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Château La Grolet

Biodynamic, Barefoot Bordeaux from the “Little Switzerland of Gironde”

Château La Grolet is a 17th-century manor house sat at the bottom of a valley surrounded by its 50-hectare estate, including 38 hectares of vines, with the remainder being natural grassland, woodland, waterways and water sources. The Hubert family (see Château Peybonhomme-Les-Tours) acquired the estate in 1997 and immediately began its conversion to biodynamics. The steep slopes of this gravel and clay terroir are planted with Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Malbec. Quite unlike the monotonous flats of the Medoc, the Côtes de Bourg is an area of beautiful landscapes and is sometimes referred to as the “little Switzerland of Gironde”. This is a Bordeaux appellation with an open and proud country personality.

Think of Bordeaux as big company stuff? Here it’s a small, family-owned estate. Large-scale farming practices? Here it’s biodynamic farming of the highest calibre. Overly technical wines? Here it’s minimalist with indigenous yeasts, low or no sulphur and low and often no new oak. Expensive? Just look at the prices!

Both La Grolet and its sister estate, Château Peybonhomme-les-Tours are run along almost Burgundian lines; ploughed vineyards, low-yields, ripe fruit and low intervention, wild yeast winemaking results in terroir-driven wines that combine texture, freshness and vigour with a much finer tannin profile than that found in many of the region's wines. The gravel-rich terroir here makes for a more firmly structured, virile red than this wine's sibling (Peybonhomme), although there is just as much class and value. These are wines that will appeal greatly to, not only Bordeaux lovers and en-primeur buyers, but lovers of delicious, bona fide and impeccably-made wines full stop.

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Château la Grolet Côtes de Bourg Origines 2021

Château la Grolet Côtes de Bourg Origines 2021

Biodynamic. Peybonhomme’s sister vineyard, Château La Grolet, lies just to the to the south in the Côtes de Bourg. The cooler, gravel-rich terroir makes for a more firmly structured, darker red than this wine’s sibling, although there is always just as much class and value. The blend is 70% Merlot, 15% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Cabernet Franc and 5% Malbec. The vines are approaching their half century, and crop at 25 hl/ha—similar to the low yields of some of Bordeaux’s most expensive vins de garage! This fermented with indigenous yeasts in concrete vessels. It was bottled without fining or filtration, and with only a little sulphur (the wine saw no other additions). The 2021 Château La Grolet is another outstanding success. It’s a medium-bodied, savoury Bordeaux with mulberry and cherry fruit, inky, powdery tannins and a long, driven close. Although it’s clear that 5-10 years will not weary it, it’s a very good drink now. It will match beautifully with any beef or lamb dish—steak frites, please! In short, this is a super-authentic Bordeaux country-style red that represents wonderful value.

Château la Grolet Côtes de Bourg Origines 2021
Château Peybonhomme-Les-Tours Blaye-Côtes de Bordeaux 2019 (375ml)

Château Peybonhomme-Les-Tours Blaye-Côtes de Bordeaux 2019 (375ml)

Biodynamic. Half bottle. This classic estate wine is a blend of 75% Merlot, 15% Cabernet Franc and 10% Malbec. The fruit was grown on Peybonhomme’s limestone and clay soils of the Premières Côtes de Blaye (on the right bank, overlooking the picturesque Gironde estuary). The wine fermented with indigenous yeasts and then matured mostly in concrete, with 10% fermented and aged in two- to three-year-old oak. The wine was bottled unfiltered. From a year of great balance—and one that had Bordeaux's upper classes rubbing their hands in glee—2019 is a delicious, vivid release of this wine. Look out for deep, opulent blackcurrant fruit and charred meat, all draped over a backdrop of leather, five spice, cigar box and a lovely mineral complexity. There are good ripe tannins too, but it is already immensely drinkable. This will match beautifully with anything you could think of pairing with traditional Bordeaux. We prefer lamb chops. From a year of exceptional balance—and one that had Bordeaux's upper classes rubbing their hands—the 2019 is a delicious, vivid release of this wine. Look out for deep and opulent blackcurrant fruit and charred meat, all draped over a backdrop of leather, spice and graphite and a lovely mineral complexity. There are good ripe tannins too, but it is already immensely drinkable. This will match beautifully with anything you could think of pairing with traditional Bordeaux (we prefer lamb chops). As always, crazy value.

From a year of exceptional balance—and one that had Bordeaux's upper classes rubbing their hands—the 2019 is a delicious, vivid release of this wine. Look out for deep and opulent blackcurrant fruit and charred meat, all draped over a backdrop of leather, spice and graphite and a lovely mineral complexity. There are good ripe tannins too, but it is already immensely drinkable. This will match beautifully with anything you could think of pairing with traditional Bordeaux (we prefer lamb chops). As always, crazy value.

Château Peybonhomme-Les-Tours Blaye-Côtes de Bordeaux 2019 (375ml)

“This is Right Bank Bordeaux of the old school: soft, beautifully balanced and approachable, yet lean, pure and refreshing, with enough acidity to give life and shape to the wine. Grolet, also owned and farmed by the Hubert family, is a great value, year in and year out.” Eric Asimov, The New York Times

Country

France

Primary Region

Bordeaux

People

Guillaume Hubert

Availability

National

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