Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Chateau Bonnet, Bordeaux, France.

Recently I sampled two wines from Chateau Bonnet, a producer Bordeaux, France. This is one of Andre Lurton's properties, a man who has been at the forefront of Bordeaux wines for a very, very long time. M. Lurton has involvement in seven different wineries throughout Bordeaux, which creates great opportunities to get the best fruit possible in each of the wines. Chateau Bonnet itself dates back to the 17th century, and is about 10 kilometers south of St. Emilion. The Lurtons took over this property in 1956.

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The white, from the Entre-Deux-Mers region, is a blend of 50% sauvignon blanc, 40% semillon, and 10% muscadelle. These are the three white varietals allowed in white Bordeaux wines but it's rare to see them all together in one bottling.

Aromatically, this shows influences of the semillon with it's perfumed honeysuckle and sea-air aromas. I liked the hints of citrus lurking in the background, like a fresh cut key lime. There's a lovely wet-gravel mineral element at play too, perhaps a result of the muscadelle. While not an explosive bouquet by any means, there's a nice bit of elegance and finesse for such a relatively inexpensive white wine.

Like most other white Bordeaux I've tasted this year, the 2010 Chateau Bonnet retains great acidity, due in part to the lack of oak treatment. This vintage spent 4 months on the lees, but in steel tanks versus oak barrels. That lee-treatment contributes to a nice, full mouthfeel without excessive flabby elements. I enjoyed the interplay between the washed-limestone and lime juice flavors along with a hint of stone fruit meandering throughout the palate. For around $10, the complexity is impressive and shows what a good deal the Chateau Bonnet is.

I think this wine begs for grilled, lemon-herb marinated chicken. You could also get away with doing pasta and a cream sauce because the acidity is so vibrant. B and a BUY recommendation. Another French overachiever graces my glass, very cool!

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The second wine from Chateau Bonnet was a rosé, their 2010. It's a 50/50 blend of cabernet sauvignon and merlot, coming in at all of 12.5% abv.

All sorts of delicious aromas waft up out of the glass, the predominant ones being strawberry, melon, and lime skin. There's a whiff of damp limestone at play too, along with some tart cranberry that also seems distant. Still, cutting through the flowery tasting notes, I can say that this wine smells delicious. It made my mouth water with every sniff and although I tasted on a cold Portland day, the aromas alone are indicative of spring and warm weather.

On the palate, lots of wild strawberry, cranberry, and limestone flavors dominate, with each of those contributing a deliciously acidic streak. This Bordeaux is light on its feet, and has just enough ripe fruit to create a flavor balance with the melon and limestone flavors. Texturally it is a lot of fun to explore, because a wine like this is one you feel on different parts of your palate at different times.

With that, at around $10 a bottle, it's a QPR winner. If you're into rosé, this is one to stock up on as we slowly move into spring. As you can tell, I enjoyed the flavor and texture in it, and think it would pair nicely with things like ceviche, grilled chicken salad, fish tacos, or even on its own.

Both the Chateau Bonnet white and rosé are available at New Seasons and other markets around the country. I did find them on too, but at $14 that's too much considering it's available for $9.99 at grocery stores. If you want your favorite wine store to carry them, the importer is W.J. Deutsch & Sons. Each one represents all that I love about simple, delicious French wines. They're quaffable, enjoyable, and perfect for sharing with your friends.

These wines were media samples for review purposes.

Beau Carufel

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