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2016 Lalande-de-Pomerol

Château Belles-Graves
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Château Belles-Graves sits just on the other side of a small river from the renowned estates of Pomerol, and while the hype and hordes of collectors may not cross the bridge over La Barbanne, quality certainly does. Made from mostly Merlot and a splash of Cabernet Franc, this velvety and refined rouge is approachable now despite having years of beautiful life ahead. Its notes of black cherries, stones, and a touch of tobacco, along with its fine acidity, make it a versatile red at table, but also wonderful on its own.

Tom Wolf

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Technical Information
Wine Type: red
Vintage: 2016
Bottle Size: 750mL
Blend: 88% Merlot, 12% Cabernet Franc
Appellation: Lalande-de-Pomerol
Country: France
Region: Bordeaux
Producer: Château Belles-Graves
Winemaker: Xavier Piton
Vineyard: 40 years avg, 16.9
Soil: Clay, Gravel
Aging: Wine is raised in French oak barrels, 25% of which is new, for twelve to fifteen months
Farming: Lutte Raisonnée
Alcohol: 14%

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About The Region

Bordeaux

map of Bordeaux

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.

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Where the newsletter started

Every three or four months I would send my clients a cheaply made list of my inventory, but it began to dawn on me that business did not pick up afterwards. It occurred to me that my clientele might not know what Château Grillet is, either. One month in 1974 I had an especially esoteric collection of wines arriving, so I decided to put a short explanation about each wine into my price list, to try and let my clients know what to expect when they uncorked a bottle. The day after I mailed that brochure, people showed up at the shop, and that is how these little propaganda pieces for fine wine were born.—Kermit Lynch

Read the whole story

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