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Bordeaux, Alsace

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Bordeaux



Maritime Bordeaux in the west of France is a large producer of quality wines. Although saying that there's a large gap between the top few who produce ultra-premium wines with hefty price tags (Lafite, Margaux, Y'Quem, Petrus….) and the rest of the field.

The Left Bank with its gravelly composition of soils is more suited to Cabernet Sauvignon while the Right Bank is made up more of clay and this is where Merlot and Cabernet Franc dominate (as they are earlier ripens and don't mind getting their feet wet). In the middle, the Entre Du Meurs provides a slew of whites and reds made for early drinking.

On the right bank outside of St Emilion and Pomerol, there are a lot of well-priced merlots made that are more for early consumption. These come from the satellite Bordeaux regions.
The English built up a thirst for the better Bordeaux reds which they have coined 'clarets'. These are often tucked away for a while in their cellars to age and drunk with a few years under their belts. But not all Bordeaux is built for aging, so choose wisely.

Styles
For whites, there are the crisp and easily quaffed whites from Entre De Meurs, or the more ambitious oak-aged Semillion Sauvignon blends from Pessac Legonan. The queen of dessert wines, Sauternes can also call Bordeaux home. French oak maturation is a common thread amongst the elite reds, whites and sweet wines.

Grapes

White:Semillon, Sauvignon Blanc, Muscadelle
Red: Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Malbec, Petit Verdot

Some of the most highly rated recent vintages are 2005, 2009, 2010, 2016 and 2018.

Favourite Producers
Montrose, Pichon Lalande, Poitevin, D'Yquem, Coutet,
 



Alsace

 Nestled behind the Vosges Mountains the Alsace region is one of France's driest and a lovely hotbed for organic and biodynamic viticulture on volcanic soils.  History has seen it change hands between Germany and France many times which shows up in the strong Germanic influence in food, architecture and grapes.

Red or White? White wines reign supreme here. Usually dry and savoury, though some can be made in an off-dry style. This is a clear cut region to understand as they usually put the grape variety on the label. There are also two sweeter styles; late picked, vendange tardive and the botrytis infected dessert wine, selections de grains nobles.

Grapes
Riesling, Pinot Gris, Muscat, Gewuztraminer

Style
There's a lovely minerality thread in these wines due to their volcanic soil origins. Smokey wafts and exotic fruits are on full display in youth. Over time they develop a honeyed richness. Some wines may have a richer mid-palate and can be off-dry in style.

Favourite Producers
Marcel Deiss, Zind-Humbrecht, Domaine Ostertag, Paul Blank

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  1. Prince Estivac Blanc de Blanc NV
    Prince Estivac Blanc de Blanc NV
    While there is no doubt Alsace is well known for its aromatic white varietals it is probably not as well known as the steward of great sparkling. Well, this little drop will change your mind. This doesn't try to be Champagne and it's all the better for it. The aim is to produce a clean, fun and delicious sparkling that nods to its home in Alsace but overdelivers in quality, and it has that in spades!

    This is sensational value, made from Pinot Blanc and Riesling in a traditional method. Nashi pear and green apple with hints of lime. Cumquat, apple, zesty citrus lead in the mouth to a long finish. Excellent little wine and you would be just as happy popping this for a toast as you would cracking it at a BBQ to get the party started.
    NV
    chardonnay, Pinot Blanc
    France
    343
    Special Price $23.00 Regular Price $27.00
  2. Trimbach Reserve Riesling 2018 375ml
    Trimbach Reserve Riesling 2018 375ml
    Trimbach is at the summit of dry white winemaking. CLIVE COATEDS M.W.

    With viticultural origins going back to 1626 this family owned estate produces some of the finest wines not only of Alsace, but indeed the entire world of wine. Around the villages of Ribeauvillé and Hunawihr, the Trimbach family owns 57 hectares of vineyards from some of the most famed sites in the region. 

    The reserve wines are sourced from rigorously selected grapes grown in and around Ribeauville and surrounding villages. They are fermented dry and text book example of classic Alsace fair.

    Quince, pear and apple with a touch of mandarin open to an exotic and layered nose. There is a touch of lime zest and white pepper folded into the soft fruits. The clean pristine fruit is sliced down the middle of the palate with a racy, tight quartz-mineral core. On the close the palate shifts toward more tropical notes and a sense of opulence that is kept in check by a dry and mineral finish. PWS
    2018
    Riesling
    France
    343
  3. Chai Saint Etienne Tradition Rouge 2016
    Chai Saint Etienne Tradition Rouge 2016
    60% Cabernet Franc, 20% Merlot, 20% Côt
    The Coteaux du Quercy AOC is one of France smallest wine region with only 400 hectares and less than 20 growers. It lies between Cahors & Gaillac. After the Phylloxera, the Quercy, once 50 000 hectares was almost destroyed. Roger Gisbert and his brave mates started their appellation from scratch. With high draining slopes of white clay and limestone soils, Cabernet Franc was chosen to blend with the Merlot, and off course the Cot (aka. Malbec) replanted on the rocky soils. The grapes are harvested and sorted, then fallow slow and gentle traditional fermentation.
    2016
    Cabernet Franc, Merlot
    France
    356
  4. Zind Humbrecht Gewurztraminer Turckheim 2018
    Zind Humbrecht Gewurztraminer Turckheim 2018

    Zind Humbrecht is one of the unquestioned kings of aromatic whites. His ceaseless drive to create the worlds greatest examples of his varieties is nothing short of remarkable as are the resulting offerings. A devoted proponent of Biodynamics, a gifted presenter and communicator and a towering figure of modern wine, the first Frenchman to be awarded the MW (International Master of Wine) he has justifiably earned his reputation as one of legends of modern wine.

    The Tuckheim Range is the value tier and represents classic Alsace whites from a regional blend of grapes as well as estate fruit.

    An exuberant Gewurztraminer with roses, lilies and lychee ploughing out of the glass. Crafted from a blend of the tanks used to top off all the different foudres of Gewurztraminer produced by Domaine Zind-Humbrecht, it contains wine from across this estate's vast holdings. The 18 is definitely in a more forward and plush style so expect a rich and opulent styling. Text book stuff! PWS

    2018
    Gewurztraminer
    France
    343
  5. Zind Humbrecht Pinot Gris Turckheim 2018
    Zind Humbrecht Pinot Gris Turckheim 2018
    Zind Humbrecht is one of the unquestioned kings of aromatic whites. His ceaseless drive to create the worlds greatest examples of his varieties is nothing short of remarkable as are the resulting offerings. A devoted proponent of Biodynamics, a gifted presenter and communicator and a towering figure of modern wine, the first Frenchman to be awarded the MW (International Master of Wine) he has justifiably earned his reputation as one of legends of modern wine.

    The Tuckheim Range is the value tier and represents classic Alsace whites from a regional blend of grapes as well as estate fruit.

    The nose presetns with ripe honeyed, slightly toasted aromatics. One could almost feel that this wine saw some fresh oak, but no, it spent 12 months in classic old foudres which lends a lovely textured elemtent to the wine. The palate is velvety, elegant, almost soft, yet finishing very dry. There is lovely aromatic presence and richness without feeling heavy or fat. Wonderfully balance and textbook example of Gris in the right hands. Extremely food friendly and drinkable right now! PWS
    2018
    Pinot Gris
    France
    343
  6. Mazeris Canon-Fronsac 2016
    Mazeris Canon-Fronsac 2016
    Shows ripeness and power on the nose with ripe dark berries and volcanic salt. Full body, soft and rich tannins and a long, flavorful finish. Drink in 2022. (91) JAMES SUCKLING

    One of the best things agbout the Bordeaux 2016 vintage was the stregth of the satellite appelations - this Canon Fronsac is a freat example - situated on the right bank but with a lot of Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon you could easly see this as more left bak in style - it is everything a good claret should be dense dark with chewy tannis and cool clean fruit - absoultly delicous and a great price. ALEX WILCOX


    2016
    Cabernet Blends
    France
    356
  7. Senejac 2018
    Senejac 2018
    36 Bottles available at time of offer

    The 2018 Sénéjac has an attractive bouquet of blackberry and raspberry fruits, touches of graphite and pressed flowers. I admire the precision of this Haut-Médoc. The palate is medium-bodied with fine-grained tannins, well-judged new oak (25%) and a touch of dark chocolate toward the finish. This has real panache and class and comes highly recommended. NEAL MARTIN
    2018
    Cabernet Blends
    France
    356
  8. Chateau La Vieille Cure 2017- 375ml
    Chateau La Vieille Cure 2017- 375ml

    Fronsac

     74% Merlot, 22% Cabernet Franc, and 4% Cabernet Sauvignon.

    An utterly delicious red with crushed berries, cappuccino and hints of black olives. Medium-bodied, compact and very soft. Really creamy texture. A blend of 75% merlot, 22% cabernet franc and 3% cabernet sauvignon. Hard not to drink now. So do it! JAMES SUCKLING

    The 2017 La Vieille Cure is deep, fleshy and delicious. In 2017, La Vieille Cure is a bit less dense than it often is, but it still packs a pretty serious punch. Dark red cherry, plum, cinnamon, chocolate and floral notes shape this racy, inviting Fronsac. ANTONIO GALLONI

    The 2017 Vieille Cure has a tightly-packed black cherry and cassis scented bouquet that feels as if it could be more intense once in bottle. The palate is medium-bodied with a candied, pastille-like opening: blackcurrant, crème de cassis and vanilla, lower in acidity than its Fronsac peers but smooth as silk towards the finish. NEAL MARTIN

     

    2017
    Cabernet Blends
    France
    356
  9. Zind Humbrecht Zind 2018
    Zind Humbrecht Zind 2018
    The Zind is classified as Vin de France (table wine) because it contains about 70% Chardonnay, blended with Auxerrois, which is not an allowed grape in AOP Alsace. My father Leonard Humbrecht chose to plant this grape on the coolest part of the Clos Windsbuhl, nearing the forest, because it has the ability to keep great structure and acidity, enhanced by the rocky limestone soil. A small amount of Auxerrois allows to create the perfect balance. Windsbuhl produces elegant style wines, mostly characterized by a lacy and acidity driven structure. In 2018, these grapes performed superbly and made a wine that became dry after a very long fermentation, another characteristic from this vineyard.

    Clear pale yellow colour. The nose shows the strong muschelkalk influence: rocky, lean, still partially closed with some smoky influence. With aeration in a carafe, which is strongly recommended, the nose opens up beautifully and shows more white fruits and citrus aromas, again a signature often found in this vineyard. The palate shows superb aromatics, is vivacious, dry, with a sapid/juicy texture. The finish shows a salivating touch from a ripe acidity. This wine is alive and shows lots of energy and a perfect harmony. ZIND HUMBRECHT

    Bottling date: 1/20202 Alcohol: 12.7° alc; Residual sweetness: 3.3 g/l; Total Acidity 3.7 g/l H2SO4 (5.7 g/l Tar), pH: 3.2; Yields: 68 hl/ha; Optimum drinking period: 2022-2030; Average age of vines: 29 years; Terroir: Muschelkalk calcareous (Trias) facing South - East. Indice 1.


    2018
    chardonnay, White Blend
    France
    343
  10. Zind Humbrecht Pinot Gris Roche Calcaire 2017
    Zind Humbrecht Pinot Gris Roche Calcaire 2017
    Sourced, as always, from the Muschelkalk limestone soils of the coolish Clos Windsbuhl, the sample of the 2017 Alsace Pinot Gris Roche Calcaire starts pure and fresh on the very chalky and lemon-tinged nose, here with lovely sur lie notes. The attack on the palate is racy, pure and fresh, with bright and elegant fruit flavors. Intense and powerful on the finish, this is a very long and structured Pinot Gris that needs a lot of time. Linear style. Nice minerals and fine bitters from the sur lie aging. STEPHAN REINHARDT, The Wine Advocate
    2017
    Pinot Gris
    France
    343
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