This article explores the virtues of the Bordeaux wine region Graves. It also includes a wine review and food pairing.
Our current French Winophiles journey through Bordeaux concludes in the wonderful Graves AOC. Graves is often on the losing end in a comparison to the Médoc. However, long before the marshes of the Médoc were cleared to grow grapes, Graves had been producing high quality wines. It is considered the birthplace of high quality Bordeaux but lost its footing when only one of its Chateaux, Haut-Brion, was included in the Médoc dominate 1855 classifications. However, Haut-Brion was so revered it came in at number one.
The prestige of Graves was further diminished it 1987 when it was broken into regions and Pessac-Leognan AOC was established, encapsulating the finest Graves red and white wines. Furthermore, when Sauternes became its own appellation the greatest sweet wines in France moved out of the general Graves AOC. Today Graves is known for wines of value. If one cannot afford a Pessac-Leognan Bordeaux rouge, look for a Graves AOC label instead. At En Primeur I sampled a Chateau de Chantegrive and Chateau Ferrande from Graves and found them both to be lovely. I also had pleasure of tasting a few Pessac-Leognan Bordeaux rouge that I enjoyed including Chateau Picque Caillou, Chateau Olivier, Chateau Haut-Bergey, and Chateau Pape Clement. Furthermore, I enjoyed the most amazing day at Chateau Pape Clement this past April while in Bordeaux with Millesima as a guest of Bernard Magrez. To revisit my day filled with great wine, food, historical artifacts, horses, drones and the most amazing wine glasses I have ever used read my article “Château Pape Clément: Back to the Future.”
While in Bordeaux I also attended a class highlighting the 2015 vintage at Chateau d’Yquem. Before the class we had a leisurely lunch at the Chateau as we sipped the world’s best Sauternes and strolled the grounds. The best way to describe it was: perfect.
I brought home a few wines from Pessac-Leognan AOC, including a 2005 Chateau Pape Clement, and a couple of outstanding Sauternes, would have bought a Chateau d’Yquem if I could have found one for sale. But I am letting those wines rest peacefully. For this article I wanted to try a wine from the Graves AOC.
2014 Chateau Graville Lacoste Blanc, Graves, France: This wine was crafted of 75% Sémillon, 20% Sauvignon Blanc, 5% Muscadelle from vines 45-48 years old. It poured a glistening gold into the glass; aromas of ripe white peaches, lemon/lime zest, and crushed stone cascaded from the glass; on the palate the firm mineral foundation was pronounced with a zesty mouth-feel, penetrating acidity that coated the mouth in a long finish; really pleasing wine that we enjoyed. SRP $18; click here to find this wine near you.
When I think Bordeaux Blanc I think seafood and shellfish. The influence of the Garonne River really adds to the minerality and crispness of these wines. I do not cook a lot of French cuisine, though I love to eat it, so I often like to showcase the diversity of French wines. Therefore, I chose to pair this wine with a delicious Spicy Braised Clams with Sausage and Corn. It was a light dish with a just enough spicy heat and tons of flavor. We loved the dish and we loved the wine, it was a really quick and delicious dinner. Make sure you have plenty of crusty bread for soppin up the sauce! I had some fresh pesto left over so I had to add a side of heirloom tomatoes and avocado with fresh pesto to the clams for a great meal!
Roûmieu-Lacoste is in the climat of Haut Barsac, an area famous (and in fact more renowned historically than the Sauternes appellation as a whole) for its particularly robust, powerfully styled moelleux with pronounced acidity. The vineyards are just across the road from First Growth Château Climens on a similar soil: calcareous clay on fissured rock, peppered with red iron, white limestone, and grey flint gravel. The Graville-Lacoste property produces a Graves Blanc, known primarily for its stony soil composition and fresh minerality. This wine and the Bordeaux Blanc of Château Ducasse are very different from others from their appellations: Hervé blends a high proportion of Sémillon (60%) and a splash of Muscadelle (5%) with Sauvignon Blanc (35%), creating a rich, full, aromatic mid-palate to complement the clean finish. These are the perfect go-to whites that pair well with anything from fish to poultry, picnic fare to Indian curries.
Here is what my fellow #Winophiles discovered in Graves:
Jeff from Food Wine Click! gives us a Quick Weeknight Meal: Cod Packets with Graves
Wendy from A Day in the Life on the Farm offers A Gravelly Bordeaux
Camilla from Culinary Adventures with Camilla is having Pizza Night with a Lalande de Pomerol 2011
Christy from Confessions of a Culinary Diva is sharing her perspective on these regions
Jill from L’occasion we are celebrating Harvest in Bordeaux
Have you found a value wine from Graves that you recommend? Or do you prefer going big with Pessac-Leognan? What are your favorite food pairings for these wines? Do you like Sauternes? What is your favorite?
My Song Selection: Sitting outside in Bordeaux cafe is the perfect way to drink Graves Blanc and enjoy a great shellfish meal. Simple, elegant, and easy.
Please join us as we discuss our Graves wine and food pairings at 10CST today using #Winophiles. Then join us in October as we dive into Jura.
Get your own bottle of Chateau Graville-Lacoste 2014 Blanc and let me know what song you pair with it. Cheers!