Wednesday, December 5, 2012

BORDEAUX Wines Make A Comeback

Bordeaux Wines Make A Comeback by Philip S. Kampe

It is a rare occasion when I get so excited about each and every wine that I sampled at a wine tasting. In this case, the wines were from Bordeaux. The truth is, the wines from Bordeaux have not been at the top of the wines on my ‘to try’ list for many years. Maybe the reason is that I am partial to the Burgundies and haven’t really given the wines from Bordeaux a real chance to win over my fancy.
Thanks to a dynamic group of Bordeaux wine makers, my opinion or even prejudice has been altered. Tracy Ellen Kamens, a highly regarded wine educator, hosted a tasting of wines from a small group of Bordeaux winemakers. The group is on a one week visit to the United States to learn about American wine drinking habits. What do we like in a wine?  Are our drinking habits different depending on what age we are? How can this group of Bordeaux winemakers establish links with the American trade, press and consumers? These were the questions we discussed with Bordeaux wine alliance director Frederique Dutheillet de Lamothe, while sampling the wines made by this group of  Bordeaux winemakers.
The winemakers and their representatives dissected  our brains to help them understand the wine market that exists in this country, as well as our perception as journalists regarding the wines from Bordeaux.
The group of wine makers brought their wines to be judged and criticized by the press. Our remarks, as a group, were encouraging and positive regarding the wines that we sampled.
Marie Hours from Domaine Uroulat Jurancon is a very enthusiastic and creative winemaker. She is a veteran winemaker who has participated in ten vintages worldwide. Using her last name in a playful way, she markets a sweet, delicious, full-flavored white wine called ‘Happy Hours ’. The wine is made from 100% Petit Manseng. Her other wines, imported in the U.S., by Martine’s Wines, Inc., include a dry white, Cuvee Marie 2011 ($22). The wine is made from 100% Gros Manseng grapes. Her other entry into our market is Uroulat 2011. Retailing  for $35, this 100% Petit Manseng wine is sweet and a great after dinner wine.
Aureilie Anney is a young, intelligent winemaker from Chateau Tour des Termes. Aureille is following her family tradition at the Chateau by making Merlot-dominated wines. Her Cru Bourgeois (St. Estephe) is a dynamic, medium-bodied red wine that is distributed by Monsieur Touton Selections. At $38 a bottle, the Cru Bourgeois is a blend of 55% Merlot, 25% Cabernet Sauvignon, 15% Cabernet Franc and 5% Petit Verdot.
Bruno Lallemand and his wife Cheryl own the 50 acre estate, Vignobles Lallemand and are taking the Bordeaux style winemaking to a new level. As relatively new winemakers, the Lallemands entry, ‘La Maison Rouge 2011’ ($24), is a fruity, tasty, wonderful wine that uses the famous Bordeaux Merlot grape to its peak. Considering that the wine is young and able to grow during the next five-ten years, the Lallemands have found a way to make this wine very drinkable at the present time.
Chris Cardon and Lai Martin, from Chateau La Have (St. Estephe) introduced some dynamic wines from their 16th century estate. Located on 41 acres, Chateau La Have has been using the talented enologist, Eric Boissenot, to help with the winemaking. Eric, to his credit, has worked with Chateau Lafite and Margaux. The wines from Chateau La Haye are outstanding and irresistible on the palate. We had the pleasure of sampling the Chateau La Haye 2008, 2009 and 2010. Made primarily with Merlot grapes blended with Cabernet Sauvignon and Petit Verdot, these wines complimented the wines made by all of the participating winemakers at the tasting.
The wines from Bordeaux are wonderful, historic wines that should be thought of when going to the wine shop. Instead of Chile, Australia, Spain, Portugal and Argentina, think about the wines from Bordeaux, specifically Domaine Uroulat, Vignobles Lallemand, Chateau Tour des Termes and Chateau La Haye.
They are wines with ‘Tradition’.


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