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Bordeaux, McLaren Vale

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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,
 


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  1. Bondar Rose 2021
    Bondar Rose 2021
    "There must be a bit of magic behind Bondar. All of the wines have an ethereal quality" JANE FAULKNER, Halliday Wine Companion

    We couldn't agree more. There does seem to be a little bit of magic going on behind the scenes here. Certainly great vineyards play their part here but a lot has to be said for what Andre Bondar is doing with the wines. Chat with him and he always reveals a beautfiully considered and throughful approach to wine making that shines through.

    Haliday called the 2021 one of Australia's finest rose and we reckon the 2021 is just as good. 100% grenache, this is a bright, delicate and aromatic rose that presents with a pale colour but lacks nothing on flavour or palate impact. Wild strawberry and red current fruit are flecked with Provencal herbs and an light orange rind twist. Its lithe and lifted but with plenty of succulent fruit. This is a wonderful rose that you will not be able to put down.
    2020
    Grenache
    Australia
    436
  2. Bondar Rose 2020
    Bondar Rose 2020
    A blend of 95% Grenache and 5% Cinsault, sourced from four sites with a range of soil types--from the white sands of Blewitt Springs to the cracking, black clays of Whites Valley. Fruit from all four blocks was hand-picked, then crushed and left to sit on skins for varying amounts of time (three, six and twelve hours).

    Two parcels of Grenache were fermented cooler, while a smaller parcel of the Estate Grenache and Cinsault were fermented warmer in old oak, providing a 'funky' blending fraction that brings food-friendly grip and texture. A pale, fleshy and deliciously red fruited rosé from a producer that can do no wrong. Perfect balance and some lovely complexity make this an exceptional buy.

    This is one of our favourite Rose's the last couple of years and Bondar seem to just produce hit after hit. This is so dangerously drinkable - you have been warned! PWS
    2020
    Grenache
    Australia
    436
  3. Sherrah Shiraz 2019
    Sherrah Shiraz 2019

    Well I think Mike Bennie's review says it all. This is part of the new wave of South Australian producers with a new look of bright, gluggable and deceptively serious wines. No more flattening your palate with 110% oak, this is crunchy and fresh with a nod to it's warm home in the Vale. This is a winemaker to watch. PWS

    The bottle says ‘the king of the Vale’ which is directed probably at the variety shiraz, but I’d say, like our existing monarchy in Australia, it’s a vestige of past – all hail grenache! (and other red grapes).

    Whatever your take on MVale shiraz, this is one that has mojo. Indeed, it’s stellar. It’s rippling with tannin, sure, it’s all dark fruit, dried fruits, kirsch and choc-strawberries, but there’s grip and pucker, good spice, light green herbal detail and a long but fresh finish. It’s hearty, slurpy, heartland stuff, but done really well, effortless you could say, and easy to like. MIKE BENNIE, The Wine Front

    2019
    Nero d'Avola
    Australia
    436
  4. Aphelion Welkin Grenache 2020
    Aphelion Welkin Grenache 2020

    Welkin is an Old English term which means ‘Vault of the Sky.’ Well, I’m old, and English, so it makes sense. It does, however, sound like an Old English term for something quite different. Tasted alongside the Aphelion Confluence 2019, and I like this here Welkin more. And as an aside, I once spent a night in Devon where I wandered into a barn, and all the locals were drinking scrumpy direct from barrel. The dialect was something else, and I remember it well, though I don’t quite remember the walk back to my B&B. Or mebbe I were jis welkin funny.

    Raspberry frog, spiced strawberries, something like iron filings to smell, and a pumice stone texture as it continues. It’s fresh, lively, has grip and interest, and finishes chalky and pretty long, with a sort of rosy and cool minty perfume as it goes. Lovely drink. Excellent. GARY WALSH

    2020
    Grenache
    Australia
    436
  5. Sherrah Red et al Grenache, Shiraz, Nero D'Avola 2019
    Sherrah Red et al Grenache, Shiraz, Nero D'Avola 2019

    This was a delight and utterly delicious surprise. The funny thing was, that this wine was bought in by accident but we loved it so much we just had to have some. These are small batch, Mclaren Vale wines with a focus on freshness with Alex Sherrah heading the charge. We love what he is doing and know you will too.

    Lifted with peppery, sweet spice and bright fruit that is a mash-up of raspberry, black currant and blackberry all fused together. Forward and fleshy with lovely focus and full of energy. The palate is long and easy to enjoy with the blend providing plenty of interest and something a little different to the usual GSM coming out of the region. Top stuff!

    2019
    Grenache
    Australia
    436
  6. 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
  7. Bondar Rayner Vineyard Grenache 2020
    Bondar Rayner Vineyard Grenache 2020

    I like a couple of slices of jamon Iberico before tasting Grenache, which is what I’ve just done.

    Spicy, perfumed, hazelnut and orange zest, smoky meaty edges, red fruits and dried herbs. It’s medium-bodied, fine and firm tannin grip with spiced strawberry and pomegranate, fresh and alive, kind of succulent, yet quite serious. It pulses with energy and runs long and savoury, so much interest, detail, and complexity here. Outstanding. I’d say it’s the best Grenache I’ve tasted from Bondar. GARY WALSH, The Wine Front

    2019
    Grenache
    Australia
    436
  8. Bondar Rayner Vineyard Grenache 2019
    Bondar Rayner Vineyard Grenache 2019
    Rayner Vineyard planted in 1970. It sits on the southern tip of Blewitt Springs. Red fruit, perfume of herbs and roses, cut fennel, spice and almond meal. It's fresh, but flavoursome, some sap and spice, raspberry and basil, fine chalk dust tannin, perfume of dried herb and juicy red fruits to close. Well here's another fine Grenache we've gotten ourselves into. GARY WALSH, Wine Front

    Attractive, fresh red flowers and raspberries sit bright in this single-vineyard bottling. The palate has elegant, long and smooth appeal with fresh red berries and impressively detailed tannins that hold smooth at the finish. Impressive. NICK STOCK, JamesSuckling.com
    2019
    Grenache
    Australia
    436
  9. Yangarra Old Vine Grenache 2020
    Yangarra Old Vine Grenache 2020

    This is the Australian operation of Jackson Family Wines, one of the leading premium wine producers in California, which in 2000 acquired the 172ha Eringa Park Vineyard from Normans Wines (the oldest vines dated back to 1923). The renamed Yangarra Estate Vineyard is the estate base for the operation and has moved to certified biodynamic status with its vineyards. Peter Fraser has taken Yangarra Estate to another level altogether with his innovative winemaking and desire to explore all the possibilities of the Rhône Valley red and white styles. Thus you will find grenache, shiraz, mourvèdre, cinsaut, carignan, tempranillo and graciano planted, and picpoul noir, terret noir, muscardin and vaccarese around the corner. The white varieties are roussanne and viognier, with grenache blanc, bourboulenc and picpoul blanc planned. Then you see ceramic eggs being used in parallel with conventional fermenters. In 2015 Peter was named Winemaker of the Year at the launch of the Wine Companion 2016.

    Hand-picked from vines planted in '46, wild yeast open-fermented. It only takes a millisecond in the mouth for the wine to establish its varietal purity and generosity. It is supple, round and deeply satisfying, red and purple fruits to the fore, fine-grained tannins bringing up the rear. JAMES HALLIDAY

     

    2020
    Grenache
    Australia
    436
  10. 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
  11. 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
  12. 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
  13. Paralian Blewitt Springs Shiraz 2020
    Paralian Blewitt Springs Shiraz 2020

    Springs Hill, Blewitt Springs, planted in 1998. Very old puncheons, and one new hogshead. 22% whole bunch. 160 dozen produced.

    'Panforte' encapsulates it pretty well with all the nuts, chocolate and spice this offers. I love panforte. Aside that, blueberry and fresh blackberry with a grilled meat character. Medium-bodied, juicy dark berries with a meaty savoury edge, firm chamois-like grip to tannin, perfume and ripe raspberry on long fresh finish. Beautiful expression of Shiraz, and well done for not calling it 'Syrah'. GARY WALSH, winefront.com

    2020
    shiraz
    Australia
    436
  14. Clos Floridene Blanc 2017
    Clos Floridene Blanc 2017

    1 BOTTLES remain at time of offer
    The 2017 Clos Floridène Blanc has a really classy bouquet, very well defined with citrus lemon, lime and light crushed pebble aromas. This is very pure and focused. The palate is well balanced with a twist of sour lemon on the entry, a fine bead of acidity with a very saline finish. This is a really interesting Clos Floridène thanks to the expressive Sémillon (91). NEAL MARTIN

    A wine of real distinction and class, the 2017 Clos Floridène Blanc also shows just how appealing the vintage is for Bordeaux's dry whites. Lemon confit, tangerine oil, pear, spice and a kiss of new French oak all grace this soft, wonderfully expressive white from the Dubourdieu family. The 2017 is pure class. That's all there is to it. Tasted two times. (91) ANTONIO GALLONI

    2017
    Sem/Sauv Blend
    France
    356
  15. Doisy Daene 2010 375ml
    Doisy Daene 2010 375ml

    Sauternes (1st Growth)

    Denis Dubourdieu's Barsac cru has an attractive bouquet with subtle notes of cooking apple, pear and lime-flower, all with very fine delineation. The palate displays good weight and a fine thread of acidity, lending tension and poise that leads to a taut finish, showing good botrytis levels for the vintage. With its trademark minerality in place, this Doisy-Daene comes highly recommended.  NEAL MARTIN

    Slightly less sweet than the 09, but still just as highly-strung with a healthy acidity and above all a very vibrant tone of fresh fruit running through the sweetness. A classic Doisy Daene, all natural and tensile, that will be lovely young and probably great old.  BILL BLATCH

    PLEASE NOTE THIS WINE IS OFFERED EN PRIMEUR AND YOU WILL BE CHARGED THE FINAL (NOW) PRICE LESS 20% WITH THE BALANCE DUE WHEN THE WINE ARRIVES IN 2013.

    2010
    Sem/Sauv Blend
    France
    356
  16. Chateau Montravel Blanc (Semillon) 2016
    Chateau Montravel Blanc (Semillon) 2016
    This is a 100% Sémillon form a 1 hectare vineyard located in Montravel, a sub-region of Bergerac.
    The grapes are hand harvested in small lug boxes, bunches are selected one by one. Pressed in an air tight press, the must is then barrel fermented and the wine aged on fine lees with regular batonnage. Aged for eleven months in 1/3 new, 1/3 one year old and 1/3 in two years old oak barrels.

    I love this wine - Semillion grown on chalk with a minerally intense core. It is opulent and dense yet has great freshness. A slight touch of stuck match reduction adds complexity to a lifted bright nose of citrus and minerally notes. Great power and mouth coating flavour and yet finishes crisp and clean. ALEX WILCOX


    2016
    Semillon
    France
    356
  17. La Fleur de Bouard 2010 375ml
    La Fleur de Bouard 2010 375ml

    The 2010 La Fleur du Bouard (80% Merlot, 15% Cabernet Franc and 5% Cabernet Sauvignon) is bottled unfined and unfiltered and hit 14.5% natural alcohol. The wine offers up notes of black raspberry and blueberry pie intermixed with incense, lead pencil shavings and plenty of underlying floral notes. Some background oak is also present. The wine is medium to full-bodied, beautifully pure, voluptuously textured, rich, long and hedonistic and satisfying. Drink it over the next 10+ years. The other cuvee, a limited production wine, can be absolutely magnificent with some bottle age, as the 2000 is certainly proving to be.

    The standard of excellence for Lalande de Pomerol is Hubert de Bouard’s 50-acre property, over half of it located on the highly prized Neac plateau, which consists of clay, sand and gravel sub-soils. ROBERT PARKER, 2013

    2010
    Cabernet Merlot
    France
    356
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