The wines from the Muscat de Beaumes-de-Venise appellation are created by adding a neutral grape spirit to the partially fermented grape juice of the Muscat grape to produce what the French call a vin doux naturel (naturally sweet wine). The addition of the spirit kills off the yeasts and leaves the wine high in alcohol (15%) as well as high in residual sugar.
The house and cellars of Mme Castaud-Maurin’s lovely property are in the village of Beaumes de Venise itself, while the 17 hectares of Muscat à petits grains, 25% of which are in fact ‘noirs’, are on the lower slopes of Mont Ventoux – a quite beautiful situation.
The wine has a fine delicate character of almonds and apricots, and the use of black Muscat gives it a lovely orange tint in the glass.
Situated in the heart of the Monbazillac appellation, Château Haut Bernasse has 14 ha of vines with an enviable southerly aspect and a climate that allows the early morning mist and fog to burn off as the sun rises giving perfect conditions for the development of Botrytis cinerea (Noble Rot).
The 2004 is made up of 85% Sémillon, 10% Muscadelle & 5% Sauvignon Blanc from vines with a minimum age of 25 years. The grapes were hand harvested and pressed in a pneumatic press. Fermentation, using wild yeast, is in stainless steel followed by 2 years ageing in cask.
The wine has a lovely deep golden colour and a nose with ripe fruit aromas and honeyed notes. The palate is full and luscious with layers of intense fruit and marmalade flavours supported by a fine core of balancing acidity.
A mature wine from the renowned Sauternes property of Château Filhot.
“Gold Reserve” 1998 is a light and elegant style. Not the sweetest of Sauternes but full of dried fruit and marmalade flavours. It is well suited as an aperitif or to partner rich savoury dishes such as rich pâtés, or cheeses (especially Roquefort). If you want to use it as a dessert wine choose a light, fruit dish.
To the south of Bordeaux city, near Cadillac, Château Ricaud boasts an exceptionally diverse array of soils. Impressed by its quality potential and the architectural splendour of the château, Alain Thiénot (of Champagne fame) bought the property in 1980 and has subsequently put in place a remodelling plan to transform the estate into a benchmark Loupiac and to create a Côtes de Bordeaux worthy of the finest wines.
Loupiac lies across the River Garonne from Sauternes.
Set in a natural amphitheatre and surrounded by three streams, no other spot in the appellation is more affected by the alternating misty and very dry conditions essential to produce the fungus Botrytis Cinerea or “noble rot”.
Given its location, Château de Ricaud is one of the rare estates where this magic is guaranteed to take place and every year, allowing without fail, the incredible transformation to take place, creating wonderfully aromatic golden nectar.
100% Semillon, vinified and then aged in oak (20% of which is new) for 12 months.
Attractive golden appearance. Lovely freshness on the intense bouquet, full of peach and citrus fruit aromas. The aromas are mirrored on the palate, where they combine with lovely mature noble rot character offering typical apricot and orange rind notes. With beautifully balanced acidity and rich sweetness, the wine has a lingering, aromatic and fresh finish.
The second wine of Château Climens, Cyprèe de Climens is 100% Semillon.
The history of the estate dates back to the 16th century but today it is in the ownership of the Lurton family with Bérénice Lurton currently at the helm.
The vineyards of Climens cover more than 30 hectares in one continuous vineyard surrounding the château and have an average age of 35 years.
Fermentation is in cask followed by a further 12 month period of maturation in barrel.
The wine has a lovely yellow/ amber colour with an aromatic nose, with vanilla hints, and notes of candied yellow fruits, apricot and honey. The palate is soft and rounded with excellent texture, richness and great length. A lovely Barsac.
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