Let me boldly interrupt my summer-long hiatus from blogging by introducing to you the best wine I’ve enjoyed so far this year, hands down: Ch Haut-Bergey Blanc 2007 from Pessac-Léognan.
A find from last fall’s BC Liquor Stores Bordeaux Release, an annual promotion I’m proud to say I used to work on, this wine waited patiently on my wine rack for nearly a year until I decided to uncork ce petit chiot (“this little puppy” in French, naturellement) on my birthday in August.
And what an excellent gift this wine was to the tastebuds, indeed!
A little bit of background info:
Together, Ch Haut-Bergey and Ch Branon (Pessac-Léognan) plus Ch Barde-Haut (St-Emilion) and Clos l’Eglise (Pomerol) comprise the Bordeaux properties of Vignobles Garcin, a small family-owned wine conglomerate.
The white wines of Haut-Bergey come from a mere 2 hectares of Graves soil, well known for a high gravel composition (from which Graves gets its name), excellent drainage, and the unique trait of imparting particularly mineral-tasting characteristics into wines from that area. Graves is 50 km inland from the Atlantic coast, along the southern edge of the Garonne, an estuary of the famous river Gironde in Bordeaux.
I’m sure by now you’re asking, “So… What the hell did it taste like?!” Indulge me while I offer a few more fun facts.
Made of 82% Sauvignon Blanc and 18% Semillon from mature vines (35 years on avg.), only 8,000 bottles of this wine are produced. Hand-picked grapes, grown under la lutte raisonée (philosophy of minimal intervention), are fermented in stainless steel vats; 30% of the grapes then aged in French barrels over 12 months.
Ahh… Okay, now let us give the tasting note.
Ch Haut-Bergey Blanc 2007, Pessac-Léognan
Lemon in colour. The nose reveals an inimitable Bordeaux white wine bouquet of crushed granite, ripe apple, freshly sliced citrus, burnt grass and hints of tropical fruit with cerebral intensity. Not to be outshone by the heady scent, the palate is at once radiant and delicate, with wave after wave of juicy citrus, quince, mango, gravel and subtle warm spices from the oak aging. Supported by a firm acidic backbone, the velvety textured wine feels rich in body yet refreshing at the same time. The only thing holding one back from rushing to down the entire bottle is the wine’s delectable finish.
Fantastic with oysters on the half-shell (which was the food theme of my birthday party), and I’ll wager that a slice of that heavenly chèvre (soft goat’s cheese) with preserved lemon from Les Amis du Fromage would be another mouth-watering pairing. $59 last year at BCLDB.
Some echoes of praise from the pros:
Profile: This white wine is very accomplished: it is just a shame that they have such a miniscule vineyard. They are almost Burgundian in style with their plushness and creaminess. If you can find a bottle, these are well worth picking up for they are very reasonably priced given their scarcity.
- 92-94 pts, Wine Advocate
Golden. Oaky nose. Palate also quite oaky, with nice weight of fruit. Creamy-rich, with nice freshness. Oak tannin on the finish a little dominant. Sound effort. Drink 2012-18.
- 15 points / 3 stars, Decanter