Smart and a Wine Connoisseur
Searching for an excellent French wine from Bordeaux but the French language is not part of your skill-set? The good news is that you can order an excellent wine from Bordeaux (Left Bank) and be considered a connoisseur! All you have to do is scan the menu (or the shelves) and pick the bottles that are from the Chateau de la Dauphine and, in a New York minute, you are a French wine authority. Once the bottles are opened and the sensory experience begins, everyone will think you a wine expert.
The Bordeaux region is divided by the Gironde Estuary into a Left Bank (Medoc and Graves) and a Right Bank (Libournais, Bourg and Blaye). This area in Bordeaux is noted for its red clay soil that produces bold red wines (think Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon). The wines from Libourne are moderately bold with soft, refined tannins.
Chateau de La Dauphine is located at Fronsac, near the Dordogne River, a few miles from Bordeaux. The name of the Chateau is derived from Marie-Joseph de Saxe, the mother of the last king of France, Louis XV, who gave her title of La Dauphine to the property in memory of her visit in the 18th century. The region was developed by Cardinal Richelieu and his nephew to make wines the most expensive of the kingdom and became the favorite wines of Louis XV.
Currently the Chateau has 53 hectares of vineyards with Merlot and Cabernet Franc – making it the largest vineyard in the region. The Chateau stopped using chemical products and pesticides in 2012 and gained official Organic Agriculture certification in 2015. It began using biodynamic principles in 2015 so that the vines would develop in harmony with nature and be engaged in a natural growth cycle. The estate combines history (it was built in 1750), with a state-of-the-art technical facility (i.e., circular vat house with gravity is used).
While the wines from the Chateau de La Dauphine date back to the beginning of time, the domain was purchased in 2015 by the Labrune family, who also own CEGEDIM, a technology and services enterprise that focuses on health and wellness. Committed to following in the footsteps of the previous guardians of these vines, the Labrune family continues the tradition of producing high quality biodynamic wines that are representative of the terroir.
I was recently introduced to the lush and seductive wines from the Chateau de La Dauphine at NYC’s Gotham Bar & Grill. Leading us through the wines was Marion Merker, Wine Tourism Manager and Brand Ambassador for the Chateau.
1. Chateau de La Dauphine Rose 2016. Appellation: Bordeaux. Soil: Clay-limestone; Varieties: Merlot – 80 percent; Cabernet Franc – 20 percent. Average age of the vines: 30 years. Oenologists: Michel Roll and Bruno Lacoste.
To the eye – pink tones of coral. The nose is impressed with the scent of fresh lemons, pears, bananas, plums and peaches. The palate is rewarded with light florals and citrus that are elegant and refined. The finish is smooth and refreshing. Enjoy as an aperitif or with prawns, shrimp or steamed cod.
2. Chateau de La Dauphine 2014. Appellation: Fronsac. Soil: Clay and limestone. Varieties: Merlot – 90 percent; Cabernet Franc – 10 percent. Ageing: 12 months, 30 percent French new oak
Deep, dense ruby red to the eye. The aroma of florals mixed with ripe black cherries seduces the nose while the palate is intrigued by a sophisticated strawberry/cherry/oak experience that creates a desire for the next delicious sensory awakening. Pair with Duck Prosciutto and Chicory Salad with Radicchio, Endive, Fresh Figs, and Candied Pecans with Red Wine Vinaigrette.
3. Chateau de La Dauphine 2012. Appellation: Fronsac. Soil: Clay and limestone. Varieties: Merlot – 90 percent; Cabernet Franc – 10 percent. Aged: 12 months, 30 percent French new oak. Double sorted before/after destemming. The grapes are then gravity fed into tanks followed by manual pumping over 1 ½ volume per day for 10 days with little aeration. Fermentation at 26 degrees C for 20 days. Maceration followed by a vertical pressing with separation of the musts. Vinification in 20 barrels; malolactic fermentation in barrels for 30 percent of the harvest. Matured in separate batches in oak for 12 months.
Cerise tantalizes the eye while the fruits of blackberries mix with cigars to deliver a distinctive aroma to the nose. Full and rich on the palate leading to a thoughtful and complex finish. Pair with Pan Roasted Aged Filet Mignon with Braised Swiss Chard, Carrots, Potato Puree and Truffle Sauce.
4. Chateau de La Dauphine 2003. Appellation: Fronsac. Soil: Clay and limestone. Varieties: Merlot – 90 percent; Cabernet Franc – 10 percent. Ageing – 12 months, 30 percent French new oak.
Deep dark ruby red trending to black offers eye appeal. The Merlot presents dark cherries, plums with spices (cinnamon, nutmeg) and fruit to the nose. On the palate, the texture is reminiscent of a liqueur with spices and dark cherries or a dessert wine. Pair with Chocolate Cake and Salted Almond ice cream.
According to WineInvestment.com, were it not for the wines of Bordeaux, the thriving global fine wine investment markets would not exist. Investors consider the history of Bordeaux, its pedigree and cultural riches, making the region important to investors (companies and individuals) in the Far East who are interested in the wines as well as the chateaux.
Whether you are buying a bottle of Chateau de La Dauphine for personal enjoyment, a gift, or looking to invest, Bordeaux wines will satisfy and impress. These are wines that you can buy now and drink now – or – save for a rainy day.
© Dr. Elinor Garely. This copyright article, including photos, may not be reproduced without written permission from the author.