Trip to Bordeaux: A Journey Through Amphoras, Biodynamics, and Family-Owned Châteaux

Earlier this year in January, the Wanderlust Wine team took a trip to Bordeaux, it was nothing short of magical! We were warmly welcomed by our producers (some good old friends!) and the warm winter sunshine.

The world’s largest amphora cellar – Château Durfort-Vivens

Starting at Château Durfort-Vivens, a place where you would least expect to find the world’s largest amphora cellar. Owner and winemaker, Gonzague, is devoted to preserving the pure fruit flavor in his wines and thus has incorporated the use of amphorae during the ageing process. Along with amphorae ageing, the wine is aged in oak barrels with new French oak accounting for around 30-50%. The final blend usually consists of 80% Cabernet Sauvignon, which is the highest percentage of any wine in the southern Médoc region! It gives the wines the classic blackcurrant and cassis flavours, along with its distinct tannins and structure. During lunch, we tasted the full range of vintage 2019 (which we currently stock) and 2020! The freshness and concentration of fruit in 2020 are impeccable and we look forward to stocking them soon!

 A family-run biodynamic Château at Pauillac –
Château Haut-Bages Libéral

After lunch, we had the pleasure of spending an afternoon at Haut Bages Liberal with Claire (the wife of Gonzague), taking a walk in the vineyard. Claire is deeply committed to biodynamic farming and has implemented this in every aspect of the vineyard. Apart from vines, Claire has also planted different local plantations and fungi to enrich the ecosystem, which naturally fertilizes the land. Her wines are sophisticated and full of concentration, yet powerful with a nervy and berries-driven acidity that stands out from the left-bank red. Especially with the La Chapelle de Haut-Bages Liberal 2016, its truffle aroma, lively ripe strawberry note, and grippy yet gentle tannins. All together, the wine was so memorable that it became everyone’s favourite that afternoon! 

The evening was well spent in Château Pichon Baron, one of the most iconic chateau in Pauillac. Not only did we have the chance to tour their historic cellar, but we also had dinner at the chateau, where we had a chance to taste the Château Pichon Baron 1990, the ultra silk palate is layered with prune, dried figs but not overpowering the freshness and acidity that lingers. What a treat!

Sauternes, an often-overlooked region in Bordeaux  – Château Suduiraut

The next day was a beautiful winter morning with a clear sky, crisp air and warmth from the sunshine. We started at Château Suduiraut in Sauternes, the often-overlooked region in Bordeaux. Château Suduiraut neighbour of Château d’Yquem, has 90 hectares of vines. They have a very meticulous and highly attentive fruit selection and intricate pressing process, which is evidenced in their production volume, where each vine only produces 1 glass of Sauternes! While the average yield for dry wines is typically one vine per bottle! On that beautiful morning, a trip to Château Suduriaut is probably the most unexpected and delightful stop.

On the other side of the river, we were warmly welcomed by Sylvie at Château Chauvin in Saint-Emilion, as well as discovered a range of delicious, vibrant and elegant wines at Château d’Aiguilhe, where we all poured ourselves some extra sips after the tasting.

Last stop at Saint Émilion  – Château Grand Français

Finally arriving at Château Grand Français, which has been a long-term partner of Wanderlust Wine. 

“I chose to eliminate all chemicals from the estate and farm organically,” Dominique said while we toured around the vineyard and estate.

While organic viticulture requires a lot more planning and hands-on work than its conventional counterpart, the quality of his fruit shows in the elegance and vibrancy of the wines he produces. We rounded up our trip with a delightful evening in the historic yet humble Chateau with the team.

The plan for Bordeaux was always to identify a selection of small independent châteaux that share a similar ethos to Wanderlust – a true sense of place, and sustainably farmed and made wines by family-owned winery. Not an easy task, yet this is exactly what we have for you – Bordeaux wines made by boutique producers!

This Blog post is written by Sharon Wong
Consumer Sales and Marketing Manager of Wanderlust Wine 

Sharon is the the driving force behind our website, wine club, marketing activities, and Wanderlust Wine events. 

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