I have been the wine and cheese buyer at a neighborhood wine bar called TasteVin Wine Bar and Bistro located in San Carlos, CA since we opened our doors in August of 2013. I had my first Saturday tasting event in November 2013 to kick off the holiday season. Since then, we have had a tasting every Saturday.
The theme of this Saturday’s tasting is Bordeaux vs. Provence – Comparing Whites and Reds. Coming to pour and talk about the wines is Danny DeMartini** from The Source Imports*
The inspiration for this tasting came while I was tasting through some wines with Danny. At the end of the tasting, I looked over my notes to see which wines were my favorites and which I thought would appeal to TasteVin customers. I saw that 2 wineries (producers) each had wines I loved AND the wines I loved from each were a white and a red. One of the producers was from Bordeaux and the other from Provence, so I thought, let’s do a tasting of Bordeaux vs. Provence, comparing whites and reds, a taste-off so to speak!
Bordeaux: Producer Chateau Cantelaudette
Chateau Cantelaudette is located in the Graves de Vayres region of Bordeaux. The estate was established by the Chatelier family in 1870. The Graves de Vayres appellation gets its name from the soils which are predominantly gravel or a mix of sand and gravel. The soils and microclimate of the region are well-suited for Merlot, which not so coincidentally is most of what they plant for reds, along with Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon (3 of the 6 typical red grape varieties in Bordeaux). For whites, the majority of their plantings are Semillon, with some Sauvignon Blanc and Muscadelle (the typical white grape varieties in Bordeaux).
White: 2016 Chateau Cantelaudette, Graves de Vayres Blanc, Traditionelle, Bordeaux – 90% Semillon, 10% Sauvignon Blanc. Soils: gravelly soils on top of silty loamy clay. Aged on it’s lees for 6 months. Tasting notes: mineral driven with delicate aromas of melon and citrus and a faint hint of wood
Red: 2014 Chateau Cantelaudette, Graves de Vayres, Prestige, Bordeaux – 100% Merlot. Soils: sandy clay. Tasting notes: Red fruits, predominantly strawberry, bright acidity with some dusty tannins.
Provence: Producer Val de Caire
Guillame Reynier began his wine career in 2003, purchasing small vineyard plots north of Aix-en-Provence. Employing organic farming from the very beginning, he applied for certification in 2010. The vineyards are surrounded by oak trees, bramble and garrigue (low growing brush of juniper, thyme, rosemary and lavender altogether which impart their floral, herbal and savory aromas into wine).
White: 2016 Val de Caire, Blanc, Provence – 48% Vermentino, 48% Ugni Blanc, remaining 2% a mix of Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon. Soils: limestone and ferrous soil. Tasting notes: White pepper, somewhat flinty and chalky, nice salinity and crisp acidity. In Provence, Vermentino is also known and Rolle and you will find it blended in many of the region’s rosé wines.
Red: 2016 Val de Caire, Rouge, Provence – Syrah, Grenache. Soils: limestone. Tasting notes: Earthy and peppery with red and black fruits.
* About The Source Imports: The Source Imports is a European Fine Wine Import Company that specializes in wine made with minimal additives to preserve the sense of terroir. Their standard protocol before beginning to work with a producer is a visit to their vineyards. According to them: “At The Source we love our dirt and rocks, and the diversity of the soils…” Having attended their seminars on how soils affect wine taught by their on-staff geologist, I can tell you that they are serious when it comes to terroir.
** About Danny DeMartini: Tasting wine with Danny is such a learning experience. Danny will talk about a wine and all the factors that affect it – the soil types, the plot of land where the vines are planted, the sun and climate conditons, and how it may differ from the next plot over.