Sunday, 16 June 2013

TN : Château Belgrave 2005, Vignobles Dourthe, Haut-Médoc, Bordeaux, France

Originally a highly reputed hunting pavilion during the reign of Louis XIV, the expansion of the vineyards was particularly influenced by the Coutanceau family, whose name was first adopted for the estate's wines during the classification of Bordeaux wines carried out by Guillaume Lawton in 1815. The "Bellegrave" designation first appeared in 1845, when Bruno Devès, a negociant in Bordeaux, remodelled the estate, favouring vine growing on the finest gravel terroirs. He built residences, tank rooms and wineries, and had the existing residence constructed on the site of the original hunting pavilion. The wine was classified as a fifth growth in 1855, still bearing the name of Coutanceau, whilst the "Belgrave" name was only to be attributed at the beginning of the 20th century by Marcel Alibert, founder of the Syndicate of Crus Classés, and owner of the estate for almost thirty years. The link between wine and hunting explains the ferret depicted on the packaging of the wine, and also the name "Diane de Belgrave" given to its second wine launched to mark the 1987 vintage.

Château Belgrave is one of the oldest wines in the Médoc, situated in Saint-Laurent, bordering the Saint-Julien appellation, with just a stream separating the two. In 1855 it was classified as a fifth growth because of the exceptional quality of its deep gravel soils. The soils at Château Belgrave show remarkable diversity. The two hillocks, which rise to 23 and 26 metres, are made up of gravel and pebbles washed in thousands of years ago by the Garonne River, and which lie on a bed of clay. This type of soil is favourable to late-ripening grape varieties such as Cabernet and Petit-Verdot, which now cover 3% of the surface area following restructuring of the vineyard. There is less gravel towards the foot of the hillocks. At the base, the soil is a mixture of gravel and sand, which acts as an efficient filter, and clay outcrops, which are particularly adapted to the cultivation of Merlot.

This wine is a blend of 53% Merlot, 43% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 4% Petit Verdot. The Merlot was harvested between September 26th and October 1st 2005, the Cabernet Sauvignon was harvested between October 10th to the 14th 2005, and the Petit Verdot on October 5th 2005. The wine was bottled in June 2007.

This wine received 3 out 5 from Decanter magazine, 89 points from the Wine Advocate, 91 points from Wine Spectator

Colour : Dark red/blue hues

Aroma : Blackcurrant, plums, vanilla, cedar, herbs

Taste : Plums, raspberry, blackcurrant, tar, grainy tannins on finish, try again in one to two years

Alcohol : 13%

Mark : B-

Website : Vignobles Dourthe

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