Wine & Travel Blogger
The buzz had been circulating and I as a wine taster I was elated to have been given the invite to this excellent Bordeaux tasting put on by host Frédéric Bonnaffous, Director of Dourthe Estates.
Dourthe Wine Brochure [Photo courtesy of Coralee Beaulieu]
By a happy coincidence, I had been to Bordeaux wine country the Summer of 2016. This part of the country combines a pleasant climate and gently rolling countryside, ideal for summer vacationers and a leading destination for wine lovers, I might add.
Its unique location has influences of the Atlantic maritime climate, a terroir consisting of rocky mounds of gravel, mineral rich soils and gravel with a subsoil of clay which help to impart the unique taste, character, and style found in most Bordeaux wines.
As such Bordeaux wines are unique and have one of the most copied blends around the world; typically a combination of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot and Malbec (with a tiny amount of Carménère).
When you think of balanced Bordeaux, the wines should hit that superb fine-line between the elements of acid, fruit, sweetness and tannins. Dourthe Estates has cracked that proverbial mark by creating beautiful and austere wines.
Viewing all of their bottles lined up; it was impossible not to be impressed. Once poured a good selection of the wines are inky, dark, generally opaque, with rims the color of purple. The lighter wines are mostly dark, deep ruby colored.
Various bottles opened and tasted [Photo courtesy of Coralee Beaulieu]
Across the board, the wines are aromatic, fresh, and clean. Medium to full-bodied wines with aromas that are pure, fruit-driven (plums and blackcurrant), cassis, blackberry, dark cherry, vanilla, black cherry, spice, graphite but also floral, and most have an earthiness like smelling green pepper, cedar, damp soil or lead from a pencil.
But the real action takes place on the palate. The tannins and acidity are pleasantly high, but it’s the sweet, ripe, fruits and their freshness that stays with you. Their wines show lots of structure and backbone, with layers upon layers of complexity. Mouthfeel is often soft, silky, and elegant and can feel like velvet on your palate.
One wine which does deserve a special mention is the “Essence de Dourthe 2010”.
“A vintage where the Dourthe oenologists and their teams were given carte blanch to produce the finest possible grapes from the best parcels of 4 of their estates (Château Belgrave, Château Le Boscq, Château La Garde, Château Grand Barrail Lamarzelle Figeac.) The result is a tremendous showcase of their abilities and skills for blending. New oak, unique, ripe red fruit, full-on chocolate and caramel characteristics. With hints of vanilla, sandalwood, and black pepper notes. Big round tannins but well integrated and harmonious. Serve with juicy, seared rare steak.”
Dourthe Estate's reds, on all levels, live for food. It’s like they were specially crafted for the perfect Bordeaux pairing of their region’s best lamb, beef, ham, and local cheeses.
But alas we are not in Bordeaux but rather in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. In fact, our Bordeaux tasting was at the beautifully appointed Cooper Room at the Andaz Hotel, Byward Market. Our cozy tasting room, which overlooked beautiful downtown Ottawa, was the perfect spot, for us to taste the delicious selection of Dourthe Estate wines and to enjoy a beautifully prepared lunch by the hotel.
A cornucopia of freshly prepared foods, like seared flank steak, traditional baked ham, Indian-style braised lamb, roasted veggies and too many cheeses to dare mention.
Sampling of foods offered [Photo courtesy of Coralee Beaulieu]
It has been one of the most fun tastings that I have had the good fortune to experience.
I may not have been to Bordeaux for this tasting, but luckily for me; there is a treasure trove of Dourthe Estate Bordeaux wines available on the market and drinking well now, so I won’t be too gloomy there’s always next time.
Happy Tasting! Cheers Cora