Saturday, January 15, 2011

Chateau La Gorce, Medoc, Bordeaux, France

Once upon a time, the Medoc in France was divided into the Bas-Medoc and the Haut-Medoc, meaning the Lower Medoc and the Upper Medoc. Well, one can easily see why wine-makers in the Bas-Medoc might perceive it as a mild insult to say that their wines come from a Lower place. And so, now we don't say Bas-Medoc, we just say the region is Medoc.

     Amazing that people who make wines with such deliberate structure and integrity could be off-set by such a simple thing.

     Regardless, the Medoc region is still considered as the "little-brother" to the Haut-Medoc region. This can easily be explained by the difference in soils betwixt regions: Haut-Medoc has a higher proportion of gravel, which as we all know drains better. Medoc has a higher proportion of clay. Clay is better for growing Merlot and gravel is better for growing Cabernet Sauvignon, and hence we find wines made in the Haut-Medoc which are capable of greater aging potential.

     Now this doesn't mean in and of itself that the wines from the Medoc are inferior. Not in and of itself. That being said, the Haut-Medoc has the highest number of Premier Cru wineries in all of Bordeaux. Medoc is known as the place to buy wines that are, by their very nature, a bit more supple in the body and definitely more approachable in their youth.

     Chateau La Gorce is situated in the Medoc, in the Blaignan commune which is almost dead centre in the region. The winery was first established in 1821 and has gone through much in its relatively short life (relatively short for Europe). It had money poured into in during its early life by the Gorce family, who built a beautiful monastery. By the 1930's however, the Medoc red had fallen out of favor and was a hard-sell. This after the ravages of the mildew outbreak of 1915 and just before the devastation that was World War II.

     In 1980 Rauol Fabre and his family came to the winery to revive it, and revive it they did... injecting it with their enthusiasm, vigor, and dedication to quality. Chateau La Gorce earned the title of Cru Bourgeois in 1932, and with the hard work of the Fabre family, are earning that title with each successive years release.

2004 Cru Bourgeois, Chateau La Gorce
Blaignan, Medoc, Bordeaux, France
13.5% ABV, $15 (375ml) CAD  **EXCELLENT VALUE**
  • visual:     clean, trace amounts of stem, deep garnet core with slight cherry rim
  • nose:     clean, fully intense showing some age and development with baie rouges such as cherry, raspberry, some deeper notes of blackberry, some rich blueberry, vanilla, oak, old leather, purple flowers like irises
  • palate:   clean, 0 dryness, moderate tart raspberry acids, moderate slightly grippy tannins, moderate+ body, moderate+ ABV, moderate+ intense flavors still showing a hint of youth, but mostly developed; cherry, cherry blossoms, raspberry, blackberry, slight oak and leather, slight vanilla, end palate rich in wild blackberries and dark floral notes. Very good balance, very good structure and excellent length
  • conclusion:    Drink this wine now and drink it often. An inexpensive way to learn about the Medoc, this wine reflects terroir and skilled winemaking. Drink 2011-2013, after that I would worry about the fresh red berry flavors dulling
  • PAIRS WITH:   I read someone in France say they drank this with a carpaccio of duck... beautiful. Finish that with some roasted shallot crostini and a salsa of balsamic marinated strawberries. Prepare to be amazed!
     One last note: the winemakers do not fine or filter their wine. In a nod to great winemakers everywhere, the Fabre family choose to decant their wines; first in stainless steel tanks, and then in used oak barriques for 12 to 18 months. I remember a winemaker who said "Filter the wine and one filters the flavor". Bravo.

CIN-CIN ~!!!    SLAINTE~!!!   CHEERS~!!!

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