MY TOP WINES OF 2019 – AUGUST

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Not to be one always looking back, whenever I start a new year I try and think about all the great times of last year and it helps me get really up for all the challenges and possibilites for 2020.

So whilst most of you are doing Dry January or something equally as healthy to overcome the post-Christmas and New Year booze/chocolate/meat comas, I thought I’d start the year with a quick recap of the wines that meant a lot to me in 2019…

AUGUST – CHATEAU LA GRAVE, FRONSAC

Château La Grave, Fronsac, from the brilliant and biodynamic Vignobles Paul Barre

Bordeaux Broken Down ‪#‬‬3: What’s Over on the Right Bank?

France, Info For More Seasoned Winos

Half way through this quick look at the basics of Bordeaux and I swear this is the last geography lesson. I just always found it useful to know roughly where everything is, helps when you’re linking one place to a wine and viceversa.

Recognise this map yet?

It's getting like an old friend, this map!

It’s getting like an old friend, this map!

So over on the Right Bank you’ve got St Émilion, Pomerol, and Fronsac, and also more wine from the wider named Bordeaux and Bordeaux Superieur.

The wines of St Émilion are reds. These are a series of vineyards located around the village of the same name. The better wines can apply for what’s known as Grand Cru status. This roughly means they follow stricter guidelines on production and quality of product.

Dotted around St Émilion are what are known as the satellite areas. These are villages that are outside the main St Émilion vineyards, but can put their village name before St Émilion on the bottle:

Lussac – St Émilion
Montagne – St Émilion
Puisseguin – St Émilion
Saint-Georges – St Émilion

These are usually slightly cheaper alternatives and not a bad way to get drinking the wines of this area without breaking the bank.

Talking of breaking the bank, the village of Pomerol lives a bit further north. The wines here use the same grapes and roughly the same techniques as St Émilion. The differences are the soils, and size of the vineyards. They’re much smaller. Rarity is bitch in this case, cos it means Pomerols tend to be pretty high priced.

The satellite of Pomerol is Lalande de Pomerol.

Fronsac and Canon-Fronsac are to the west of the main right bank town of Liborne. Again, grape varieties and techniques are the same, so although never quite blow-your-mind amazing compared to other wines, they’re another fantastic (and usually much cheaper) alternative of right bank reds.

Bordeaux and Bordeaux Superieur are more generic appellations and in all honesty can be a bit hit and miss. Get a good one though and stick with it (my man Il Chateau at Petit-Palais!!). They’ll be some of the best value for money in the whole region.

Jerome's gold medal winning effort, best value for money I've seen in a long time!

Jerome’s gold medal winning effort, best value for money I’ve seen in a long time!

For anyone thinking of a trip out to Bordeaux to visit vineyards, taste wines, go harvesting (god forbid!) then I’d have to say the Right Bank is probably the place to do it. It’s not that one side of the river they’re ar$eholes and the other they’re not. It’s more that you get more family holdings on the right bank, a bit less corporate (although no less business minded). It’s slightly more personal. That’s just the impression I got anyway.

Right, no more maps for a while now. I promise.

Cheers