Very few things will get me up early, but the prospect of visiting two chateaux in Graves with lunch is one of them. So there we were at 06.45 waiting for our coach to transport our party to Cérons then Cadillac which lies just to the north of the Sauternes/Barsac region. An opportunity to sample the regions wines lay ahead, I’m a great fan of Graves and Sauternes and the weather looked very promising.
Our first stop was Clos Bourgelat in Cérons where we tasted a selection of Graves rouge and blancs under the enthusiastic guidance of Dominique Lafosse whose family have produced wine on the estate for generations since 1889. All the wines were very good, with some varied opinions on which white was the better of three offered.
Production of Sauternes styled wine is a tricky and expensive affair. The autumn mists from the river, encourage the growth of a mushroom which in turn create the conditions for Botyritis which in turn, infects the grapes with the fungus which starts noble rot. This delicate process reduces the acidity of the grape whilst increasing sweetness and aroma. To me, it’s0 just pure alchemy along with the skill of the producteur who must pick four times the amount of grapes than what goes into an ordinary bottle of wine, making your 20 euro bottle of Sauternes a real wine bargain!
So, our next wine – Clos Bourgelat AOC Cérons was a complete surprise. First taste I considered it a good Sauternes around the 18 euro mark which is entry level. A truly excellent wine at a very reasonable 11.90 euros (2019) and what a find. The Cérons AOC is an appellation for sweet white wines produced in a similar style to Sauternes, picking late to encourage noble rot. As there are no classified estates this makes it well priced and highly reccomended.
Next up was their Vignobeles de Sanches Sauternes, which really was something special, a kaleidoscope of flavour in every sip and what’s more it displayed all the attributes of a wine that should age beautifully – in my opinion that is which proved correct when next tasted in 2020 showing very promising development.
Clos Bourgelat: 4, Caulet Sud, 33720 Cérons
Tel: 05 56 27 01 73
Following that we crossed the Garonne to Cadillac for lunch on the terrace at the Château de la Tour hotel and restaurant for an exceptional meal accompanied by Dominique with a further opportunity to enjoy the excellent selection his wines with our meal, he even had one that went well with the chocolate desert.
After lunch we had an extremely nice walk along the cliffs with stunning views of Sauternes and the very prestigious estate, Château d’Yquem champion of Sauternes stood out with its majestic buildings.
So, next stop was Château Bardins in Pessac-Léognan formerly Graves with another tasting following an interesting explanation on the difficulties of cultivating vines under the biologique certification. They are currently five years in to the seven year process but their wine didn’t convince me. However a fair few others thought otherwise buying several cases and before too long we were on a way back accompanied by the satisfying chink of bottles from the back.
Château BARDINS – Chemin de la Matole – 33140 Cadaujac
GPS : 44°44.O.N.– 0°34.72.
Tél: 05 56 30 78 01
Finally, thank you for the invitation, a fantastic day and very much appreciated.