Friday, 12 October 2007

TN : Chateau Gratien 2005, Gratien and Meyer, Saumur-Champigny, France

This is 100% Cabernet Franc. Grapes were green harvested in July to reduce the yield. The grapes were completely destemmed and pressed. The skins and juice were left to macerate for three weeks before the juice was fermented in stainless steel vats in a temperature-controlled environment (at around 28°C). This was followed by the malolactic fermentation stage. The wine was matured in vats before it was bottled in late May.

The history of Gratien & Meyer is closely linked to the development of the railway. Aware of the importance of this means of transport, Alfred Gratien bought a piece of land known as "Le Petit Puy" in the Saumur district for production purposes. The land was riddled with old mining shafts created during the mining of limestone (locally known as "pierre de tuffeau" or tuffeau limestone) in the 12th Century. The land had been abandoned for years, but was the perfect place for Alfred Gratien to set up his business, so he purchased some 10 km of underground passages. The winery was founded in 1864. In the same year, Alfred Gratien, who was 23 years old at the time, founded two wine houses, one in the Loire Valley near Saumur, and the other in the Champagne region in Epernay. A few years later, in 1874, he made Albert Jean Meyer, an enthusiastic wine connoisseur from Alsace, his partner to ensure the continuation of the company. When Alfred Gratien died in 1885, his widow entrusted the future of the company to Albert Jean Meyer.

The house of Gratien & Meyer lies near Saumur in the heart of the "white" Anjou region. The chalky soil there is known locally as "pierre de tuffeau" (tuffeau limestone).

Colour : Dark plum

Aroma : Herbs, dark fruits, wet hair

Taste : Some red and dark fruits, herbs, long chalky drying tanins on finish

Alcohol : 13.5% (though 12% incorrectly stated in Systembolaget's October 2007 Varunytt)

Price : 79 SEK

Mark : C-

Website : Gratien & Meyer

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