BACK IN STOCK! This wine sold out quicker than expected when we sent out the email offer a couple of months ago. Luckily, we just received another shipment from the domaine! Now’s your chance to get your hands on some medium-aged Bordeaux, straight from Château de Bellevue’s cellar.
If you’re a frequent KLWM customer, you may wonder why we only import a handful of Bordeaux. Earlier in his career, Kermit said the reason he didn’t offer a wider selection was because the market was so label-oriented, and he fancied himself a wine merchant, not a label merchant. Well, Château de Bellevue makes a real wine, an organic one, and certified as such for nearly twenty successful years. Located in northern Bordeaux, where Merlot dominates, grapes grow in limestone and clay soil that’s chalkier and less pebbly than in the the left bank to the south, where Cabernet Sauvignon thrives. The wines here are therefore more mineral and fruit-driven than they are meaty and robust. To enjoy the 2015 Lussac Saint-Emilion from Château de Bellevue, which has softened generously during its time in bottle, feels like a sophisticated and distinguished experience. Akin to reading a leatherbound literary classic or cozying up in your grandpa’s cashmere sweater, it’s luxurious (shockingly so, at this price) yet an incredibly down-to-earth bottle of wine. There’s no need to decant this Bordeaux. Its delicate and tangy nose of red berries and graphite blossom willingly into a mouthful of violet and black tea on the palate. Pair it with something as simple as a succulent roast chicken with a side of salad greens, or, if you are feeling très Bordeaux, try it with braised chicories and skewers of smoky bacon and scallop brochettes à la Richard Olney. In his book “Ten Vineyard Lunches,” which opens with the irresistible line, “Every meal is a celebration,” Olney offers a few recipes that will have you dreaming of long languorous lunches in the sud-ouest, glass of Bellevue in hand, overlooking a sea of vines and stately châteaux in the distance.
André Chatenoud prepares lunch at his Château de Bellevue
The good-natured proprietor of the Château de Bellevue, André Chatenoud, seems more at home in his cellars than anywhere else. Though he and his family have owned the property since 1971, the history of the château dates back to at least the 18th Century. One needs only to explore the incredible limestone caves and see the rich range of old graffiti engravings to be impressed: from harvest workers of the 1700s to American G.I.’s of the 1940s.
The terroir of Château de Bellevue is characterized by exceptional quality – only surprising because the great, low prices here at Bellevue stand to shift the perceptions of what good Bordeaux should cost.
Often considered the wine capital of the world, Bordeaux and its wines have captured the minds, hearts, and wallets of wine drinkers for centuries. For many, the wines provide an inalienable benchmark against which all other wines are measured.
Bordeaux is divided into three winegrowing regions with the city that gives the region its name in the near geographical center. The “right bank,” or the area located east of the Dordogne River, produces wines that are predominantly Merlot with small amounts of Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon. The “left bank” is located to the west of the Garonne River and produces wines dominated by Cabernet Sauvignon, with Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Malbec and Petit Verdot.
The third region, Entre-Deux-Mers, lies between both rivers and produces white wines from Sauvignon Blanc, Sémillon, and Muscadelle. Though technically in the left bank, it is worth noting the appellation of Sauternes, which produces arguably the world’s most famous sweet wines from Sauvignon Blanc, Sémillon, and Muscadelle as well.
Though many top Bordeaux wines are sold en primeur (in advance of their bottling) and often through a middleman known as a negoçiant, Kermit has always preferred to purchase directly from the winemaker. For more than three decades he has sought out small producers, who make classic Bordeaux wines and are willing to play outside the negoçiant system. This ethic has led to longstanding relationships, excellent prices, and perhaps most important—wines of great value and longevity.
Trust the great winemakers, trust the great vineyards. Your wine merchant might even be trustworthy. In the long run, that vintage strip may be the least important guide to quality on your bottle of wine.—Kermit Lynch
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