Our Bordeaux selection is different. Young buyers whose parents did not have a cellar of old “clarets,” as the English say, might be surprised, because ours aren’t all jam and new oak. Ours have intensity, but not from high alcohol. Ours don’t enrich chemists and enologists. Our producers don’t make fortunes by following fashionable trends. Here is a bright, deep-colored red that can age for decades, yet you’ll want to draw from the well right from the start. Gombaude is surrounded by famous names. It is made by Claire Laval. I don’t know if her low price is due to sexism, but why not take advantage of it? Gombaude has been farmed organically for decades and is now biodynamic. Biodynamic Pomerol! Top that if you can. I advised you to put Claire’s 2009 down in the cellar for your old age and for your children’s inheritance. They’ll love ya for it, believe me. Now I can say with just as much enthusiasm: cellar the 2010, too. It is as great a vintage and very different. Here you’ll find loads of bright, fresh fruit, including raspberry, and a classic Bordeaux balance of tannin and acidity.
In the heart of the Pomerol plateau, on the Right Bank of Bordeaux, the vineyards of Château Gombaude-Guillot have been a family property for so long that the current generation doesn’t even know when they were first acquired. The Bélevier family was already well established as vignerons in Pomerol and Néac when this property was passed down to Marie Bélevier as a dowry in 1868. Today, Claire Laval, Marie’s great-granddaughter, runs the estate with her son Olivier Techer. Though the estate is already certified organic, Claire is now pursuing the more stringent requirements of biodynamics. The wines of Gombaude-Guillot are classic reflections of Pomerol: rich and supple, with a deep gravel mineral structure.
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.
A good doctor prescribed the wine of Nuits-Saint-Georges to the Sun King, Louis XIV, when he suffered an unknown maladie. When the king’s health was restored the tasty remedy enjoyed a vogue at court. Lord, send me a doctor like that!
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