Wednesday, 26 February 2014

From the Tasting Room: Château Vrai Caillou 2009

As you may have seen in our February catalogue, we only had 80 cases of this wine available and therefore you had to be one of the lucky few to snap it up. Fortunately for us in the office, we were able to grab a bottle amidst the rush of customers wanting to give it a try. We're sorry to report that all 80 cases have gone - and in record time! Even though we don't have any more around the cellars we still thought we'd share our thoughts on the wine and hopefully you were one of the lucky few to get your hands on a case.

From a very exclusive and limited release comes the Château Vrai Caillou from the Butte de Launay in Entre-deux-Mers, Bordeaux. This area is the highest around and produces a number of wines superior to those from the surrounding lower districts.

There is quite a nice little story about the naming of the winery. The estate, owned by the Pommier family since 1863, originally called it Château Caillou. However, registering the name proved a little tricky as there was already another Château Caillou in Sauternes. But, not wishing to settle on a new name, they took the inspired step of calling themselves Château Vrai Caillou meaning the 'the true castle of the rock/pebble'. That may sound a strange name but it’s significance comes from the stony and pebbly soil of the estate that allows the grapes to flourish.

Château Vrai Caillou 2009

Despite being a predominantly Merlot blend (60%) it was the Cabernet that really shone through on the nose with a real menthol hit. After opening out a bit the wine took on a real Bordeaux-y nose where that mintyness softened allowing more spice, earthiness and dark fruit to come through.

As with the nose, the palate was tight at first but opened out in time to reveal some dark plum and cassis. These flavours were carried through on a wave of fresh acidity and crunchy tannins that were more prominent than expected - but not necessarily in a bad way. The finish continued these flavours through while adding in some of those minerally/pencil shaving notes that Merlots sometimes deliver. 

Part of this job is the importance of tasting a wine objectively, the other is personal preference. This wasn't our favoured style but that doesn't/shouldn't mean we can't assess it properly. As it was, the key characteristics of a Merlot-heavy Bordeaux were there: acidity, tannin, dark fruit, mild spice - if this is a style of wine that you enjoy then for less than £10 it was a great deal for those lucky enough to get some.

In the world of wine and food matching there are certain pairings that work: Champagne with fish and chips, Sauternes with foie gras and, according to Hannibal Lecter, Chianti with liver and fava beans. Where each of these styles work just as well on their own, others are designed to be enjoyed with food because of their balance and structure - this is one of those. As such, this wine was appreciated for what it was (a sub-£10 Bordeaux that ticked a lot of characteristic boxes) but had we served it alongside a big and juicy rib of beef or a medium-rare steak et frites it would have been perfect.

Wine Details:
Château Vrai Caillou 2009
Bordeaux Supérieur, France
12.5% abv.
£8.99 - Sold Out

Roll on next week where we'll be trying a very unique and unusual style that is growing in popularity: Grüner Veltliner from Austria.

Alex, David and Luke
Averys Wine Bloggers

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