Unboring Bordeaux

Front Emile Grelier

Let’s face it, Bordeaux has been boring for a long time.  The region is known for high-end, high-quality, high-cost wines that only the 1% can afford.  The other wines?  Well, there’s a flood of innocuous to downright nasty stuff being made by thousands of small domaines, all struggling since most of what they make stinks.


With that in mind, I was very skeptical when I heard about a wine from Bordeaux that was beyond the norm.  Come on, really?  Did I mention I was skeptical?  This wasn’t from any well-known area, but from a small town named Lapouyade, a quick 45 minute drive north of the city itself.  This winery was Organic, leaning Biodynamic, and was using interesting methods to work the soil in harmony with nature.


There, Benoit and Delphine Vinet and their children work 8 hectares (19.76 acres) of land.  Their vines are densely planted (6600 vines/hectare) to south-facing sandy, blue clay soils, with friendly cover crops between the rows, and beehives, insect hotels (to attract beneficial bugs) and bird sanctuaries to maximize biodiversity.  To them, that is the key to everything.


To increase quality, the vines are trained using the Cordon de Royat method.  Everything is done in such harmony with Nature that the French government has been studying their methods to learn how to emulate their environmentally friendly vineyard management.  OK, but the wine?

They only harvest one grape for one wine, their Domaine Emile Grelier Grand Vin de Bordeaux (AOC Bordeaux Superieur), a 100% Merlot, as they feel it reaches its apogee on these soils and using these methods.  Wild-yeast fermented in cement, the wine is allowed to rest for 18-24 months depending on the vintage in cement until bottled, unfined and lightly filtered.  The result is full of dark yet bright plum and red fruit notes, with a gorgeously balanced frame ending with earthy accents.19463827916_2ff94f9971_z

I have to admit I was skeptical, as I may have mentioned previously.  Bordeaux has a bad rap right now, between brutally high prices and an ocean of boring, innocuous plonk.  But I found Benoit and Delphine genuine, and there was something interesting in their wine, something alive, something I hadn’t tasted in a long time from Bordeaux.  This is not a boring wine.

Want pics?  Go HERE.



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