When you think of Bordeaux you typically think of the Châteaus on the left bank but the real secret and what I would call the hidden gems are those on the right bank. At LearnAboutWine’s Le Cercle Rive Droite From Barrel to Bottle luncheon and wine tasting I experienced some exceptional Bordeauxs.
By far my favorite wine of the event was the 2005 Château Boutisse. This was the first vintage for Marc Milhade, son of winery owner Xavier Milhade. This St. Émilion is soft, smooth and balanced. It was not just the wine that impressed me but also the exuberance that Marc exuded as he spoke about his wines. Marc truly loves what he is creating. Like many a wine maker who wants to make his mark of distinction, Marc is doing just that. Many of the Châteaus have a Merlot only philosophy. Beginning in 2010, Marc made a change to Château Boutisse wines by adding 5% Carmenere. Marc says, “This rounds out the wine”. Carmenere originated in Bordeaux but has become a very popular varietal in Chile. This addition appears to enhance the softness and balance of the wine.
I was equally impressed with wines of Baronne Guichard. The enthusiastic Paul Goldschmidt inspires one to taste this Château’s wines. The winery has been in his wife’s family since 1832. I thoroughly enjoyed sitting next to Paul, as like myself he is a dog lover and insisted on showing us a picture of his dog prior to tasting the wine. Paul’s dog, Babouche a Rough Coat Jack Russell Terrier is a cutie. Paul also shared a story that speaks both to Paul’s ingenuity and creativity. While on a tasting trip back east, Paul was taking a train from New York to Baltimore for a wine tasting event. The train broke down several times delaying the trip for about five hours or so. Thinking outside the box and knowing he would miss the wine tasting, Paul decided to have a private tasting with the passengers on the train. For those who have experienced delays on both trains and planes, one can only image the fun these passengers had tasting wines from Bordeaux on the cuff especially if they were the wines showcased at Le Cercle Rive Droite. Château Vey Le Prieure Saint Émilion Grand Cru 2010 was wonderfully layered with soft, subtle and smooth flavors. This was my favorite of Baronne Guichard. The 2010 Château Vray Croix De Gay Pomerol had hints of cherry. The grapes for this Pomerol were picked three weeks early. I was also able to sample the 2012 yet to be released wines and the 2012 Château Siaurac Lalande de Pomerol will be a winner as it is soft and very palatable. As a special treat I was permitted to try Malbec that was not on the tasting agenda. Keeping in the tradition of Malbecs it was big and bold.
Other wines worth mentioning are the 2005 Château Fontenil Fronsac with its hints of Violet, the 2000 Château Moulin Haut Laroque Fonsac, a very smooth, silky and velvety Bordeaux and the 2012 Château de Pressac Grand Cru Classic from the barrel, a well rounded, bright and full-bodied Saint Êmilion. The 2012 Clos Du Clocher Pomerol was smoothly balanced and very drinkable. The 2012 Château La Rose Perriere is befitting to its name, emitting floral aromas of roses.
Comparing these wines to Le Cercle Rive Droite’s event last year definitely proves that the 2012 vintage from the right bank of Bordeaux will be outstanding.