Monday, October 17, 2005

Pessac Leognan

Many estates in the Pessac-Leognan region produce both red and white wine. Dry white Bordeaux is out of fashion these days, however they offer an excellent alternative to the red that is really excellent. Key signatures of the region include damp earth, black olives and chestnuts, which impart an amazing complexity and multidimensions to the wines of the region.

Pessac-Leognan wines lack the prestige of some other Bordeaux regions, but the vineyards are beautiful with committed masters who have guided these vintages to true excellence. Since 1987, in particular, wines of this region have achieved superior quality.

Chateau Carbonnieux

This estate has an interesting history. The original chateau was built around 1380 during the Hundreds Years War. In 1741, it became home to Benedictine monks from the Sainte-Croix abbey. These monks planted grape vines and had a successful business, exporting their Chateau Caronnieux wines all around the world. At one point, the Chateau was sold to the Sultan of Turkey.

The 1930's was devastating to the estate but in the 50's the vineyards were revitalized with fresh plantings. Many years of hard work have paid off, and wines from this estate are fabulous, although the white Bordeauxs are a little more highly regarded than the reds.

In the red vintages, 1999, 1998 and 1995 are recommended. For the whites, 2001 is very highly regarded, as are 1996 and 1997.

Chateau de Fieuzal

Chateau Fieuzal is a superb wine that should merit more attention than it has received. Vintages from 1996 on and have been particularly noteworthy, with magnificent wines produced in 2002 and 2000. Rich with peppery spicy, these wines offer an excellent value for the money. The reds are described as medium bodied, good acidity, with ripeness, hints of cinnamon, blackberry, cranberry and tobacco. The whites carry notes of honey and citrus fruits, and even a bit of pear. For the whites, try vintages from 1999, 2000, and 2001.

Chateau La Mission Haut Brion

Do not miss out on the fabulous wines produced by this renowned chateau, La Mission Haut Brion has managed to create the most wonderful wines, although it can be argued that they are undervalued -at least compared to their sibling, Haut-Brion.

Vintage 2003 Bordeaux was a harvest with high sugar levels. These wines have a vast tannic richness that are silky, smoothly delightful. Cassis, pencil lead, cedar and rich dark fruits are often found waiting in your glass when drinking this wine.

Other worthwhile vintages of the Chateau La Mission Haut Brion include: 2002 and 2000.

Chateau Pape Clement

This vineyard specializes in the red Bordeauxs, however they do produce a wonderful white variety as well. Chateau Pape Clement is produced by focusing on Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Sauvignon Blanc, Semillon and Muscadelle grapes, rich, complex wines are produced.

The 2000, 2001 and 2003 vintages are considered extraordinary. Additionally, 1986 and 1990 are superlative wines.

Chateau Smith-Haut-Lafitte

Vintage 2000 in the Chateau Smith Haut Lafitte, Red Bordeaux, is particularly delicious with good weight, an effortless nose of cedar and ripe cherry. A truly magnificent wine, it is spicy on the finish and definitely a delicious addition to any meal. Vintages from 2003 and 2004 are also excellent with complex layers and excellent texture. While very different in bouquet, these two vintages are worth trying.

Of the white Chateau Smith Haut Lafitte wines, 2000 carries a full bodied, deep and complex palate. With oak, coconut, apple and gooseberry tones, it has a rich fruity flavor in a lovely, dry white wine.