COLUMN WRITTEN BY PHILLIP SILVERSTONE
Earlier this year Joe and Amber Wagner were guests on my show. Amber designs swimwear and Joe owns Copper Cane Wines & Provisions. The wines we tasted were fabulous and this past week I sampled Joe’s Carne Humana Proprietary White Wine 2014 (approximately $25), which joins the Carne Humana Proprietary Red Wine as the brand’s second release. This brand is a joint venture between Joe and his cousin, winemaker, Derek Bietler (nephew of wine legend Chuck Wagner, of Camus Winery). Carne Humana White is a blend of Sauvignon Blanc, Semillon and Chardonnay grapes from Napa Valley. The wine is very light and might appear weak and lacking in flavor, but these 3 grapes are a guarantee of amazing nectar full on yumminess.
The wine is fresh, with a hint of melon and pear and a spritz of lemon peel. It is a fab quaff.
I have avoided the very expensive French chateaux wines for my entire wine career because they are expensive and, I believe, overhyped. But, I was recently reminded of the Cru Bourgeois wines which are a less expensive category and are produced with the same grapes, predominantly Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. The Cru Bourgeois classification is made up of eight Left Bank appellations in Bordeaux: Médoc, Haut-Médoc, Listrac-Médoc, Moulis, Margaux, Saint Julien, Pauillac and Saint-Estèphe And most important to me, is the cost: The average price for Cru Bourgeois wines is between $20 – $40.
Here are 2 perfect examples of the affordable wines from Bordeaux which I recently tasted:
Château Greysac Médoc Cru Bourgeois (approximately $18). Located in the Médoc hamlet of Begadan, north of St. Estèphe, it features 173 acres of vineyards. For this wine, the chateaux uses grapes from vines which are around 20 years old, and add a rich complexity to the juice squeezed from them. It is a blend of: 65 percent Merlot, 27 percent Cabernet Sauvignon, 8 percent Petit Verdot. The wine is aged in oak for 1 year. Greysac tends to have a typical dark ruby color, hinting at an intense tasting experience. The wine has a rich dark berry flavor with a hint of chocolate, leather and spice. And what an awesome price!
Château Tour Seran Médoc Cru Bourgeois (approximately $40). The Marquis de Ségur was called the “Prince des Vignes” since he owned Château Latour, Mouton & Calon Segur, and the Marquis de Ségur also owned Château Tour Seran during the 17th century. This was probably because the Tour Seran was situated on similar clay and gravel soil as these other chateaux he owned. The vines at this property average 25 years, so again, older vines equals more structure to the wine. The blend used in this wine is: 65 percent Merlot, 15 percent Cabernet Sauvignon, 10 percent Cabernet Franc & 10 percent Petit Verdot. The wine is aged for 18 months in 100 percent new oak barrels (90 percent French oak and 10 percent American oak) and this mix of wood adds so much more depth and complexity to the juice, yet it is still sold at a fraction of the price of the chateaux in higher classification categories. Again we have a very dark ruby color with much more prominent ripe red berry fruit flavors, with a hint of chocolate, cedar, leather and delicious fruit forward fullness in the mouth.
To discover everything you need to know about this classification of wines and the many chateaux within the category visit: www.crus-bourgeois.com
Phillip Silverstone’s column appears regularly in this publication. “Time Out With Phillip Silverstone” is a weekly podcast heard on TuneIn Radio anytime and anywhere worldwide either on the free TuneIn app for all smart phones and tablets (Search: Phillip Silverstone) or online at: http://bit.ly/1gY2Ht4 “Follow” the show for weekly updates. You can also LIKE Phillip on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Phillipsilverstone and follow him on Twitter: @wining