Monthly Archives: April 2010

M for Malleret

2010 is a big year for Château Malleret. The Haut Medoc property is now taking over the direct sales of their wines after years of exclusivity, launching a new label, a new wine and developing wine tourism with a new wine boutique and hospitality offer.
M Margaux is a tiny production from just 1ha that Château Malleret owns in the village of Arsac, part of the the Margaux appellation. Made from100% Merlot the 7 000 bottles of the 2007 vintage are now available for sale.

You can pick one up at the new boutique along with the delicious chocolates
designed by a local chocolatier to compliment the wine.

Is Bordeaux the perfect food wine?

Well Britian is about to find out. The CIVB (The Bordeaux Wine Council) have launched a £1million promotional and publicity campaign to persuade the British to drink like the French – with food !
The French just don’t drink wine without food or more importantly eat without wine – except perhaps breakfast.
Bordeaux with over 50 appellations – and almost 8 500 wine producing properties – has a diversity of wines to match with just about every food. Britian is a great market to run this campaign as it offer such a rich diversity of food on offer and, judging by the magazines and TV programmes on offer, a population of foodies.
Red wine with fish anyone?

Wine and food and more wine in the Côtes de Castillon.

Who says country villages are dying? Not in the Côtes de Castillon, sorry that’s Castillon, Côtes de Bordeaux now.
Anne-Marie Galineau will soon be celebrating the 1st anniversary of Le Comptoir de Saint Genes
A mini supermarket, selling locally baked bread and regional fresh food, a tobacconist, newstand and bar with table football and pool, wine shop and a restaurant. There is a feminine feel, as the young chef is also a woman : Lucie Bounaudet and there is a definite favouritism for wines made by women. The wine selection is heavily biased towards the Côtes de Castillon and diners can choose bottles from the cases in store – which is also the restaurant – to accompany their lunch or dinner with only a €6 supplement on the retail price.
Each wine has with an explanatory note, not just about the wine but also the winemakers – with pictures so you can really get to know your vigneron and even spot them in the restaurant.
Anne-Marie also organises regular themed evenings from football to winemaker dinners – the next one on 7th May will be organic and biodynamic wine makers – book now !

So you didn’t make it over to Bordeaux last week to taste the 2009 primeurs?

If you heard all the buzz but weren’t one of lucky few (well 6000!) it’s not too late. UK wine tour specialists Arblaster & Clarke are organising a special primeur week including visits to the top vineyards to taste not only the 2009s but also older vintages ready for drinking. I will be hosting the week so if you care to join us in the Medoc sign up for the 21st-25th June tour while there are still places left. See you there?

Your home from home for the week

A busy weekend in Bordeaux.

The left and the right bank of the Gironde estuary are busy places this weekend (10/11th April).
The UNESCO fortified Citadelle on the banks of the Gironde is the site of 16th ‘Printemps de Blaye’ where for only €4 over 80 Châteaux from the Côtes de Bordeaux Blaye appellation are offering tastings along with cooking demonstrations of local specialities such as the Salt Marsh lamb and white Asparagus from 10 am ‘til 8pm each day.

You can then catch the ‘Bac’ car ferry across the Gironde to the left bank for the Medoc ‘Open Doors weekend’ when over 50 château from all 8 appellations open their doors for tastings, lunches, art exhibitions and even cycle and horse back tours of the region.

The 3 Ms of Bordeaux

What can they be? Mouton, Margaux…………

Not at all it’s Montaigne, Montesquieu and Mauriac, in chronological order – 2 of France’s most famous philosophers and one of its famous novelists;
It’s hard to believe with the buzz of 2009 but there is more to Bordeaux than the wine.

English author Sarah Bakewell has recently published ‘How to Live’ A Life of Montaigne in one question and twenty attemps at an answer’. It’s a fabulous and humorous introduction to French philosophy and to 15th century Bordeaux. Definitely not a light read but worth it!

New branding at Haut Brion

The smallest of the first growths of Bordeaux, Château Haut Brion has always been a familiar name. Their second wine however is less well known, could it be because the name Château Bahans Haut Brion is so much more difficult to pronounce?
This year is the 75th anniversary of the purchase of the property by the American Clarence Dillon family – the perfect occasion to change the name to Le Clarence de Haut Brion. The recently released 2007 is the first vintage under the new name and new packaging. Not only a new label but also bottled in the unique Haut Brion shaped bottle which has been used at the property since the 1950s

Le Clarence de Haut Brion – so much easier to get an Anglo-Saxon or Asian tongue around

Tannins on my T-shirt

We solved the problem of tannins on the teeth – see post on February 2nd ‘Pearly whites’ but one swirl or slurp too many and whoops that lovely 2009 with the indelible tannins is all over the T-shirt – what to do?
First answer – don’t wear white, obvious perhaps but did you see how many tasters had white shirts on this week?
Second answer – keep a spare shirt in the car
If all else fails the third, and perhaps more useful answer, use one of those ‘wet wipes’ they give you in the aeroplane – just about the only thing they do give you these days.
Try it first before attacking that big stain right in the front, but it acts as pretty good dry cleaning fluid in an emergency.

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