Bordeaux Red Blends from Bordeaux, France
Color is deep almost opaque, purplish red, high viscosity, with fuchsia rim. The nose boasts of pure black fruit aromas: blackberry and blackcurrant. The good integration of the wood lifts up all the flavors. Full bodied, yet multilayered it is soft as silk in the mouth. This beautiful wine can be associated with lamb, duck or roasted meats and ideal with mature cheeses (Roquefort, old Gouda, mimolette...
The Wine Advocate - "The flagship, luxury cuvee of 100% Merlot from the innovative, visionary firm of Despagne, Girolate is a cutting edge, amazing tour de force in winemaking. The smoky, chocolaty, espresso, and mocha aromas are interwoven with gorgeous layers of black cherry and berry fruit. This full-bodied, unctuously-textured, layered wine has as much in common with a big Napa Cabernet as it does with a Bordeaux Merlot. Its soft tannin, low acidity, and serious concentration are amazing when you consider its humble pedigree. Enjoy this hedonistic smorgasbord of wonderful things over the next 6-8 years."
Wine Enthusiast - "The Despagne family returned to tradition with the making of Girolate, planting a vineyard to the former high density, keeping winemaking simple. This is the 2003, the latest release. Reflecting the heat of that vintage, it is soft, textured, rich and spicy, with a southern warmth. Pure superripe Merlot."
Located 12km south of Saint Emilion, Girolate benefits an exceptional terroir. A meticulous work is being done to allow the outstanding aromatic and savoury potential of the fruits coming out of this particular plot. The entire Despagne expertise is being used to reach excellence in every ways. Care for each detail is meant for an out-of-the-way wine that is risking the impossible. Strict limitations of appellations are now bound to be enterily overthrown.
As far as we know the name “Girolate” comes from the ancient french [giro]: "the one who turns" and [late]: "great piece of land". We believe this terroir was very much sought after by poters for the excellent quality of its clay. Beneath the ground lies a thick layer of limestone enclosing a quarry. The 10ha plot is an exceptional terroir ideal for merlot. In order to favor its natural expression, we have choosen to plant at a very high density, spacing the vines by a mere meter that is to say 10 000 vines per ha. Because we wante them to concentrate all their energy on the 4 bunches they were to carry, whe have constrained them to grow as "bonsai’s" meaning very close to the ground with a high canopy. According to Jean Louis Despagne’s principle: "it is vain to believe one can create in the cellar what the vine wasn’t able to deliver" View all Girolate Wines
About Other BordeauxA few extra appellations:
Bourg & Blaye
These two appellations are just across the Gironde river from the Haut-Medoc – a bit northwest of St-Émilion and its satellites. Bourg is the smaller appellation, nestled under the much bigger Blaye. Both have AC status, Cotes de Bourg AC and Cotes de Blaye AC. One step up on the AOC chain is the Premieres Cotes de Blaye AC, producing excellent red wines. Both regions rely primarily on Merlot, blending with Cabernet Sauvignon and some Cabernet Franc. Whites are allowed here too – usually Sauvignon Blanc, creating dry and pleasant wine.
Listrac & Moulis
These two appellations are situated in the western part of the Medoc, in that they are further inland from their more prestigious neighbor communes like Margaux and Pauillac. In typically Medoc fashion, the wines are based on Cabernet Sauvignon. Due to their location further inland, the soils are dense and retain water, leading to wines that can be more rustic than those wines from communes on the riverbanks. But seek out the good producers, as many bargains are to be had in the Cru Bourgeois of these regions.
Entre Deux Mers is not exactly what it means – between two seas - as technically it's between two rivers. The wines produced in this region, sandwiched between the Garonne & Dardogne rivers, are light and charming and often reasonably priced. The AC of Entre Deux Mers is only for white wines, reds from the region will be listed as Bordeaux AC. Like other Bordeaux whites, wines of the area are made from Sauvignon Blanc, Semillon and Muscadelle. Light, crisp, citrus-y and floral, these wines are great summer drinkers.
Bordeaux & Bordeaux Superior
Bordeaux wines that do not fall under a specific appellation are labeled "Appellation Bordeaux" or "Appellation Bordeaux Superieur." The majority of wines made in Bordeaux fall into one of these categories. Wines from these two classifications are made with grapes that come from any appellation within Bordeaux – white or red. Most of the wines are white, and much of the red comes from Entre Deux Mers, where only white wines can bear the namesake appellation on their label. Bordeaux Superior has slightly stricter regulations than the Bordeaux AC.
About France - Other regionsWhen it comes to wine, France is a classic. Classic blends, grapes and styles began in the country and they still remain. Think about it - people ask for a Burgundian style Pinot Noir, they refer to wines as Bordeaux or Rhone blends - Champagne even had to pass a law to stop international wineries from putting their region on the label of all sparkling wine.
The top regions of France are: Bordeaux, Burgundy, Champagne, Languedoc-Roussillon, Loire, Rhone. And these regions are so diverse! It makes sense that wine regions throughout the world try to emulate their style. Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah are no longer French varieties, but international varieties. They may not be the leader of cutting edge technology or value-priced wines, but there is no doubt that they are still producing wines of great quality and diversity.
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Alcohol By Volume GuideMost wine ranges from 10-16% alcohol by volume. Some varietals tend to have higher (for example Zinfandel and Cabernet Sauvignon) or lower alcohol levels (Pinot Noir and many white varietals), but there is always some variation from producer to producer. Some wine falls outside of this range, for instance Port weighs in closer to 20%, while Muscat and Riesling are usually a bit below 10%.
Wine Style Guide
Light & Fruity
- Red wines that are more fruit-forward and lighter in tannin and body.
Smooth & Supple
- Medium bodied reds that go down easy, with smooth tannins and supple fruit.
Earthy & Spicy
- Wines where earthy and/or spicy dominate the flavors – typically medium to full body.
Big & Bold
- Full bodied wines that have concentrated fruit and are higher in alcohol and/or tannins. Some need age.
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