Wine tasting in Bordeaux

This article has been submitted by Penny Long

So…for purely for research purposes …I signed up for a guided walk involving wine tasting in the Entre-deux-Mers (between two seas) region of Bordeaux, near the Garonne River.

In the morning, we took a two hour leisurely stroll over the hills and through some vineyards.  The first winery we went to was Château de Grand Branet, a 17th century château in Capian, where we tasted, OK drank, some reds with a delicious picnic lunch in the Château hall (asparagus, pâté, foie gras, bread, freshly cracked walnuts and cheese).  A lovely lady called Blanche served our picnic:  there is also bed and breakfast accommodation available in the actual Château from only 65 euro.  The Estate has been classified as Premières Côtes de Bordeaux red appellation; and it produces merlot and cabernet sauvignon grapes.

Unlike Australian wines, the bottles are marketed using the appellations (or official regions) of the vineyards.  Bordeaux is renowned for red wines, although roses (remember claret, “clairet”, a dark rose popular years ago – perhaps 1980’s – maybe same vintage as Nik Kershaw?), and a few whites are also made in the region.  Most bottle labels do not indicate the grape varieties used in each wine ie percentage of cabernet, merlot etc.

At the second chateau, Château de Marsan, we tasted a selection of red and white wines al fresco, whilst sitting on a terrace in the late afternoon sun.  The Gonfrier family came from Algeria, bought their first vineyard in the early 1960’s, and so they are relatively new to the industry.  I believe it is a “Château” in name only and that the word “Château” is used purely for marketing purposes.  The processing plant was massive (géant/giant), in comparison to Château de Grand Branet (nain/dwarf) there were large numbers of large vats (stainless steel and concrete), oak barrels and the bottling plant was also very big.  I particularly liked the rose at this Château.

Apologies for not making any tasting notes to describe the wines but I enjoyed them all – quelle une surprise!

See websites for more info:

http://chateaugrandbranetuk.free.fr/article.php3?id_article=1

http://www.gonfrier.fr

The walking wine tour was booked through Bordeaux Tourism Office.

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