Every month, Florence Varaine offers you her selection of new discoveries and pairings. In Bordeaux and elsewhere, there are diamonds to discover (and rediscover) among the vines.
A slightly harebrained scheme by three friends led to the creation in 2003 of the Hauts de Talmont vineyard in the Saintes region. Lining the estuary opposite the Médoc, enjoying moisture off the nearby sea and the protection of Sainte Radegonde church, Colombard and Merlot vines are grown in this garden vineyard using biodynamic techniques. The range of wines includes dry, sparkling and an even bolder offering in the form of a Colombard-based fortified wine, that is neither Pineau nor Port and is made by adding brandy from… Colombard. The rosé is a showstopper but amongst the property’s gems we were drawn to its single varietal Merlot dominated by an explosion of black fruits after swirling. The moreish, juicy palate with a trace of freshness and minerality, flows into closely-integrated tannins. It is a true marvel crafted by the three friends in conjunction with Jean-Claude Berrouet, the low-profile ‘magician’ who helped establish Petrus’ pedigree.
Sales outlets: mail order or in the shop at Rue du Port in Talmont (17)
Les Hauts de Talmont – Vin de Pays Charentais
Tel. +33 6 61 67 17 17 – www.leshautsdetalmont.com
Ex-cellar price incl. VAT: 10 euros for the red and 7.30 euros for the rosé
On land that was home to some of France’s earliest vineyards, special care and attention is lavished on wines at Prieuré Saint Jean de Bébian. We were particularly fond of the white, blended from native grape varieties – Roussanne, Clairette du Languedoc, Picpoul and Grenache blanc – whose distinctive personality stems from the limestone-dominant gravel soils around Pézénas. Low yields, meticulous wine making techniques and ageing on the lees impart elegance, aromatic power and the cellaring potential of a top-flight white wine. It sits nicely alongside sea bass with fennel and tagine with preserved lemon, prompting the conversation to switch from the food to the wine, and then the wine to the ancient rich and varied history of a growth due to officially open its new winery next Autumn.
Sales outlets: cellar door, wine merchants, Horeca
Prieuré Saint Jean de Bébian – PDO Coteaux du Languedoc
Tél : +33 4 67 98 13 60 – info@bébian.com – www.bebian.fr
Ex-cellar price incl. VAT: 27 euros
On the outskirts of Bordeaux, in the Léognan area, Château Brown is continuing to produce rosé by pressing for the third consecutive vintage. Traditionally, Bordeaux rosé wine involves maceration and the bleeding process, but Jean-Christophe Mau has decided to break with convention. For example, this rosé is produced by direct pressing using the Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Petit Verdot grapes growing in the estate’s gravel soil. It is above all a pure, pale, gastronomic bespoke wine with its modern label, aged in the same way as the white Pessac-Léognan: in barrels with regular stirring. It has a bouquet of red fruit and flowers and is ample and voluptuous on the palate, with a delicately fresh finish revealing notes of spices: a fine result for 2014.
Distribution: direct sale, wine merchants, on-trade.
Château Brown rosé 2014 – Bordeaux rosé
Tél. +33 5 56 87 08 10 firstname.lastname@example.org – www.chateau-brown.com
Ex-cellar price incl. VAT: 15 euros
Florence Varaine is a journalist (SommelierS International, Gault&Millau, Vin Magazine…) and instructor specialised in Bordeaux wine. She has travelled extensively through her work, covering International Competitions (Concours Mondial de Bruxelles, Michelangelo Wine Award), meeting many winegrowers, and tasting numerous famous and lesser-known wines. Florence Varaine has 15 years of experience in the field. Here, she shares with you a few of her special favourites.
Translation by Sharon Nagel – www.terroirs-dexception.com
Except for Château Brown