28 June 2012

DiscoverVin introduces wines from Bordeaux Petits Châteaux-Part One

“Some of Bordeaux's best wine value is to be found at the most conscientious petits châteaux.”  Jancis Robinson

Vineyards at Chateau Moulin Pey-Labrie
Petits Châteaux in French means small castles.  In Bordeaux petits châteaux refers to a property not classified in the 1855 Classification System. Notably petits châteaux is a term synonymous with reasonably priced wine.  Their more famous neighbours often eclipse wines from petits châteaux, but if you love good red wine then it is well worth discovering them. Often just a fence separates the petit chateaux from a more expensive classified neighbour.  As the prices of the classified chateaux continue to rise, it is the petit chateaux that offer great value.  It is often said that in good years the best value is found in these petit chateaux as quality is found across the region, not just in the expensive chateaux.

DiscoverVin have sourced the following wines from petits châteaux from appellations throughout Bordeaux:

·      Canon Fronsac
·      Fronsac
·      Haut Medoc
·      Listrac Medoc (including Margaux, Pauillac and St Julien)
·      Medoc
·      Pessac Leognan
·      Saint Émilion

DiscoverVin have chosen wines to suit both the palate and the pocket of Australian red wine lovers.

16 June 2012

Transformation in Bordeaux

When we lived in Bordeaux in 2009, it was easy to fall in love with the city. It is a city made for strolling and enjoying in its own right- along the broad walkway by the banks of the Garonne, which emphasises the handsome curve of buildings mostly of exquisite 18th century architecture, past the renovated facades, down the maze of small pedestrianised streets in the centre of the city linking a series of small squares filled with cafés. If not strolling, one could jump on and off the handsome glass and steel trams that almost seem to float along the streets. 3 tram lines criss-cross the city enabling easy commuting between the mains sites. Trams filled with the rich, the poor, the young and old but what was obvious was the number of university students, (Bordeaux is home to some 50,000 students), often laughing and talking loudly in impenetrable slang (what was that they were saying "schaypas"? .... Oh "je ne sais pas!"  "dunno" vs "I don't know" for example)

It was hard to believe that only a few years before Bordeaux had a more sombre feel, its buildings darkened by centuries of soot, its roads clogged by cars, its docks abandoned, its riverbank largely under utilised. Led by Mayor Alain Juppé, money was invested in cleaning up the facades, opening up the squares and allowing more outdoor eating. In July 2004 the first tram was put in service amid much controversy. Many shopkeepers feared loss of business if traffic was taken out of their street but in fact the exact opposite was true- the centre of town was liberated by removing cars and improving access by tram, bike or by foot. It seems the capital cities of Australia might have a lot to learn by this transformation by focusing on public transport and reducing cars from our inner cities.

In 2007 the city was world heritage listed by UNESCO and now Bordeaux has become one of the most rapidly growing tourist destinations in France. Wine tourism in the surrounding wine regions has taken off- more on that in another blog. The very fast train from Paris is coming in 2016 (it will become a 2 hour trip to Paris and one hour to Barcelona). The city it seems has a bright future.

It was easy to fall in love with the city and to fall in love with the wine of Bordeaux and the wine of this south west corner of France. Enough for us to start DiscoverVin and to by an apartment in Bordeaux.The city has been transformed and in turn it transformed us!

8 June 2012

Château La Fleur Poitou review by Winsor Dobbin

Well known Australian wine writer (and twittersphere legend)  Winsor Dobbin has published another review of one of the wines imported by DiscoverVin. This easy drinking and good value ($25) Bordeaux red wine from Château La Fleur Poitou is one of our favorites and one of the first wines that we have in stock from the great vintage of 2010. The wine comes from the appellation (region) of Lussac Saint Émilion .
Six satellite villages that once sold their wines under the Saint Émilion AOC surround Saint Émilion.  Of these villages, four now add Saint Émilion to their names to form the Saint Émilion satellites.  They are separated from Saint Émilion by the Barbanne River (more like a creek), an ancient frontier between those in the south who spoke the Langue d’Oc and those in the north who spoke the Langue d’Oil. Wines from these lesser-known regions produce some interesting wines at a fraction of the cost of their more famous neighbours.
Lussac-Saint Emilion’s history dates to Roman times.  Its terroir is varied with clay soils in the north, clay-limestone soils in the southeast.

Lussac Saint Émilion is a northerly “satellite” appellation of Saint Émilion on the right bank of Bordeaux.  The combination of Merlot dominating Cabernet Franc is distinctive of this appellation.  Cabernet Sauvignon is much less commonly planted as the soils of this area are thought to be more suited to merlot and cabernet franc. 

This is a good value drinkable Bordeaux from a highly regarded vintage. In the great vintages such as 2010, there is often value to be found amongst small producers such as this. This generous wine is a good example of the type of value for money wines that DiscoverVin is trying to bring downunder.

And here is the review by Winsor Dobbins:

SUNDAY, JUNE 3, 2012

Chateau La Fleur Poitou 2010

A delightful drink this one, from a small producer in Lussac St Emilion on Bordeaux's right bank. There is plenty of concentration on the nose while the palate reveals dark berry and currant flavours with oak (30% new) playing a mere support role. A blend of merlot, cabernet franc and cabernet sauvignon, it is a supple wine, soft and round with excellent balance and complexity, but more importantly drinkability. It's a very clean wine, smooth and characterful and with medium-term cellaring potential. A very good introduction to affordable Bordeaux from a well-regarded vintage. $25. Imported by DiscoverVin.www.discovervin.com.au.  

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