The 2015 vintage in Bordeaux should easily be the best vintage since 2010, with reds, dry whites and sweet wines all showing the potential for greatness. This Saturday we are kicking off the first of many tastings to explore the diverse Bordeaux appellations and Châteaux within the frame of the 2015 growing season. We begin with two affordable wines from the interior of the region, Entre-Deux-Mers.
The Despagne family are by no means the only producers in Bordeaux trying to make great wine in less celebrated corners of the region but they certainly are the most successful. Situated between the rivers Garonne and Dordogne on the unsung terroirs of the Entre-Deux-Mers, they have become internationally recognized for the cuvée “Girolate” – a Bordeaux red of exceptional quality.
“Girolate” is made with a philosophy based on respect for the vines so that they will produce the most expressive fruit. This reasoning is employed for their less ambitious wines as well. Indeed, when Château Mont-Pérat was purchased by the Despagne’s in 1998, it was in a state of disrepair. But recognizing the estate’s potential and inspired by the general terroir of gravelly-clay on a limestone base, the family, along with Technical Director Joël Elissalde, rehabilitated the entire vineyard by establishing the proper grape varieties for the diverse soil structures and began a regime of high density planting to ensure quality.
The estate covers over 200 acres high up on the hillsides near the village of Capian. The Despagnes are currently developing their farming techniques to incorporate biodynamic principles. They continually promote diversity on their land for a healthier overall environment while at the same time limiting the use of external inputs to what is necessary for the fitness of the vines.
Château Mont-Pérat is notable for more than its quality. The Japanese manga Drops of God featured the 2001 Château Mont-Pérat early on in the series and subsequently found a massive following in the Asian market.
Château Mont-Pérat (Bordeaux Rouge 2015)
Produced mainly from Merlot grapes blended with Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon, Château Mont-Pérat Bordeaux Rouge is aromatically intense, first with mixed dark berries before opening into notes of mocha, leather, and a leafy autumn hike. On the palate is a balanced mix of exuberant fruit, soft tannins, and a lengthy finish that all combine for an experience that punches well above its weight class. A glass of this might turn your grilled hamburger into a steakburger.
Château Mont-Pérat (Bordeaux Blanc 2015)
Château Mont-Pérat Bordeaux Blanc is a blend of Sauvignon blanc, Sémillon and Muscadelle. On the nose it is an aromatic salad of peach, grapefruit, and lychee with an underlying note of grassy meadow. A sip is juicy and fresh, with just a hint of minerality. A party wine by every measure at a price made for stocking up in the event of a spontaneous gathering.