Tuesday, 16 March 2010


A beautiful spring day here in Bordeaux today and Clare and I have a very exciting tasting in the Médoc at the prestigious 2nd growth Château Durfort-Vivens in Margaux.

The Chateau is located right next door to Château Margaux, Château Palmer and Château Rauzan-Segla all of which can be seen from the panoramic tasting room windows.

Château Durfort-Vivens has such a magnificent terroir that different parcels (even rows!) are fermented and aged apart right until the final blending some 18 months after the harvest. We are very lucky because today we are to taste 25 of the very best 2009 vineyard parcels from which we can pick and choose to blend together to make our ‘Super Cuvee’!

After tasting through some very young but stunning wines, we finally came to a shortlist and began to blend. A little of this, more of that, too much, too little … this went on for some time until we found the perfect balance that will age beautifully in barrel and emerge in 18 months as a truly great wine.

When working with this quality of wine, the winemaker must skilfully use his tastebuds to judge and predict how the wine will react to the time in barrel and then very importantly, the bottle ageing over the next 5,10,15 and all being well 20 years on! With the characteristic violet Margaux aromas still lingering in our mouths and extremely black stained teeth, we departed the left bank and crossed into the right bank and back to Castillon.

By late afternoon I found myself weaving my way through a very sunny and warm Entre-Deux-Mers to Château Thieuley to check up on our new Bordeaux Clairet. Clariet is a very traditional style of wine here in Bordeaux because it is neither a red nor a rose wine but right in the middle of the two!

The ripe, deeply coloured red grapes are harvested as for red wine but once in the vat, the grapes will only stay for 4-5 days to obtain the deep red colour but not the tannins (red wine being 20 days and rose only 6-12hours).

The ‘Clairet’ is now transferred to a temperature controlled stainless steel vat and fermented very cold as if a white wine. The result is a perfect wine for summer barbeques; I recommend that you snap some up as soon as it is released, definitely one to try!


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