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And you thought Bordeaux was a fancy French word. Of course, words, or actually brands, are very important in this most important of all wine regions that is the largest source of quality wine in the world. It’s commonly said that Bordeaux is more brand than land meaning that the producer or estate is more of a bellwether for quality than any particular sub-region (unlike Burgundy, where quality is practically measured in centimeters from one plot to the next). The Bordeaux region is indeed alongside water, situated along the Dordogne and Garonne rivers and hosts some 22,000 producers, 250,000 acres, and more than 50 appellations, and has thrived for centuries with much international investment and influence. Vinicultural techniques used by the top estates are regarded as paradigms of Cabernet and Merlot wine making, as well as fine botrytized wine making. Most wines are fermented in stainless steel tanks and transferred to barrel to mature in new oak for a year or more, the better wines aging in the bottle for another six months. The best wines will age in 100% new oak (hey, that’s part of what makes them the best!) and be kept in barrel for two years. The most commonly planted grape varieties are, of course, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Cabernet Franc for reds, and Sauvignon Blanc, Sémillon and Muscadelle for whites.
Terte translates into hill, which refers to Le Grand Poujeau, the large gravel plateau in the south-west of the Margaux region in Bordeaux’s left-bank. The du Tertre vineyards are remarkable for being in a single, coherent block adjacent to the chateau. Originally classified as a fifth-growth property, du Tertre fell victim to the ravages of the phylloxera plague and two world wars and was not considered a château of stellar reputation, even after the Gasqueton family of Calon-Ségur took it over in the early nineteen-sixties. All that changed when Gasqueton’s widow sold the estate in 1995 to Eric and Louise Albada-Jelgersma of Chateau Giscours who have been consistently improving the quality of the wines ever since.. Under Albada-Jelgersma, significant investment has been made to ensure the production of top quality wines, with better training and care of the vines that results in a rich, powerful and expressive Margaux, with excellent potential for aging.
Made up of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, and Petit Verdot, this is a very nicely balanced Margaux made in a fairly rich style with a long lingering finish. Described by Robert Parker as “sexy, seductive and opulent … nearly flamboyant… seduces the taster with its forward display of earthy, herb tinged cassis and black cherry fruit, round, soft, lush palette, and concentrated fleshy finish.” The overall structure of this wine should ensure that it will keep drinking well for at least another decade and at around $35.00 a bottle, it’s clearly one of the last hold-outs for value in the classed growth Bordeaux world.
Catalog this wine in The Personal Wine Curator cellar software like this:
- Region: Bordeaux
- Country: France
- Body: Medium
- Drink after: 2008
- Drink by: 2018
This month we'll look at the "Spreadsheet" feature. For those of you who want total control over which fields appear on your Cellar List, and in what order those fields appear -- or you just want fewer printed pages -- there's a "Spreadsheet" layout. Take a look. CLICK HERE.
Perhaps you know that Burgundy production is credited to the early monks, but did you know that the introduction of white grapes to the region is the result of a marital dispute? Corton-Charlemagne, the only Grand Cru in Aloxe-Corton, and considered the finest white Burgundy after Le Montrachet, is named after King Charlemagne, King of the Franks (742-814), who planted white grapes at the insistence of his wife because he would stain his beard when he drank red wine, a faux-pas which she doubtless considered both un-kingly and un-sightly.
Planning the physical layout of your cellar or locker …
The physical layout of your cellar should be conceived based on your habits for choosing a wine. Are you visually oriented and have the luxury of hanging out in your cellar to get inspiration for the evening’s bacchanalia, or do you simply refer to your inventory list to target a specific bottle in a specific location? If you like a little visual help, do you think of the food first or the wine first? You could organize by body and type for food pairing. If you collect wines from only a few regions, you could organize by region and country. If you’re after a balance in your collection, be more specific and you will be able to tell at a glance when your balance is off. (“Oh, look, my Piedmont section is full, but my Bordeaux section is only half full Time to buy more Bordeaux!”)
An important factor as well is how often you drink your wine. Determine which wines are for everyday and what percentage of your home cellar should be reserved for these wines. The space you choose for everyday wines should always be available, as you will be constantly replenishing your supply. Special occasion wines (of course, any time you drink a good wine it’s a special occasion) are best kept at your storage facility or in a remote location at home, but do keep enough on hand at home if something unexpected pops up! As for long term “agers”, in addition to making these wines less accessible, put them somewhere that they won’t need to be moved.
By adopting the above prescription for organizing your wines and keeping a detailed inventory of your collection, you will help preserve both your wines and your sanity, and perhaps even your keen sense of aesthetics.
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