Import Selection: Cotes de Duras, 1987; Bichot
The firm of A. Bichot & Cie is well known in France and in Europe as a leading wine purveyor. They are négociants-éleveur which implies that they do not grow any grapes or vinify wine. They negotiate and purchase wine from different vintners, bring in the wine to their cellars, age them, blend them, and bottle them under their own label by region or by estate designation, as the case may be. The firm is run by the fifth-generation offspring (four brothers) of the founder.
The last time I was in Beaune, France, the undeclared capital of Burgundy wine where they are based, my schedule did not allow a visit to renew my acquaintance with them. Any of their recent wines that I have tasted has been here in the USA. This regional Côtes de Duras attracted my attention at their American distributors trade tasting. Here is an excellent version of this type of wine from a negociant who is based in a different wine growing region.
The Côtes de Duras region is closer to Bordeaux than Burgundy. It is situated about 70 miles southeast of the city of Bordeaux. Located around the town of Duras, the region is a natural extension of the Bordeaux Entre-Deux-Mers plateau. Duras wine was a favorite at the court of Francois I. It is said that following the revocation of the Edict of Nantes, the exiled Huguenots of Gascony had wine sent from Duras to their refuge in Holland, and that they marked with a tulip each row of vines that was reserved for them!
Duras is better known for its white wines, which are usually produced from Semillon, Sauvignon Blanc, Muscadelle, Mauzac, Ugni Blanc, and Chenin grapes. Our wine is made from the first four grapes listed. The different grape varieties are often vinified separately, and then blended.
Our wine is golden yellow in color. It has a sweet fruity nose, with the fruit aroma well mingled with a bottle ageing bouquet of Semillon, and a hint of the Muscadelle showing. The taste is rounded and rich. It has a full body, and the sugar/acid ratio is well balanced. It is dry, but not austere. Halfway into the taste, the Sauvignon emerges, and threatens to evolve into a grassiness, but it holds back and closes with a hint of green. Delightful interplay of flavors. Serve chilled with monkfish, mahi mahi, or other seafood of your choice. Quite good solo, as an aperitif .
Cellaring Notes: It will not get better. I think it is at the peak.
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