Location: Whitby, Ontario, Canada

Born in Malta but in Canada since age 5. Has written three books and presently does several columns about wine and food for various magazines.

Thursday, September 23, 2021

Vignobles de Larose and Crus Bourgeois

 Cru Bourgeois
In 1855 Bordeaux listed 60 chateaux in a price/quality classification named "Crus Classes" or "Classed Growths".  This obviously left many chateaux out of the list. A list of chateaux that were considered just below (though some were obviously regarded as deserving of) "Classed Growth" status was developed in 1932. There were the usual controversies with deletions etc. but in 2020 a new list of 249 chateaux was developed. It will be revised in 2022. 
Presently there are three classification tiers in the present Cru Bourgeois: Cru Bourgeois (179 Chateaux), Cru Bourgeois Superieurs, (56 Chateaux) and Cru Bourgeois Exceptionnel (14 chateaux).
Incidentally, the term  "Bourgeois" has been in use since the Middle Ages when residents of the Bourg (Burgh) of Bordeaux purchased the best land of Bordeaux and thus became known as Bourgeois.

Vignobles de Larose with  CEO and Chief Winemaker, Franck Bijon      

Chateau Larose Trintaudon  2014  Haut Medoc Merlot 51% Cabernet 45%  Petit Verdot 4%
90/100 Points        Crus Bourgeois Superieur
Colour: Dark red 
Nose: Hints of Cedar, dark fruit, dark chocolate, smoke and coffee
Palate: Bone dry, medium bodied with firm tannins and long in length.   
Comments: Still young and vibrant. Loads of fruit. 
Food Matches: Beef, Venison, Lamb. Beef with Barley Stews.     

Chateau Larose Trintaudon  2018   Haut Medoc Merlot 50%, Cab Sauv. 45%, Petit Verdot 5%
92/100 Points       Cru Bourgeois Superieur  
Colour: Dark red
Nose: Ripe, dark fruit such as black berry/currants, coffee, chocolate
Palate: Dry, medium to full Body, nice tannin, fresh acidity and very long length
Comments: Delicious now but will certainly improve for years, amazing wine!
Food Matches: Similar to above but would also include poultry such as Roast Turkey. 

Larose Trintaudon General Comments 
A 16 hectare vineyard was planted on land known as Trintaudon circa 1838 by Henry Delaroze who was owner of Chateau Gruaud  Larose and Larose Perganson. By 1872 the estate had grown to over 300 hectares and had risen to Fifth Growth Classified Status although it was not included in the Classification of 1855. The imposing chateau was built in 1884.
Larose Trintaudon went on to win many medals in competitions but starting in the late 19th Century through the mid 20th Century it fell victim to various diseases and two world wars and not to mention the aspirations of an owner who tried unsuccessfully to turn it into a dairy farm. Needless to say the chateau and its vineyards were devastated.
The 1960's saw a resurgence of this property via the owners of the Spanish Marques de Cacares purchased it and revitalized the chateau and its vineyard, planting 175 acres and modernizing its cellar. Professor Emile Peynaud was hired as consultant. 
The result is obvious. Chateau Trintaudon is now one of the largest estates. It created the Responsible Vineyards Charter and the first agricultural company in Europe to obtain CSR certification at the exemplary level. A leader in sustainable farming, Trintaudon continues to be a great example of what can be done when all things such as employees, animals, plants, vines, environment and wine are treated in a sustainable and fair way.

Chateau Arnauld  2012   Haut Madoc  Cabernet Sauvignon 64%, Merlot 36%     
90/100 Points           Cru Bourgeois Exceptionel
Colour: Very dark Red    
Nose: Mushroom, smoke, tobacco, black fruit, burning leaves, forest floor
Palate: Full bodied and still powerful, tannin still strong but loosening giving way to suppleness yet indicate still potential developmental  Integrated with Long finish.
Food Matches: A wine for game such a venison, moose, boar. Can be a super match with 16 oz (500 gms) bacon wrapped Filet Mignon.  
Comments:  An exceptional wine showing no sign of slowing down. Could develop for several more years though delicious now. 

Chateau Arnold 2018  Haut Madoc Cabernet Sauvignon 49%, Merlot 45%, Petit Verdot 6%
92/100 Points      Cru Bourgeois Exceptionel
Colour: Dark,  Almost Purple 
Nose: Dark fruit, plum, blackberry, currant, figs, vanilla wood
Palate: Full, powerful yet elegant, firm tannin is accessible but very capable of integrating with the flavours of this wine. The mouthfeel is full of soft silkiness that is full of ripe fruit. Very long length.
Food Matches: For your best Filets, Roasts and Game. 
Comments: A wine to keep which will develop very well of the next few years. Classed growth quality!

Chateau Arnauld General Comments 
One of the things that got me interested in wine is the exciting historic factor involved in various wineries and vineyards. Arnauld has all of these. The Priory of Arcins on which the land occupied by the Chateau is on, was host to many pilgrims travelling from various parts of Europe to Galicia, Spain seeking to see the body of the apostle Jacque (Saint James the Great, Christ's first apostle) which was discovered by a hermit called Paleyo in 813 AD.  
Pilgrims came to the site at Santiago de Compostela in droves----many of them stopping for food and wine at the Priory and hosted by the Commanderie de Saint-John-de-Jerusalem (Knights Templar). Vines were planted and land was bought and turned to vineyards. Pierre Jacques Arnauld, a Bordeaux magistrate bought the Priory in the 17th Century and renamed it Chateau Arnauld. The property was sold in 1956 and was finally acquired by an international insurance company called Allianz in 2007 where much renovation and improvement has been made since. The same owner owns all of Vignobles de Larose.         

Domaine Perganson
The story of Perganson begins with the French King's Advisor Jean-Pierre de Pontet purchased the plot of land that was to become Perganson in 1719. The thirst for French Claret by the English ensured that the vineyards of Perganson would prosper and they did. The land changed hands and name in the mid 19th century to become Chateau Larose Perganson. After the First World War saw the vineyards in the state of ruin and finally devastation when a series of business misadventures saw Perganson fall into total ruin where even the Chateau disappeared. 
Moving ahead to the 1970's the Forner Family, now the owners of the "Chateau" and its sister Trintaudon, made new plantings and gave Perganson new life and purpose. By the time the Allianz Group (AGF)  took over in 1986, it was an important property in both size and production. The Chateau Larose Perganson remains a singular entity with its own terroir and vineyard! The once important chateau which was regarded as Fifth Growth quality is now as it was.  

Domaine Perganson L'Experience 2019  Haut Madoc  Cab Sauve  67%, Merlot 33%
91/100 points
Colour: Red
Nose: Mixture of red berries such as strawberry and red currants, fresh floral aroma, herbal with pepper spice
Palate: Medium body, tight tannin, fresh mouthfeel with nice fruity, acid bite, some anise on the finish which shows good length.
Food Matches: Definitely a wine that can be used with vegan dishes, cold cuts and grilled meat. 
Comments: This  wine has no sulphites  and is the culmination of many years of research. The wine is not barrel aged and unfined. Label carries the High Environmental Seal which is a voluntary effort by farmers to using practices to protect the environment. 

Chateau Larose Perganson 2008  Haut Madoc Cab Sauve 50%, Merlot 45%, Petit Verdot 5%
90/100 points          Cru Bourgeois Superieur  
Colour: Dark red with brown tinges, clear
Nose: Dark fruit, earth, mushroom, some oak, dark chocolate, violet floral as it evolves in glass
Palate: Medium, still fresh with supple tannin and nice mouthfeel, vanilla wood, nice finish with an interesting red fruit finish.
Food Matches: Roast Duck, Turkey, Roast Beef, Grilled Streak/Venison
Comments: Cru Bourgeois Superieur status in 2020. Since there is no actual chateau on the property, the wine cannot be considered a Cru Bourgeois Exceptionnel. The wine has excellent value per quality price and is capable of ageing very well.     

Chateau Tour de Pez 2018 Haut Madoc Cab Sauve 24%, Merlot 65%, Cab Franc 11%
92/100 points                Cru Bourgeois 
Colour: Very Dark Red
Nose: Mixture of Dark and Red fruit. earth, vanilla nose, some floral violet
Palate: Full and round, nice mouth feel, accessible tannins and somewhat refreshing acid finish.
Food Match: Filet Mignon, aged game, rabbit, roast beef, stew.
Comments:  Purchased by Vignobles Larose in 2019. Responsible Vineyard Management, Sustainable agriculture methods. Issued high quality environment certification.