Our Picks: Sustainably produced Bordeaux
Now in its third year, the annual Bordeaux Wine Month will run thoroughout September and is open for the first time to both the independent off-trade and on-trade. Supported by Bordeaux Wines UK, the initiative encourages their customers to discover the diversity and delights of the region's wines.
Sustainability is a key focus for the CIVB (Conseil Interprofessionnel du Vin de Bordeaux) this year. They are aiming for 100% of the wine-growing region to be engaged in an environmental transition by the end of 2020 and are working with winemakers to reduce CO2 emissions, fossil fuel consumption and water consumption by 20%, as well as increase the use of renewable energy by 20%. In keeping with this, we shine a light below on six sustainably produced wines from our Bordeaux portfolio.
Château Lamothe-Bouscaut, Pessac-Léognan Blanc 2018
Situated in Cadaujac, a few miles south east of Bordeaux, Château Lamothe-Bouscaut dates back to the 12th century. Today, the property is owned by Sophie Lurton and Laurent Cogombles and is one of the most highly regarded producers in Pessac-Léognan. All 12 hectares of vines are sustainably produced and managed by a team of five vineyard workers. Labouring the soils and keeping ground cover between rows is essential, with spraying reduced to a minimum. The vines are grown on deep, gravelly soils and have an average age of 35 years, lending excellent concentration to the finished wine. A blend of 80% Sauvignon Blanc and 20% Semillion, this quintessential white Bordeaux was aged in oak barrels on lees for eight months, resulting in a layered and complex wine with aromas of ripe citrus and stone fruits, and subtle notes of vanilla and fresh pastries from the well-integrated oak.
Château Moulin Riche, Saint-Julien 2014
Until 2009, Château Moulin Riche Saint-Julien was the ‘second wine’ of Château Léoville Poyferré. The Château focuses on sustainable viticulture by reducing the use of machinery and chemical sprays so that the fruit retains its varietal characteristics. All vineyard work is carried out by hand to ensure each vine is carefully tended to. A blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Petit Verdot and Cabernet Franc, the stunning attention to detail in the vineyard and winery ensures this cuvée is built to age. The final blend is aged in a mix of 70% new and 30% used French oak for 18-20 months, which adds a spicy complexity to the palate. The finished wine is very aromatic, with a nose of ripe black cherries and violets.
Château Le Crock, Saint-Estèphe 2016
Château Le Crock is a Cru Bourgeois property in Saint-Estèphe, sandwiched between second growths Château Montrose to the north and Château Cos d'Estournel to the south, where vines have been grown since the late 19th century. The property has been in the Cuvelier family since 1903 and has benefited from the improvements they have made to their other Châteaux, including Château Léoville Poyferré and Château Moulin Riche. The vineyards of Château Le Crock span 32 hectares on gravel-over-clay soils and are planted with Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Petit Verdot and Cabernet Franc. The vines are aged 40 years on average and are grown sustainably. The wine was aged in French oak barrels, 30% new, for 18 months. Displaying layered complexity from time in bottle, the 2016 is drinking beautifully now, with aromas of blackberries, plums, tobacco and dark chocolate, wrapped by silky tannins and lifted by a nicely balanced acidity.
Château Durfort-Vivens, `Vivens` Margaux 2015
Château Durfort-Vivens owes its name to the Durfort de Duras, a powerful family in south west France who came to Margaux in the 14th century. In 1824, the Viscount of Vivens' name was added to that of Durfort. The 1855 classification ranked Durfort-Vivens as a Second Cru Classé. Gonzague Lurton, head of the estate, introduced organic farming in the vineyards and began a conversion to biodynamics in 2009. In 2016, all 55 hectares at Château Durfort-Vivens achieved full biodynamic certification, becoming only the second estate in Bordeaux to be fully certified. All vineyard work is done by hand at the beginning of the vegetative cycle. Pruning is adapted to the vigour of the vine, with the removal of excess buds, shoots and leaves bringing richness, concentration and complexity to the grapes. First produced in 2004, 'Vivens' is the Château's second wine and is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, sourced predominantly from younger vines and select parcels. The wine is aged for 12 months in 20% new oak barrels and 80% one-year-old barrels. This wine is exclusive to Liberty Wines.
Château Capet-Guillier, Saint-Émilion Grand Cru 2015
Château Capet-Guillier is a small estate lying to the south of the town of Saint-Émilion, close to the village of Saint-Hippolyte, between Château Pavie and Château Magrez-Fombrauge. Owned by the same family since the French Revolution, the property was taken over by Antoine Moueix Propriétés in 2009. Stéphane Derenoncourt and Benoît Coq lead the winemaking team, producing an excellent Saint-Émilion Grand Cru from the estate's three hectares of sustainably managed vines. The grapes for the Merlot dominant blend are sourced from the commune of Saint-Hippolyte on the southern slopes of the Saint-Émilion limestone plateau. The wine was aged in 225-litre French oak barrels (light to medium toast), 50% new and 50% one-year-old, for 14 to 16 months. The concentrated aromas of dark fruit, spice, tobacco and wood lead to a rich and full-bodied palate, showing complex cherry, plum, blackberry and sweet liquorice with underlying vanilla, spice, cedar and cigar box notes, and creamy tannins. A great match for a Sunday roast.
Château Petit-Village, `Le Jardin de Petit-Village` Pomerol 2015
‘Le Jardin de Petit-Village’ is the second wine of Château Petit-Village. The vineyards are situated at the highest point of Pomerol and the vines are planted on free-draining, gravel soils, an advantage in the maritime climate. All the vineyards are organically farmed, using horses to plough the fields to avoid compacting the soils. The wine was aged in French oak barrels for 15 months (25% new, 75% one-year-old) and is bold yet elegant with concentrated notes of red and black fruits, cinnamon and sweet spice. On the palate, the full-bodied wine has excellent structure, silky tannins and bright acidity, with flavours of strawberry jam and tobacco box that linger on the finish. The winemakers Serge Ley and Daniel Llose are also responsible for the highly respected Pauillac Grand Cru from Château Pichon-Baron. They work alongside Stéphane Derenoncourt, who consults for the Château.
Photo: Harvest at Château Le Crock