This is the last region we visit for the Bordeaux Series. In the next tasting we will be comparing the winners from each region. So check back to see who wins, St. Emillion
, or Pessac-Leognan.
Pessac Leognan is in the Graves region, south of Bordeaux city. Graves is named for its soil which is very gravelly. The soils also have distinctive tiny white quartz pebbles that are found in all the best vineyards. It is also the only part of Bordeaux where red and white wines are made in almost all its chateaux and the vineyards of this region were the first of Bordeaux to be known internationally. The earliest records show casks of wine from Graves shipped to England in the early 12th century. By the 16th century one Chateau became the leader in quality and prestige in the region; Chateau Haut Brion. Haut Brion was so great that it is the only Graves wine to be included in the 1855 Classification. The red wines are typicall of the left bank being dominated by Cabernet although they do use more Merlot here than other left bank appellations.
Pessac Leognan is considered the best region in the Graves and is home to Haut Brion. It lies on the edge of the city of Bordeaux which has swallowed all but the best vineyards up for its suburbs. The appellation was only named in 1987, and used to be called "Hautes Graves". Pessac-Legonan encompasses 10 small communes, the biggest being Pessac and Leognan. Classification of Chateaux was last done in 1959 with a simple "yes" or "no" mark given. 16 Chateaux were included. A new classification has been expected for a number of years.
All wines were tasted blind and rated. The lowest score wins. In this tasting we had 7 wines with 8 judges.
1st with 20pts: Cht. de Cruzeau, 2003. $25
This wine started out with a strong malo-lactic
buttery character but gradually became more fruit driven give strawberry creamsicle and jam. On the palate it was very nice and full bodied. Silky smooth with a long finish, good firm body covering the whole palate but a silkiness that set it a part from the other wines. Very nice value.
2nd with 24pts: Cht. Les Hauts de Smith, 2002. $28
Ripe, jammy cherry, with cracked pepper and mineral quality on the nose. Also showed some floral aromas after some time in the glass. The palate was full and soft. Velvety on the finish with some soft tannins. A very nice wine, and good value.
3rd with 27pts: Domaine de Chevalier, 2002. $36
Showing a lot of pepper, spiciness, BBQed sweet bell peppers and damp earth and smokey oak show as well. After being opened for an hour the wine showed much more fruit but continued with a pepperiness that the other wines did not keep. The palate was nice and big with a long soft finish. The pepper and spice stuck around on the palate accentuated by alcohol. A big fat wine.
4th with 29pts: Cht. Tour Leognan, 2002. $22
5th with 33pts: Cht. La Manieu, Graves, 2005. $12
6/7th with 45pts: Cht. La Louvier, 2001. $35
6/7th with 45pts: Cht. Carbonnieux, 1996. $30