Some 46 years ago, Graves was my first glass of wine at the Bennets End Inn near Ludlow, it was wonderful with the roast beef and since then I’ve always had a soft spot for Graves. Recently in 1987 a large part of Graves was allocated for a new appelation: Pessac-Leognan named after two villages now almost encompassed by the urban sprawl of Bordeaux. The Graves region takes its name from the gravel soil beds predominant in both appelations and produces some superb wines right up to Premier Grand Cru Classe. Presitigous Graves Chateaux include: Haut Brion, Pape Clement and Smith Haut Lafitte which all became Pessac-Leognan following the change. This has benefitted those applicable to use the new appelation, but is somewhat unfair to the remainder of Graves.
With the exception of Ch Haut Brion and the Sauternes region, no other chateaux were ranked by the 1855 clasification. This was rectified in 1953, but it was 1959 before Graves was formally classified, restoring pride and status to the regions wines. Therefore you will see no reference to the 1855 classification on a Graves label unless you’re lucky to be drinking an old Haut Brion.
I’ve enjoyed Chateau Jouvente for several years and this led me to search for another first class affordable Graves when Clos Floridene caught my eye recently, perhaps it was the simple label with the ship? Anyway, Clos Floridene was started by the highly respected oenologist: Denis Dubourdieu, director of the Institute of Vine and Wine Sciences at the University of Bordeaux with his wife Florence in 1982. They own four other estates, of which their family estate Chateau Doisy-Daene produces an excellent Barsac ranked Grand Cru Classé (second growth – hopefully next visit). They also produce: L’Extravagant de Doisy-Daëne under the Sauternes AOC as is permitted in Barsac which looks rather exceptional around 95/100 and priced accordingly so they must be doing something rather special. M Dubourdieu is also credited for the overall improvement of Bordeaux whites and consultant to the renowned Chateau Cheval Blanc in St Emilion – Premier grand cru classé A, making the Clos Floridene Blanc somewhat highly desirable.
Clos Floridene reds are frequently ranked around 86-90 by the Parker index, the whites slighty higher whilst remaining well priced.
Clos Floridene is here just a short distance from Barsac and not far from the river Ciron which flows through the Sauternes region.
Clos Floridene, 33410 Beguey
Tel: 05 56 62 96 51