Bordeaux Wine Release in Vancouver BC., Merlot dominant Ste Emilion, Pomerol

What an invitation! To time travel to the 1950’s, 60’s, 70’s and 80’s with these images of wine bottle labels from Bordeaux wines!

These labels and others, carefully removed from the bottles and kept over the years, are a wonderful and much appreciated gift.

The Bordeaux wine area consists of two main geographic areas on the banks of the Garonne, Dordogne and the Gironde, which is the estuary where the Dordogne and Garonne rivers meet:  left bank for Medoc and right bank for St Emilion and areas.

The world famous Bordeaux wines are a blend of predominantly Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot together with lesser amounts of Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot and Malbec.    What’s interesting about the Bordeaux area is that the percentages of the wines in the blend vary according to geography.    For example, the Medoc area wines generally feature more Cabernet Sauvignon whereas the St Emilion areas feature more Merlot.

The roles that these predominant varieties play in the wines is important in considering which type of wine to buy from personal preference and to pair with different dishes.  

Cabernet Sauvignon provides more structure to the blend, considering tannins and acidity.    It also provides dark-fruit flavours of blackcurrant and bell pepper.  

Merlot is usually juicier and adds some softness with more fruit flavours.   These two varieties complement each other and provide long term potential for ageing when made by skilled winemakers.

Given that winemakers create their own preferred ratios of Cabernet Sauvignon to Merlot depending on soil, climate, and all the aspects of terroir, it is important to always look at the back label to see the percentages of the varieties in the Bordeaux wines one is buying, because this will give an indictation of the ambiance of the wine.     In addition to this, also factoring in the geographic area within the Bordeaux area that the wine is coming from is important.

The Bordeaux Medoc and left bank wines (those typically with a higher percentage of Cabernet Sauvignon) were featured on my earlier December blog with a chart comparing the assessment of Jane Anson, Master of Wine and Decanter’s Bordeaux Correspondent with the wines available through the (British Columbia) BC Liquor Stores for the 2018 wine release available in September this year.  

As I highlighted in that earlier blog, Jane Anson wrote her En Primeur Report in the Decanter Magazine June 2019 issue, with not only an assessment of the 2018 vintage overall but she also assessed each individual château and identifies those châteaux she considered at the time to be Top Value, Producer to Watch or Potential 100 (i.e. possibility of being rated 100 points).

The chart below compares the Decanter Magazine assessment of the Bordeaux St Emilion and other right bank appellations (typically those wines with a higher percentage of Merlot) with the wines available through the BC Liquor Stores.

It’s interesting to note that 2018 was a year of high sugars and high tannins for the Bordeaux right bank wines.

The chart demonstrates where the opinions of Jane Anson MW coincide with the opinions of the BC Liquor Store Masters of Wine buyers.    Again, only the chateaux highlighted by Jane Anson as Top Value, Producer to Watch or Potential 100 points for the St Emilion right bank wines are included in the chart.  It’s a smaller list than the Medoc and Left Bank comparison list and none of Jane Anson’s Producer to Watch category made it to the BC Liquor Stores list.

For me, a second opinion from a valued source is always helpful.

 

2018 Bordeaux Right Bank

Jane Anson, MW

Decanter Magazine

June 2019, En Primeur Report for 2018

BC Liquor Stores

BC Price $C per bottle

Potential 100

 

 

 

St Emilion

Château Beausejour Duffau-Lagarrosse

Château Beausejour Duffau-Lagarrosse

97 points Wine Advocate

Drink: 2024 – 2044

$280

St Emilion

Château Cheval Blanc

Château Cheval Blanc

100 points Decanter

Drink: 2028 – 2042 Decades!

$1,800

Pomerol & Lalande de Pomerol

Vieux Château Certan Pomerol

Vieux Châteaux Certan Pomerol

99 points Wine Advocate,

Drink: 2027 – 2057

$675

Pomerol & Lalande de Pomerol

Château Trotanoy

Château Trotanoy

100 points Jeb Donnuck,

Drink: 2025 – 2065

$500

Top Value

 

 

 

St Emilion

Château La Serre

Château La Serre

94 points Jeb Dunnuck

Drink: 2026 – 2040

$125

Pomerol & Lalande

de Pomerol

Château Lafleur – Gazin

Château Lafleur-Gazin

94 points James Suckling

Drink: 2024 – 2038

$85

CĂ´tes de Bordeaux & St Emilion Satellites

Château Joanin BÊcot, Castillon Côtes de Bordeaux

Château Joanin BÊcot, Castillon

CĂ´tes de Bordeaux

93 points Jeb Dunnuck

Drink: 2022 – 2036

$50

 

There are, of course, many more Bordeaux 2018 wines than those listed here available in the BC Liquor Stores.

The two charts of what was anticipated about the 2018 Bordeaux vintage in the En Primeur tastings in 2019 compared with the availability of wines in British Columbia Liquor Stores are helping me build an expanded list of possible wine producers to consider and watch for in future vintages.

Bordeaux wines are fascinating in their complexity and subtleties.  I applaud the magic of the winemakers in producing superb wines and appreciate the efforts of the highly skilled Masters of Wine in presenting these wines and relevant information to consumers.

Wishing all a happy and healthy 2022,

elizabethsvines

References:

Decanter Magazine June 2019

BC Liquor Stores  2018 Bordeaux Release Guide

Elizabethsvines December 2021 blog post: Bordeaux Release

Bordeaux Wine Release in Vancouver, BC

2018 Bordeaux Release, September 2021

The end of summer in Vancouver coincides with the annual Bordeaux wine release by the BC Liquor Stores.  September is the important month.

Excitement builds as aficionados wait for the online and print catalogues as well as notification of the prebooking opportunities. It looks like the 2018 vintage will be a very good year, like 2015 and 2016.

The Bordeaux Release is quite the show!  Especially when you see shopping carts loaded down with multiple cases of wine being wheeled out to nearby parked cars.

For me, the catalogue of wine is not just about the wine.   The catalogue is like a travel brochure as each name that I know conjures up the place:  the countryside, the beautiful chateaux themselves, and the rows of vines and the sense of history – the whole ambiance is like magic for me.

  I have visited the Bordeaux wine region – left bank, right bank – several times either on arranged tours or one-off visits to a particular chateau.    Seeing the names is like reading poetry that you know well, there’s a rhyme to the words:  Chateaux Margaux, Palmer, Haut Brion, La Mission Haut Brion, Cheval Blanc, Figeac, Leoville Barton, Lynch Bages, La Dominique,
Quintus…  

Some are chateaux I have visited for the first time in the last few years, often with my wine expert friend.   Yet others like Chateau Margaux and Chateau Palmer I first visited decades ago with my parents and have happy memories of those introductions to the world of Bordeaux wines !

Putting aside these fine memories, I got down to the business of modestly buying some of the 2018 Bordeaux Release!

When the wine is released in the ‘liquor stores’ run by BC Liquor Stores, there is a mad rush of people swooping in with determination written on their faces as they grab a copy of the catalogue, which is an excellent reference guide with helpful information, and decide what they will buy!   

I have to admit I probably had that same look of determination on my face as we decided what to buy.    I didn’t have time to do any research before buying.   I know from previous experience that if you dither, the choices you would like will have gone!

The wines in the 2018 Bordeaux Wine Release were selected at the en primeur tastings in Bordeaux in 2019, and are now released for sale in 2021.  

After we bought some wine at the release, I serendipitously rediscovered my Decanter magazine issue of June 2019, in which Jane Anson, Master of Wine and Decanter’s Bordeaux Correspondent gave her En Primeur Report for Bordeaux 2018.

Not only does she write about the vintage overall but she also assesses individual chateau and interestingly, identifies those chateaux she considers to be Top Value, Producer to Watch or Potential 100 (i.e. possibility of being rated 100 points).

I compared  this list with the wines available through the BC Liquor Stores and prepared the following chart of those wines which appear both on Jane Anson’s three criteria list from 2019 and the BC Liquor Store release in 2021 for left bank Bordeaux wines.  Here it is, rather a short but informative reference list.

2018 Bordeaux

Jane Anson MW  – Decanter Magazine

BC Liquor Stores

BC Price $Can

Top Value

 

 

 

Medoc-

Chateau d’Escurac

Chateau d’Escurac

$40

Haut Medoc

Chat. Belle-Vue

Chat. Belle-Vue

$45

Haut Medoc

Ch. Cambon La Pelouse

Ch . Cambon La Pelouse

$40

St. Estephe

Ch. Ormes de Pez

Ch. Ormes de Pez

$75

Pauillac

 

 Les Tourelles de Longueville

 

 

 Les Tourelles de Longueville

 

 

$90

 

 

St. Julien

Ch. du Glana

Ch. du Glana

$55

St. Julien

Ch. Leoville PoyferrĂŠ

Ch. Leoville PoyferrĂŞ

$225

 

Producer to Watch

 

 

 

Pauillac

Ch. Clerc Milon

Ch. Clerc Milon

$210

Potential 100

 

 

 

Pauillac

Ch. Lafite Rothschild

Ch. Lafite Rothschild

$1,600

Pauillac

Ch. Mouton Rothschild

Ch. Mouton Rothschild

$1,500

Pauillac

Ch. Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalonde

Ch. Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalonde

$380

Margaux

Ch. Palmer

Ch. Palmer

$900

Needless to say, both the Decanter article and the BC Liquor Store catalogue list many more wine choices.

The above chart is a very short list of those Bordeaux left bank  red wines which were assessed as either Top Value, Producer to Watch or Potential 100 points of Left Bank Bordeaux 2018 red wines and were also available in the BC Liquor Stores 2018 Release. These were the criteria for inclusion.

The value to me of this comparison chart is that it fine tuned the information in the BC Liquor Store catalogue and has introduced us to some vineyards we didn’t know about at the lower end of these price points that we will keep an eye on for future purchases.

Enjoy the magic of Bordeaux!

References:   Jane Anson MW, Decanter Magazine June 2019, Vintage Preview: Bordeaux 2018

And

2018 Bordeaux Release – BC Liquor Stores.com

and with recognition to my wine expert friend who always encourages my interest in Bordeaux wines.

Quoi de neuf? Saussignac: a village of art and wine

Quoi de Neuf? What’s up in Saussignac?

Saussignac, a small village of approximately 420 people in SW France in the Dordogne area of Nouvelle Aquitaine, really is a village of wine.

Apart from being the name of the village, where the chateau dates from the 17th century and is on the site of a much older building, Saussignac is also the name of the Saussignac Appellation D’Origine Contrôlée.  The wines of this appellation are a late harvest botryrized wine made mainly from Sémillon grapes.  This is a  distinct category of the natural sweet wines produced from withered, shriveled  grapes;   a Vin Liqoreux, on the same honeyed  track as a Sauterne or a Monbazillac.   These wines of liquid gold can be savoured best with foie gras or a blue cheese, like Saint Augur or Roquefort, a dessert or even as a chilled aperitif.    Several wine makers in the Saussignac area make these delicious wines, which should definitely be savoured by anyone visiting the area.

Saussignac is home to several wine makers, many of whom are organic farmers.

One such innovative organic farmer, writer and educator is Caro Feely from Château Feely.     Caro is hosting a free zoom virtual presentation and discussion on the Climate Change Crisis on Friday, November 12 at 5.00 pm UK or 6 pm France.   To sign up, Caro can be reached at caro@carofeely.com      www.chateaufeely.com

An addition to the local community wine makers are Frank and Riki Campbell, new proprietors at Chateau de Fayolle in Saussignac.   Their goal is to promote the wines of the area on a global level.

Chateau de Fayolle, under the new ownership of the Campbells, is offering platters of cheese and charcuterie with wine tastings in a newly renovated and up to date wine tasting room, which has wonderful views over the rows of vines.   Great recommendations of the wines and ambience have been received from wine loving friends in the area and visitors from Bordeaux, so it’s well worth a visit.  Check out details on their website:  http://www.chateaufayolle.com

To complete the picture of Saussignac as a village of art and wine, I would be remiss not to mention the creative work of Mike and Lee McNeal Rumsby at Le 1500; the boutique hôtel, bistro and painting retreat in the middle of the village opposite  Château Saussignac.    Lee managed some of the world’s finest hotels and Mike’s paintings are sold internationally, so Le 1500 is definitely a place to visit and enjoy.   http://www.le1500.rocks

The village of Saussignac continues to live up to its reputation as a place of Art and Wine.

Quoi de Neuf? Confrérie du Raisin D’Or de Sigoulès

Quoi de Neuf?  What’s new?

This year in summer 2021,  the Confrérie du Raisin D’Or de Sigoulès in the Bergerac Wine Region in SW France was innovative in fulfilling its mandate of promoting local winemakers.

Instead of hosting its annual Confrerie wine event attended by Confrerie members from across France, it creatively switched to participating in the local Festival for Winemakers of Sigoulès-Flaugeac.   The ConfrÊrie hosted a wine tasting event of local wines in which the public voted for the wines of their choice.  Great Idea!

Wine Fair in Sigoulès

Sigoulès

Awards were then given by the Commandeur Guy Bergeron, representing the ConfrÊrie, to the winners in the 5 wine categories of  Red, Rose, Dry White, Sweet White, and Late Harvest Liquoreux.   All 19 winemakers who participated in the public tasting were thanked for their participation.

And the five winners were…

Rouge/Red wine:   Stephanie et Philippe Barré-Perier in Saint Pierre D’Eyraud

RosÊ/ Pink:  Jean Philippe Cathal, Domaine Petit Marsalet, St. Laurent des Vignes

Blanc Sec/ Dry White:  Pascal Pomar, Domaine du Sarment DorÊ, Bergerac

Blanc Moelleur/Sweet White:  Durand Frères, Château Haut Lamouthe, Lamonzie St Martin

Blanc Liquoreux/ Late Harvest Liquoreux: StĂŠphane Dumoulin, Chateau le Cluzeau, SigoulĂŠs-Flaugeac

Congratulations to the winners of the people’s votes!

All these community names are very familiar to me and I am so pleased to acknowledge the work and effort that went into this event.

Given the COVID restrictions in place, the Confrérie du Raisin D’Or de Sigoulès, under the leadership of the Commandeur and the support of the members, continues to be active in the community upholding its role as part of the UNESCO World Heritage recognition of Confréries in France as a fundamental aspect of French Gastronomie.

Bravo!

Wine walks and tastings in the Dordogne, SW France with the Confrérie du Raisin D’Or de Sigoules

Stop Press!

Do you have vacation plans in the Dordogne this summer?   If you have your sun hat, comfortable walking shoes and a bottle or two of water, then the above agenda of walks in the Dordogne has your name on it!

Each summer, the Confrérie du Raisin D’Or de Sigoulès organizes walks through the bee-buzzing, bird-singing rolling countryside of the Dordogne, always ending with a wine tasting.  The starting point is the village of Sigoulès.

Other local opportunities to enjoy casual, friendly wine tasting events take place each Monday evening in the nearby village of Saussignac.   ApÊro Vigneron offers wine tasting and al fresco food in the village main square.

These are memorable vacation opportunities to meet local wine makers and taste their selections of Bergerac Region wines in casual, village environments, far from work-a-day city crowds.

Enjoy!

Enjoying Nature, Wine and Walking: holiday ideas in the Bergerac Wine area, SW France

Much is written these days about the benefits of spending time in Nature.   As an example, this year the Duchess of Cambridge’s Nature Garden will be a highlight of the Royal Horticultural Society Chelsea Flower Show in London (May 21-25, 2019). http://www.rhs.org.uk

What better way to spend time in Nature than to have a wine-tasting and walking holiday in the French countryside, in the Dordogne Valley near the small town of Bergerac?   For time-out from the hurley-burley of city and work life, it would be difficult to find a better refuge for rejuvenating personal and family time.

Within a defined radius around the communities of Saussignac, Monestier, Sigoules and Pomport, all within an easy drive of Bergerac Airport, there are many wineries where a visitor can happily indulge all three interests of Nature, Wine and Walking, or RandonnĂŠes as the French call walks in the countryside.

Holidays in the French countryside often involve staying in self-catering Gites often attached to wineries.      I’ve written in my blog about most of the wineries I am going to mention and will highlight the relevant blog posts.   All the wineries offer wine tastings.   In cases where I know the wineries offer accommodation I am mentioning this but not making any recommendations.

Walking maps are available in the villages, usually in the Mairies (Mayor’s office) or on a notice board in public areas.     Another resource is Walking in the Dordogne: Over 30 walks in Southwest France by Janette Norton, available on Amazon.

The Confrerie du Raisin D’Or, an association which supports wine tourism in the area, organizes walks every Monday and Thursday in July and August. These walks always finish with a Vin d’honneur – wine tasting of local wines.   At this time of writing, the ConfrĂŠrie’s RandonnĂŠes program hasn’t yet been finalized for 2019 but will be available on their website: www.confrerieduraisindor.com

Also available from March through November are jazz evenings offered in different wineries.   The next concert will be held April 12 and in June, the jazz evening will be in Pomport. Check out the 2019 Jazz en Chais program:  http://www.jazzpourpre.com

SAUSSIGNAC    (4 km from Monestier and 12 km from Pomport and 12 km from Sigoules,  19.6 km from Bergerac Airport)

Chateau Feely and Chateau Le Tap are adjoining wineries in this village.   Both are organic wineries and both offer Gite accommodation.

Chateau Feely and associated business French Wine Adventures offers wine courses, walks and talks in the vineyard.     Chateau Feely has been listed in the Top 100 wine estates in France, once for education and valorization of ecological practices and a second time for accommodation. Caro and Sean Feely have been pioneers in the area.   www.facebook.com/chateaufeely

Chateau Le Tap wine information and Gite accommodation offered by Olivier and Mireille Roche is available on their website.    Most recently, I mentioned Chateau Le Tap in the December 2018 post, SoirÊe Vigneronne.     www.chateauletap.fr

Chateau Court Les Muts is also in Saussignac and offers wine tastings.    We have been to a jazz evening offered in their winery in previous years.     See elizabethsvines archive: December 2017 “Bred in the Bone: Vigneron of the Year 2018, Chateau Court Les Mûts.   Jeweller Annabelle Degroote offers her creative and hand made jewellery on site.   The creative pieces are made from vine tendrils, pearls and stones.   www.court-les-muts.com

Local accommodation is also available at Le 1500, a Chambre d’Hôtes (B&B) and Café offering tapas, lunch and dinner located in the centre of Saussignac village opposite Chateau Saussignac.  Contact Mike or Lee:   saussignac@yahoo.com

MONESTIER

Three wine chateaux and a restaurant come to mind with respect to Monestier.

Chateau Monestier La Tour, which I wrote about in January 2019 with their herbarium and biodynamic agricultural practices.  See my last blog post: “Philosopher, watchmaker, winemaker: Chateau Monestier La Tour, Monestier”.   I recommend phoning to book an appointment for a visit.   www.chateaumonestierlatour.com

Chateau Lestevenie, which I have mentioned several times in various blog posts, most recently in the December 2018, Soirée Vigneronne post.   Chateau Lestevenie offer fun pop up dinners in the vineyard during the summer months.   Sue and Humphrey Temperley can show you the variety of beautiful orchids growing on their property.       It’s important to phone and book ahead for the popular (and delicious) pop up dinners.

www.chateau-lestevenie.com

Chateau Grinou – one of the early adopters of organic wine making practices in the area is located between Chateau Lestevenie and Chateau Monestier La Tour.   I have not yet visited the winery but have met the co-proprietor Gabriel Cuisset and sampled their 2018 wine at the December 2018, Soirée Vigneronne.     www.chateaugrinou.com

We have enjoyed many lunches at the Relais de Monestier restaurant, located in the centre of Monestier very near to the Chateau Monestier La Tour.     Le Relais de Monestier is on Facebook.

POMPORT

We have visited two wineries in this community, which is between Saussignac and Monbazillac.

Chateau Ladesvignes.       I wrote about this winery in 2013, which seems a long time ago now!     Apart from delicious white wines at this winery, the views from here over the Dordogne Valley looking towards Bergerac town are spectacular.     www.ladesvignes.com

Another nearby location to experience this amazing view is the restaurant near Monbazillac: La Tour des Vents, one star Michelin restaurant and adjoining brasserie. We have enjoyed several meals here over the years.   Important to reserve in advance.   www.tourdesvents.com

Chateau Les Hauts de Cailleval:  see elizabethsvines archive, December 2017 “Living the Dream, Chateau les Hauts de Caillevel.     I have good memories of sitting by a wood burning stove on a cold December day, drinking hot coffee and listening to the proprietor tell his story about wine making.   www.leshautsdecaillevel.com

SIGOULES

In the nearby village of Sigoules, the annual wine fair (Foire aux Vins de Sigoules) has been held here on the third weekend in July for over 40 years.   It’s organized together with the annual gathering of the Confrerie du Raisin D’Or, which attracts many Confreries from all over France.   The confrerie members officially parade through the village on the Saturday morning in their charming and creative costumes symbolizing the gastronomique culture they represent.     It’s a colourful and happy occasion held in the market square, near the Code-Bar and bistro frequented by many locals.   Le Code Bar, Sigoules is on Facebook.

There’s much more that can be written about the pleasures of this area: its proximity to the city of Bordeaux, the great wine areas of the Medoc and St. Emilion, the nearby route of the Santiago de Compostela pilgrimage, the historic sites of the 14th/ 15th Century 100 years war.    There are the many food markets to tempt the visitor with local delicacies and kayaking on the Dordogne River to burn off calories.    The list goes on and on.

My focus here is about the opportunity for tranquility, for relaxing in nature, enjoying excellent local wine presented to the visitors by the wine-makers themselves in most situations and for walking among the vineyards and lanes of this peaceful, rural area; and, without doubt, rejoicing in the experience and having fun.

Summer Wrap Up -wine, cocktails and crime fiction.

It’s a picture perfect, blue sky September day on the West Coast of Canada.

We’re in the ferry line-up returning from the Sunshine Coast to Horseshoe Bay, the ferry terminal on the North Shore of Vancouver. Schools are back and yet the ferries are a two-ferry wait unless you have a reservation, which we do fortunately.

The Sunshine Coast, aptly named for its sunnier climate, is a 40-minute ferry ride from Vancouver. It’s only accessible by ferry, boat or seaplane and is one of those places that support the province’s reputation as Beautiful British Columbia.

We visit friends here who make us Summer Pudding, the iconic late summer dessert with all the polyphenol-rich berries, including blackberries, blackcurrants, raspberries, and redcurrants.   Summer Delicious!

This summer we have tried two new BC wines: 2018 National Wine Awards of Canada gold medal winner, Averill Creek Pinot Noir from the Cowichan Valley on Vancouver Island and Liquidity Winery, Bistro and Gallery Pinot Gris from Okanagan Falls in the Okanagan Valley.     The choice of quality wines in British Columbia continues to expand. I believe there are now 280 wineries in B.C.   Who would have anticipated this 30 years ago?

Back home in Vancouver, we make a new summer cocktail, straight out of Donna Leon’s detective fiction novel: “Earthly Remains” set in Venice. The protagonist, Commissario Guido Brunetti creates a cocktail for his wife Paola from sparkling water, Campari and topped up with Prosecco.   We guess at the respective quantities by trial and error.    The resulting tall drink is definitely a popular and refreshing choice in the hot summer weather.

On the subject of crime fiction, Martin Walker, author of the popular Bruno Courrèges, Chief of Police series based in the Dordogne in SW France, was made an honourary member of the ConfrĂŠrie du Raison D’Or de Sigoules at their annual event in July.  Police Chief Bruno, who enjoys good food and wine while solving local crimes, has a growing following in North America and has featured in my blog posts in the past, as has the ConfrĂŠrie du Raison D’Or de Sigoules, of which I am delighted to be a member.

Finally, a comment about the Cherry Clafoutis I mentioned in my previous blog.   I made two: we ate one and froze the other. A reader asked me how the frozen one turned out when we finally served it. I am happy to report it was equally as good as the first one, maybe because it was carefully and purposefully thawed at room temperature over a couple of hours.

It’s been a tough late summer in British Columbia due to the number of wildfires. Fortunately,  with the arrival of autumnal weather, lower temperatures and even snow flurries in the north east of the province, the situation is much improved.   However, many people have been affected and our thoughts are with them.   Thanks and appreciation goes to the firefighters here in BC and to those who came from other parts of Canada, Mexico and Australia to help.

References:   Averill Creek winery: averillcreek.ca

Liquidity Winery, Bistro and Gallery, liquiditywines.com

Donna Leon, detective fiction writer of Commissario Brunetti series;    Donnaleon.net

Martin Walker, crime fiction writer of the series, Bruno, Chief of                                   Police.  www.brunochiefofpolice.com   Learn all about Bruno, his favourite music,  history etc.

and search for the following article in http://www.nytimes.com.