines. The cellars are also used for the riddling and aging of the Chateau de Sours Sparkling Rose (méthode traditionnelle).

The renovations will be finished just in time for Vinexpo when owner Martin Krajewski will once again be extending his legendary hospitality (and wine cellar) to his clients, journalists and other friends.

The current production of 60 000 cases will increase up to 75 000 following the new plantings, bringing the current 85ha up to a total of 100ha, hence the need for an efficient new cellar.

This is quite a change in size (the property was only 40 ha when Martin took over in 2004).

It’s not just the new cellars and the size of the estate that has changed under the new management but also the product range. In addition to the 300 000 bottles of the famous Chateau de Sours rose the property now produces 200 000 bottles of Chateau red, 50 000 white and 100 000 of sparkling rose -the latest addition to the range.

If you can get your hands of some of the limited edition La Source wines, made from older parcels, available in red, white or the surprising barrel-aged rose, you’ll be one of the lucky few!

The entrance to the new production facility

And we’re off!

The lovely misty morning here remind us that it’s that time of year again – just in case you has forgotten! Mist as of mid to late August is of course just what is needed in the south west of Bordeaux for the sweet white wines but it is also a good sign for the red. This means cooler nights helping to preserve the aromatic complexity of the red and white and phenolic complexity in the red berries.

White grape harvesting has started across Bordeaux. Château Haut Brion and La Mission Haut Brion are always some of the first to start, as being surrounded by Bordeaux suburbs they have a warmer urban microclimate.
Other properties started last week. Château d’Yquem started the first selection of Sauvignon Blanc for Y d’Yquem and nearer to me here in the Entre Deux Mers Château de Sours started handpicking their young Sauvignon plantations on the 1st September.
Despite a damp June, the growing season has been very dry with rainfall about 20% below an average year, however temperatures and sunshine have been above average. There is an excess of water stress for younger plants that do not have a well-developed root system yet. It’s all about terroir again : soils with cooler limestone subsoils such as Saint Emilion, Fronsac and Cotes will experience less hydric stress than clay, sandy or gravel soils. However lighter soils with a good subsoil, such as in the Medoc, have vines with deep roots which will enable them to find water from the subsoils even dry conditions.

May and June also had a lot of temperature variation leading to some uneven fruit development – so that will mean eagle eyed sorting (or optical sorting for those with the budgets).

The dry conditions also have another advantage : lovely ripe berries – very little mildew, so no need for much spraying and the grapes should be coming in beautifully healthy.

A little light rain would not go amiss for the reds in particular – it’s forecast for Tuesday – fingers crossed.

The Joy of Primeur

One of the many advantages of living in Bordeaux – along with the wonderful lifestyle, food, wine, weather (ok not this week), etc. is that one is not obliged to scream around tasting every 09 primeur presented in the space of 4 days– we, and they, will still be here when the rush has gone home.
Less palate fatigue so able and willing to enjoy some of the wonderful wines that the properties so generously offer to weary tasters.
There were many highlights this week including another wonderful partnership between more women in wine : Christine Pariente at Troplong Mondot invited Laure de Lambert of Sigalas Rabaud to join her in Saint Emilion offering some lovely verticals with lunch; Mondot 07, 06 and 02 ,Troplong Mondot 07, 04 and 98 and Sigalas Rabaud 07 and 95 one for the foie gras one for desert!

Far from the madding crowd a great selection at the Wine Entre Femmes evening : Angelus ’95, Lynch Bages ’02, Croizet Bages ’07, Clerc Milon 2000 and Clos Fourtet 2000 in Magnum, Climens ’04 Suduiraut 98 and Guiraud ’06.
And at Château de Sours the legendary hospitality of Martin Krajewski offered what seemed like the entire english and scandnavian wine trade as well as his la Source and Clos Cantenac, Leoville Barton 86, La Conseillante 82, Mouton 66, Climens and Guiraud 98.

the 09s will just have to wait a little longer

A new wine – a new website

Martin Krajewski’s passion for wine knows no bounds, after renovating and rebranding , the reference rose in Bordeaux, he has invested in Saint Emilion.
Along with his New Zealand partner Marcus Le Grice they have purchased the tiny Clos Cantenac Grand Cru Saint Emilion and produced their first harvest in 2007. To coincide with this first vintage reaching the shelves they have just launched their web site – learn more by logging onto : www.closcantenac.fr

Love the flying pig !

Discover Bordeaux this summer – lesser known Bordeaux !

Stay in the south of the left bank in the heart of the sweet white wine area. Château d’Arche is a lovely Château hotel and a working vineyard on a hillside next to Yquem. Unsure of which foods to serve with sweet white they will organize a cooking class or food and wine dinner for you and all will be revealed. Contact Nicole Hampton: n.hampson@chateaudarche-sauternes.com

Pessac Leognan
Château Smith Haut Lafitte is the ultimate wine resort. The Château opens for visits and has a fabulous hotel with 2 excellent restaurants in the grounds. It is also home to ‘Les Sources de Caudalie’ the original wine spa. Drink the wine and bath in it!
Contact the owner, Florence Cathiard: f.cathiard@smith-haut-lafitte.com

Cotes Region
Blaye – Chateau La Rose Bellevue, 5 Les Mourriers, 33820 Saint-Palais. Secret garden offering food and wine matching and picnics and in 2008 there were tastings on a boat. 2009 winner of Best of Wine Tourism Awards, service.commercial@chateau-larosebellevue.com www.greatwinecapitals.com

Entre Deux Mers.

Cycle through the vines on the old railroad track that leads from almost down town Bordeaux out into the lovely countryside of this region past Abbeys and Châteaux. Rent a bicycle from Creon http://creonstationvelos.free.fr especially on a Wednesday when the arcaded centre of this old medieval town is taken over by a farmers market where you can stock up for a picnic along the way. Bicycles as of € 15 a day.

Stay in one of the guest apartments at Château de Sours a beautiful working vineyard
Contact Martin Krajewski martin@chateaudesours.com

How to get around
You don’t fancy driving so you can enjoy the tastings – a wise move

See what the Bordeaux tourist office has to offer as arranged wine tours for the day leaving from down town to visit different parts of the region and the vineyards :
www.bordeaux-tourisme.com contact : otb@bordeauxtourisme.com