Red Wine Chateau Brown Blanc 2016. Chateau Brown is named after its 18th century owner, the Scottish wine trader John Lewis Brown, although the estate’s roots date right back to the late Middle Ages. Over the past couple of centuries the chateau’s fortunes have alternated between disrepair and glory. In 2004 it was taken over by the Mau family, prominent Bordeaux wine merchants since 1897, who have made it their mission to improve vineyard management and winemaking at the chateau. The chateau has traditionally been better known for its white wines like this classic Chateau Brown Blanc than its red wines. It’s typically a blend of 70% Sauvignon Blanc and 30% Semillon from their estate vines, with the fruit fermented in smaller stainless steel tanks which are temperature-controlled to preserve freshness and varietal typicity. The white wine then ages in 50% new French oak for 8 months. In the glass there’s an attractive light golden hue and enticing aromas of freshly-cut grass, dried herbs, and bright green apple notes. The first sip reveals a zingy acidity, light body, and a pure, clean finish with hints of ripe pear, citrus, and baked apple. A great white to serve as a refreshing aperitif or partner for leafy salads, roast chicken, and grilled fish.
Red Wine Chateau Brown Blanc 2016
Red Wine Chateau Carbonnieux 2016. Decant 1 hour before serving. Dating back to the 12th century, the historic Château Carbonnieux is one of Bordeaux’s oldest estates and was one of the very first to be included in the Graves wine classification system. Today it’s also one of the largest estates in Pessac-Léognan with 92 hectares of vineyards which are almost evenly split between black and white grape varieties. Their Grand Vin is made from the estate’s finest plots each vintage and is typically composed of two-thirds Cabernet Sauvignon to one-third Merlot. It is vinified in stainless steel tanks and then aged in 33% new French oak barrels for 18 months to soften Pessac-Leognan’s characteristically firm tannins and well-built structure. This wine benefits from decanting ahead of serving to reveal the full beauty and complexity of the cuvee. On the nose there are bold dark fruit aromas along with undertones of spice, tobacco leaf, and dried herbs which carry through onto the palate. The first sip reveals a generous full body supported by grippy tannins and a muscular structure with a long finish. This is a wine with a long future ahead of it which will respond well to another decade or so in the cellar. If you’d prefer to enjoy it now, try pairing with rich dishes like a prime ribeye steak or hearty meat stews.
Red Wine Chateau Prieure Lichine Confidences de Prieure Lichine 2016. Wine was first made here centuries ago when the property was a priory for Benedictine monks. Following the French Revolution the estate was broken up and sold off and its fortunes would only be revived in the 1950s when it was acquired by wine merchant Alexis Lichine. As the legend goes, shrewd businessman Lichine bought the chateau for a bargain price since it was in such poor condition. Over the years Lichine nursed the property back to health, growing its vineyard holdings to some 58 hectares of prime plots spread across the Margaux region and renovating the winery extensively. Under the watchful eye of Lichine’s son, Sacha, the chateau continued to blossom in the early 1990s with the help of famed consultant winemaker Michel Rolland. The estate’s second wine is Confidences de Prieure Lichine which is predominantly made from Merlot and a smaller proportion of Cabernet Sauvignon. Crafted from younger vines than the Grand Vin, the wine is aged in second and third-use French oak barrels for 14 months. The result is a charming Margaux that is approachable even when young thanks to the vibrant dark fruit character, smooth tannins and well-built structure. Thanks to the high proportion of Merlot the texture is velvety smooth with luscious cassis, blackberry and ripe plum notes on the mid-palate which linger on the long finish.