The Tasting Panel magazine

May 2017

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Page 18 of 100

18  /  the tasting panel  /  may 2017 The Ransom Note is a monthly column by The Tasting Panel's East Coast Editor, David Ransom. Each month, David connects readers with some of the people, products and events that are making news along the Eastern Seaboard. L ast month in "The Ransom Note," I wrote about my new-found love affair with the wines of Bourgogne, one of the world's great winemaking regions, yet one that I admittedly knew less about than I wanted to admit. This month, I'm catching up with another great winemaking region in France, Bordeaux, a place I know decidedly more about, filled with pro- ducers who are dear to my wine-obsessed heart, though they're probably not the ones you might think—e.g., the handful of First Growths that everyone craves, but nobody can afford to buy. No, I'm talking about the more affordable wines that are the backbone of Bordeaux's winemaking industry. Here are a few I've recently had the chance to try. At the 12th annual Union des Grands Crus de Bordeaux tasting in NYC with dozens of classified châteaux pouring their 2014 releases, a highlight was speaking with Château Phélan Ségur's Managing Director Véronique Dausse, whose St. Estèphe (Left Bank) wines are a perennial favorite of mine. Owned by the Gardiner family since the 1980s, Phélan Segur's 2014 is another masterful effort that proves the blending genius of consulting enologist Michel Rolland. Another opportunity came at Craft with Château Olivier's Alexandre de Bethman, whose family has owned the château since the 1800s. The château's vine- yards were entirely leased out for most of that time, but the family took back control in the 1980s, and over the last decade de Bethamn has spearheaded the replanting and expansion of the 400 acre estate in the heart of the Left Bank's Pessac- Léognan (part of the wider Graves appellation and the birthplace of Bordeaux as a winemaking region) with a focus on increasing the Cabernet Sauvignon plant- ings, which he feels are integral to the identity of Château Olivier's particu- lar style. Lastly, lunch at Gotham Bar and Grill with Chateâu de la Dauphine (Fronsac), owned by the LaBrune family, where Michel Rolland (again!) deftly crafts wines based on the Right Bank's two star grape variet- ies—Merlot and Cabernet Franc—from the 130-acre organically farmed vineyard. There is a reason Bordeaux rose to be the greatest wine region in the world. The climate and terroir consistently put forth quality fruit, and the winemakers know the work required, both in the vine- yard and the cellar, to create balanced food-focused wines—at any price point. Bordeaux Re-Visited THE WORLD'S FOREMOST APPELLATION CONTINUES TO IMPRESS story and photos by David Ransom Château de le Dauphine's 2009, 2010 and 2012, decanted for lunch at Gotham Bar and Grill. Château Phélan Ségur's Véronique Dausse with The Tasting Panel's David Ransom. Wines of Château Olivier ready for pouring at NYC's Craft.

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