Estate: Built in 1832, Château Maison Blanche received the first official distinction of “Cru Bourgeois” in 1932. The estate was passed down from generation to generation through the female line until Patrick Bouey of the Maison Bouey family acquired it in 1998. Bouey embarked upon renovations to the estate and vineyards that included adopting sustainable methods “in the interest of quality and respect for the environment”.
[Jean Bouey founded Maison Bouey in 1821 with the purchase of the first vineyard, in the heart of Médoc. Producing 16 million bottles a year, today Maison Bouey is one of the last family and independent houses left in Bordeaux.]
Winemaking: Each vineyard plot is maintained individually and the wines from each one are fermented separately. Grapes were sourced from vineyards with clay and limestone soils. The oldest vines were planted in 1954, with an average vine age of 25 years. Aged for 12 months in French oak casks, with 1/3 new barrels.
Tasting Notes: Dark garnet in colour with aromas of blackberry, sweet oak and brambly, woodsy spice. Dark berries are dusted with crushed pink peppercorn. Silky tannins frame subtle vanilla and toast notes. Licorice, spice and soft oak comprise the dry, lengthy finish. Fantastically smooth and well balanced, great on its own or with a wide variety of dishes.
80% Merlot, 20% Cabernet Sauvignon
Mis en Bouteille au Chateau
Enjoy now thru 2019
Rated 91 points by Wine Spectator
A serene, straightforward Bordeaux for under $15 that is fantastic on its own or with everyday dishes.
Estate: Château Saint Julian is a 30 hectare estate purchased in 2004 by a former Parisian businessman who always dreamed of producing Bordeaux. He revived the estate and his first vintage, the 2005, has been called “tremendous”. As renowned importer Skurnik Wines states on their website: “The story behind the estate is not necessarily romantic, but it does convey a certain truth of the Bordeaux region.”
Winemaking: Grapes are sourced from vines with an average age of 30 years, grown in clay-limestone soil. Aged for 12 months in oak, 30% new oak.
Tasting Notes: Dark garnet in colour with aromas of berries, peppery spice and oak. Flavours mirror the aromas with dark berry preserves over a peppery oak core. Silky tannins compliment the dry finish. Straightforward, this is a solid value Bordeaux to pair with everyday dishes.
60% Merlot, 20% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Cabernet Franc
Mis en Bouteille au Château
$13 [average price]
Enjoy now thru 2017
Estate: Chateau Marac is located on a plateau overlooking the Dordogne River, facing the slopes of St. Emilion and Castillon in Bordeaux, southwestern France. Alain Bonville founded the 54 acre estate in 1974. Rather then continue on with the “famous Champagne house” owned by his family, he was passionate about growing and producing his own wines in Bordeaux.
Winemaking: The estate has been certified organic since 2011. The predominate soil in the vineyards is a mix of clay and limestone.
Tasting Notes: Garnet with brick highlights in colour, with aromas of mixed berry jam, black pepper and earthy tree bark. Fantastically well balanced with fruity preserves underscored by tobacco and hints of licorice. Dry, silky tannins compliment the incredibly lengthy, spice infused finish. Lovely on its own or with a wide variety of dishes.
70% Merlot, 20% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Cabernet Franc
Mis en Bouteille au Chateau
Enjoy now thru 2019
A second label from a Second Grand Cru Classé 1855 Château, from an exceptional vintage, amounting to a fantastic value and opportunity to enjoy an esteemed Bordeaux without breaking the bank.
Estate: Château Durfort-Vivens is located in the communes of Margaux, Cantenac and Soussans on the left bank of the Gironde in Bordeaux, and is classified as Second Grand Cru Classé en 1855. The Château takes its name from two families; the Durfort de Duras family, who founded the estate in the 14th century and the Viscount of Vivens who’s name was added in 1824. In 1937 the the estate was sold to a company whose largest shareholder was the winemaking Lurton family. By 1961 Lucien Lurton acquired and restored the property and vineyards, today his son Gonzague heads the estate.
Winemaking: Vineyards are located on hilltops with “particularly poor gravel” soil. It is this soil that allows for “a full expression of the finesse and silkiness of the tannins, resulting in the freshness and elegance characteristic of a great Margaux”. Sustainable viticulture is practiced, along with a minimum use of pesticides. Aged in oak barrels for 16 months. Vivens is the second wine of the estate. Typically, second wines are made from younger vines then the first label, or even leftover, unfinished wine intended for the first label.
Tasting Notes: Dark garnet in colour with aromas of cherry, oak bark with hints of menthol and earth. Herbs, gravelly minerals and silky tannins wrap around a dark fruit core [think black cherry, plum and blackberry]. The fruitiness rings true thru the finish, enveloping hints of rosemary and dark chocolate.
85% Cabernet Sauvignon, 15% Merlot
Mis en Bouteille a la Propriete
Enjoy now thru 2020 +
Rated 90-92 points by Wine Enthusiast
Rated 90 points Wine Spectator
Rated 89 points by Wine Advocate
Winemaking: I was rather vexed to not locate any additional estate or winemaking information other than what was listed on the label.
Tasting Notes: Dark garnet in colour with savoury aromas of herbs, black olive and black pepper. Simple and smooth with a well-mannered edge, tart red currant and cherry notes glide into earth and spice elements on the dry finish. Easy drinking, a good value and tasty companion at the table.
Blend of Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc
Côtes de Bordeaux
Mis en Bouteille au Chateau [front label]
Bottled and shipped by Haury [back label]