Over February, March and April we have completed our Bordeaux trilogy: the Left Bank comprising the Medoc, Margaux, Pauillac and similar famous communes; the Right bank – Saint Emilion & Pomerol; and Graves which also incorporated Sauternes.
It is impossible to do justice to Bordeaux in one sitting, so the opportunity to focus on specific areas was very informative.
The Left Bank is home to some of the world’s most famous wines and this is where you find Lafite, Latour, Margaux, Mouton Rothschild and all the other classed growths of the 1855 classification apart from Haut Brion.
Cabernet Sauvignon is the principal grape – benefitting from the well-drained gravelly soils – and ably supported by Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot and Malbec. Quality was high as we toured a number of classed growths culminating in Chateau Pichon-Longueville Comtesse de Lalande 2005 – a truly glorious claret.
The Right Bank is somewhat different with a greater predominance of clay which favours Merlot and Cabernet Franc. Right Bank wines are generally more forward when young and generally don’t have quite the same ageing potential as their Left Bank contemporaries.
We tasted through an array of Saint Emilions and Pomerols contrasting style and year with the highlights being La Providence 2009 and the Troplong Mondot 2000 – both showing considerable grace and charm.
The Graves is the most diverse region producing high quality whites, reds and dessert wines. Semillon is the principal grape for both oak aged dry whites and the most unctuous of dessert wines. Sauvignon Blanc acts as a vital splash of acidity in both cases.
What came across most strongly within this Graves tasting was a high quality to price ration relative to the more famous Left and Right bank wines. Highlights of this tasting were the Chateau La Garde 2000 – beautifully poised at ony £45.00 and the Chateau Reuissec 1988 – a tour de force clased growth Sauternes.
All the events were held at Bacco in Richmond who, as always, produced some perfectly prepared cuisine that complemented the wines immaculately.