Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Trio of Tasty Tuesday Treats

Is that the sound of the Bordeaux campaign ramping up or is it another little teaser? With the London International Wine Trade Fair dominating the vinous landscape this week we thought that all might be quiet on the Medocaine front. However, today sees the release of 3 very different and interesting wines, from Pessac, Pomerol and St. Emilion.

Chateau de Fonbel, effectively the 3rd wine of the magnificent Chateau Ausone, has decided to release 'en primeur' for the very first time, a sure indication of the confidence and anticipated demand this vintage. We were frankly blown away by all the wines when we visited Ausone and this one really stands up well as it debuts at a reasonable £110 per dozen in bond.

The development of Gazin's Pomerol vineyard in the 12th century up to the French Revolution of 1789 around the commandary of the Knights of St John of Jerusalem, Rhodes and Malta is confirmed by very old documents from the Great Priory of Malta in Toulouse. The present day Chateau Gazin, which was once a village in the 18th century, is located on the site of the hospital built by the Knights to host the pilgrims on their way to Santiago de Compostella. These days the pilgrims you'll find around St. Emilion are usually there for the wine, and this one, made in tiny quantities, is always popular.

And there's a wonderful bit of history behind Les Carmes Haut Brion (see picture above), also released today. Shortly before he kicked the bucket, at the age of 101, Jean de Pontac, Lord of the Manor of Haut-Brion, decided he really must do more to earn his spot in heaven. In 1584, he therefore donated a water-mill, surrounded by meadows and wines, to the Carmelites of Haut-Brion. The Friars kept the name "Haut-Brion" for 200 years, before common usage gradually changed it into "Carmes Haut-Brion". A beautiful spot to visit if you can ever find it...the crack Bibendum orienteering en primeur team did not distinguish themselves on this one!


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