Chateau Bellevue Claribes Bordeaux Sainte Foy 2003
The 28 acres estate is planted to both vineyards and lush floral gardens. The wine produced from the vines is 66% Merlot for fruity roundness, 20% Carbernet Franc for structure, color and spice, and 14% Cabernet Sauvignon for lush cassis flavor and tannin. It is drinkable now or can be aged for 3-5 years.
In 2003, crop levels were very low, so the wines are very concentrated. With quantity low and quality very high, this is a rare bargain in an otherwise expensive vintage.
This wine pairs well with hearty stews, aged hard cheeses and all grilled meets.
The estate, located in Sainte Foy, half way between Saint Emilion and Monbazillac, has a rich oenological history manifesting itself in the limestone caves where Gallo-Romans stored wines made from vines planted in 235 B.C.
More recently, monks from a nearby abbey made wines to quench the thirst of peasants in the Middle Ages. The caves at the estate are used to this day.
In most of France, wines are named by their place of origin and not by the type of grape (with the exception of Alsace). Just like a red Burgundy is by law, always made of Pinot noir, a red Bordeaux is a blended wine composed mainly of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. Depending on the laws of the village from which the grapes come, the conditions of the vintage and decisions of the winemaker, the blend can be further supported by Cabernet Franc, Malbec, Petit Verdot and in rare cases, Carmenere. So popular and repeated has this mix of grape varieties become worldwide, that the term, Bordeaux Blend, refers to a wine blended in this style, regardless of origin.