Monthly Archives: August 2010

Château Pavillon Bel-Air

Pomerol is one of my favourite Bordeaux appellations; small but perfectly formed. The proximity of its 150 properties spread over just 800 ha make it feel, dare I say, almost Burgundian.
However just to the North of the Barbanne river is the less well-known Lalande de Pomerol appellation. Larger than Pomerol at 1100ha and 200 properties, it is perhaps not as homogenous in style but there are many hidden treasures to be found. I discovered another one this week. Visiting Château Beauregard in Pomerol we were introduced to their property in Lalande de Pomerol : Château Bel-Air.

Managed by the Beauregard team since 2003, the property is organic although, as is often the case, this is not mentioned on the label.
The gravel and clay soil is planted in the classic right bank blend 70% Merlot and 30% Cabernet Franc. Two plots adding up to about 1ha of the 40 year old vines on the gravel have been selected for their cuvee ‘Le Chapelain’. With the malo and ageing in new oak barrels these selected parcels create a delicious wine, very much in a Pomerol style and like a lot of this appellation, at excellent value.

Cabernet Franc ripening in the August sun at Château Beauregard this week

Bellevue – true to it’s name.

Just above the vineyard of Angelus is the tiny Château Bellevue 6.5 ha of southwest, south and southeast facing slopes (quite rare in Saint Emilion think Ausone, Tertre Roteboeuf or Mondotte) that also explains the origin of the name as you can see here from the view looking over the vines of both Bellevue and angelus from the terrace of the property

This 17th century chartreuse sleeping beauty is on a much older site as shown here by the unique roman remains of the ditches dug into the stone that they used for planting the vines where the limestone on these limestone comes to the surface of the soil.

On a clay-limestone terroir amongst prestigious neighbours, 2 ha of which are in a parkland (another rarity in this corner of Saint Emilion), the vines are 98% Merlot with only 2% Cabernet franc. Hand picked and ‘micro fermented’ to ensure their plot character, the wines are aged in 100% new oak in the underground limestone cellars.
Now under the wing of Angelus (50% shareholders), their first vintage 2008 has just been bottled and delivered. The 20 000 bottles produced have been snapped up by the trade ‘en primeur’. The wine shows a remarkable minerality, perfectly illustrating the terroir and with a fresh and long fruit finish.

The new label of Château Bellevue, unlikely to stay in the shadow of Angelus for much longer.

Why is wine red ?

Well of course you know the answer and you probably know the answers to most of the other 99 questions in the l’Atelier du Vin’s new book.
I found it in the great shop at Château Haut Bailly. It’s a very basic but fun guide to wine and you can practise your wine French/English as between David Cobbold and Sébastien Durand-Viel its completely bilingual – careful though not always an exact translation but adapted to suit a French or anglo-saxon audience. I’m curious as why when talking about malbec Cahors is mentioned in French and Argentina in English – Cahors wines export – don’t they?
Has anyone really tried wine sediment on toast ? (see p36)

Real shakers have bols !

On your way back from hols stuck in transit with nothing to do? Let’s hope it’s at Schipol.

Dutch national liqueur producer Bols has come up with a way to keep you busy – improve your ‘mixology’ skills – that’s cocktails to you and me.
Follow the instructions to hear, touch, smell and see at the Bols cocktail bar and improve you nose as well as your shaker skills with filmed recipes.
More masterclasses on the web site

Gotta love that strapline

Snow and ice at the Bearfoot Bistro.

Canadians just can’t get enough snow and ice.
Even in the summer when the slopes of Whistler are snow free (well except for the peaks) they invent the ice. The Bearfoot Bistro offers not just fabulous food and the best wine list in the resort, but continues the wintery theme with an ice bar – so far so classic. However as their champagne glasses have no feet (bearfoot?) and the sippers can’t put them down even the normal bar has an ice track so, should you not want to down your vintage in one go you can and pose it in the clearly designed ice hols along the bar.

As if this was not enough ice for your evening try the vanilla ice cream dessert – made directly at your table from fresh cream and liquid nitrogen !

A taste of the harvest.

Fancy joining in the harvest atmosphere without the back breaking work?
Now’s your chance, Château Troplong Mondot, first growth of Saint Emilion is opening its vintage kitchen doors from 15th September until 15th October during the up coming harvest
For €70 a head you can sample a 3 course harvest lunch with 3 different wines from the property. Book in advance on +33 5 57 55 32 05 or by email : contact@chateau-troplong-mondot.com as places are limited – wouldn’t want to hinder the workers !

New planting at Château Troplong Mondot

Château Haut Bailly – more than just a winery

Château Haut Bailly has always practised an open door policy – I have already mentioned their great shop and their innovative picnics in the grounds in previous posts
They are now opening their doors a little wider welcoming guests to their new conference facilities
A new conference room adds the final touch to a offer that allows corporate guests to work in the elegant surroundings of a classified growth. Coffee in the château, work in the fully equipped conference room and lunch or dinner in the converted cellar for up to 50 in meeting format or 60 in conference– what better way inspire your team?

Down to serious business