Monday, May 21, 2012

Graves, red wine from this Bordeaux wine region?

Welcome back to the Grape News Importing, Ltd. blog and the continuation of my report from the Bordeaux wine trail.

The Graves (meaning small pebbles-and there sure are a lot of them in the clayey soils) is the southernmost appellation in the Bordeaux region, and is known more for it's crisp white wines made from Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon. Red Graves wine is less familiar to many, and usually a fabulous value!

I have been working for the last 16 years with Jean-Pierre Duprat, owner and winemaker at Chateau du Maine, just outside the city of Langon, and he is surprised to hear that you haven't yet tried the appellation's red wines, or at least his wine:

I assured him that his wine is very much appreciated in the Chicago market, and that I was working diligently to introduce more folks to his richly flavored, medium bodied red Graves wine, at which point he relaxed and agreed to fill my glass with his 2009 vintage (not yet released) for me to sample and enjoy with dinner.

There is an immense pride of ownership that he takes with his wines and I have bought every vintage since the 1993, which was released just as I made his acquaintance. That of course has grown into a warm friendship, and we often go out for a bike ride (velo- French for bicycle) in the late afternoon when I arrive so we can better enjoy the wonderful dinner (gastro - short for gastronomic) prepared by his wife Nicole. What Jean-Pierre calls our "Velo-Gastro" meetings.

With the first shipment of his 1993 vintage, there was a case of his 1992, a notably very difficult vintage in the entire Bordeaux region where some appellations didn't make wine at all. Upon asking why he included this case, free of charge, he responded "I wanted you to see what I could do in a difficult year", and the wine was just lovely.

You can find his wine at Binny's Depot locations in Chicagoland, and at many fine French restaurants such as Chez Moi, Kiki's Bistro, and others.


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