Saturday, 1 October 2016

White Wine in the Medoc?

Innovations at Chateau du Tertre in Margaux.
 Great to see some innovations and experiments at Chateau du Tertre. They have planted some Chardonnay, Gros Manseng, Viognier and Sauvignon Blanc to create their 'Tertre Blanc ' wine. Apart from Sauvignon Blanc these grape varieties are not permitted in the Bordeaux appellation to make Bordeaux Blanc. Therefore this white wine is declassified to 'Vin de France'.
They are also experimenting with large Austrian oak barrels, which is different from 99% of other top Chateaux, who use Allier or Troncais French oak. The only other Chateaux that I know who use a small amount of Austrian oak are Palmer (in Margaux) and Clinet (in Pomerol).
Tertre Blanc was first made in 2014 in small quantities (500 cases). It looks like 2016 could be a larger crop, but it will still be a small amount compared to the main emphasis at Chateau du Tertre on the red wines.
In the Medoc there are some interesting whites wines being produced, but they don't seem to be in the same quality league as Pessac Leognan. The major Chateaux that make white wines in the Medoc are: Palmer, Prieure Lichine, Talbot, Lynch Bages, Mouton Rothschild, Cos d'Estournel, Lagrange and Margaux.

The excellent guide, Anna, offering a lovely tasting of 2009, 2010 and 2011 Chateau du Tertre

Chateau du Tertre is certainly a wine estate to follow in the Margaux appellation for their improving quality. The Chateau was bought by Eric Albada Jelgersma in 1997 (he also owns nearby Giscours as well as Caiarossa in Tuscany). The talented Alexander van Beek looks after all Mr Albada Jelgersma's vineyards and since Frederique Ardouin arrived from Chateau Latour in 2008, the estate has been introducing biodynamic vineyard practises. The estate is also undergoing a re planting process to increase the density of vine plantings and to reduce the amount of Cabernet Franc on the vineyard.
The vines are planted over two main hills (Le Tertre means a 'hill' or 'mound') and the estate sits at the highest point of the Margaux appellation. The estate is ranked a 5th Growth from the classification of 1855, and interestingly it is the same size in 2016 as it was in 1855. There are very few estates that are the same size apart from Grand Puy Lacoste in Pauillac.
I recently tasted a magnificent 2005 Chateau du Tertre at the Chateau. It was perfectly 'in the zone' for tasting and drinking. Beautiful bright, balanced dark blackcurrant fruit style, with evident (but not too overbearing) acidity and tannin. A wine to enjoy now and over the next 10-15 years.
This wine retails for approximately £60 or $75 or €70.

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