Bordeaux wines: Château La Gravière and pasta for dinner

December 13, 2009

The amatriciana pasta

There are just too many châteaux out there. I confess that I do not know much about the wines from Bordeaux. This wine region produces between 700 and 900 million bottles of wine every year. It is divided into 57 appellations. About 10,000 producers call themselves ‘châteaux’, the number of grape growers is about 13,000.

Fortunately, Haut-Médoc, just north of the city of Bordeaux, at the left of the river Gironde covering about 4,600 ha of vines, is smaller but still carries lots of different châteaux. The area used to be marshland until Dutch merchants began to drain it in the 17th century. From grazing land to vineyards (reminds me of my own story and Two Hills Vineyard in Glenburn which is largely grazing land, but in the hills, no marshes to be seen), what a great success story.

2006 Château La Gravière

Our friend Emmie had given us this bottle (above), a ‘2006 Château La Gravière’ from Haut-Médoc, after her return from Europe. The Château La Gravière is actually situated on the right bank of the river, in Lalande-de-Pomerol AOC. It’s a small producer with only 2.3 ha under vines whose flagship wines are Château La Gravière, a typical blend of Merlot (80%) and Cabernet Franc (20%) and Moulin de Gravière, its second wine.

The label is owned by the Rougefort Group. Total production from the Lalande-de-Pomerol AOC is about 500 cases per year. The Haut-Médoc wines (left bank of the river) are an addition to the portfolio. The character of the wines is quite different from the Lalande-de- Pomerol wines which is partly due to the blending formula, partly due to the different terroir.

The colour of the wine

The wine was very pleasant, full of vanilla and berry flavours. We just loved it. It could cope well with the strong flavours of the amatriciana pasta and the bacon in it. My prejudices against Bordeaux wines (which are partly the results of my ignorance) were utterly refuted.