The Tasting Panel magazine

September 2017

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Page 115 of 128

september 2017  /  the tasting panel  /  1 1 1 According to Jean-Marc Dulong, Calvet's Bordeaux Development Director: "Jean-Marie Calvet and his family established the company in Bordeaux in 1823. They were Catholics from the Rhône region of France. The Chartrons who dominated the trade in those days were mainly Protestants, coming from the north of Europe and Ireland. The Chartrons kept to themselves, so the founders of Calvet had to fight for a place within the trade. From the beginning, they knew they had to have a strong brand, with strong recognition." Whatever they did worked, and soon, "all their châteaux were marketed with the Calvet logo," JM Dulong says. "They established a subsidiary in Argentina. In those days, this was quite an adventure. With this position, the name Calvet acquired a very strong reputation in Argentina and South America. The family developed branches in Burgundy (Beaune), and in the Rhône Valley, etc., to build a full range of wines under the same name—Calvet." For Calvet, the 1900s brought a few growing pains—and a few strokes of good fortune, too. In 1930, Jean Ribéreau- Gayon and Émile Peynaud, considered pioneers of modern enology, set up a laboratory in the interest of maintaining and improving the quality of Calvet's wine. In the 1960s, a fire in the Chartrons district destroyed Calvet's headquarters, but this enabled them to build a state-of-the-art bottling facility—an endeavor ahead of its time. In the '80s, Calvet was purchased by two different companies before being acquired in 2007 by Les Grands Chais de France, which planned to make it the number-one Bordeaux brand in the world. Adds JM Dulong, "Calvet built its own winery in 2000 to no longer remain dependent on bulk wines that did not meet our standards. This winery, St. Savin, is situated in the heart of some of the best terroir in Bordeaux for reds and for Sauvignon Blanc." Today, Calvet works with a team of renowned winemakers and maintains long-term contracts with growers with family at the center of it all. "We offer total traceability from the fruit to the wine in bottle ready to be released after aging; this is a guarantee of origin and of quality," JM Dulong says. "We possess the expertise for good, commercial wines that are true to the identity of Bordeaux and other appellations." As Calvet was first established in Rhône in 1818, next year will mark its 200th year. Aside from planning celebra- tion events all over the world, Calvet is offering a range of Bordeaux wines geared towards the American palate to com- memorate the occasion. "The style for the reds is definitely Bordeaux, but matching the palate of a consumer who is look- ing for authenticity while also being easy to drink right away," says JM Dulong. Calvet's Reserve tier does just that. Adds JM Dulong, "The red Reserve is our flagship. All our emphasis has to be on this top blend, which has received many accolades. The style offers a Bordeaux image with a touch of modernity. There is a fresh, positive message to be passed on." In addition to Calvet's Reserve tier, the Calvet Crémant de Bordeaux Rosé should also do well in the U.S. "The composi- tion of our Crémant Rosé is 90% Cabernet Franc and 10% Merlot . . . Bordeaux Crémant Rosé is a fast-growing cat- egory," JM Dulong says. "Cabernet Franc in Bordeaux, when the vineyard is well managed throughout the year, produces fresh and fruity reds with elegant, discreet tannins. A manual harvest allows us to bring all the grapes to the winemaking site. Grapes are less damaged when they arrive in the vinifica- tion site. There's less risk of oxidation, and less waste." But these wines are only just scratching the surface of what the Calvet portfolio has to offer. From the pioneering Calvet family of yesteryear to the Helfrich family of Les Grands Chais de France today, that vast surface covers a deep history. Calvet Crémant de Bordeaux Rosé. The cellars of Calvet in Bordeaux.

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