The wines of Château Bonnet had been some of the first from Bordeaux that I had tried when my wine interests first began to diversify. I was very excited to visit and see from where those wines had come.
The vineyards at Château Bonnet were originally planted in the 16th century. The current owner’s grandfather took possession of the property in 1897 and began acquiring more of the surrounding land. André Lurton inherited the property in 1953 and continued his grandfather’s dream.
On our tour, I saw a large and very modern winemaking facility. Vincent Cruège, the Group Winemaking Director, showed us a winery in full action. Grapes were coming in from harvest and new wines were beginning as older wines were being bottled and boxed.
We went inside and learned about the art of blending from cellar master, Laurent Le Dez, who set up some barrel samples from different vineyards for us to blend. We also tasted the current Bordeaux Blanc and Bordeaux Rosé is their unfinished state. Christine Lurton-de Caix joined us for our tasting.
Recommended Wines to Drink Now:
Divinus de Château Bonnet 2012 - This is the chateau’s prestige cuvée made from 80% Merlot and 20% Cabernet Sauvignon. This dry red is rich and ripe with plum and red berries, a full body, smooth tannins and a light nuttiness in the finish.
Château Bonnet Bordeaux 2012 - This 50/50 blend of Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon is full-bodied and dry with velvety tannins. It expresses bright cherry and blackberry notes with a slight spiciness in the finish.
Château Bonnet Bordeaux 2014 - This 50/50 blend of Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon is dry, fresh and fruity with a full-body and smooth tannins. It expresses red plum and raspberry notes through the lingering finish.
Château Tour de Bonnet Bordeaux 2015 - This 50/50 blend of Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon is full-bodied and dry with silky tannins, bold mixed ripe dark berry aromas and flavors with a bit of spiciness in the finish.
I was not personally familiar with Champagne Tribaut-Schloesser until I did a tasting recently in Houston with 4th generation winemaker, Sébastien Tribaut. Though the wines are just now becoming available in my market, the maison is well-known for their house style which involves aging their reserve wines in foudres or large wooden vats made from French oak which gives the wines a rounder feel. Champagne Tribaut-Schloesser has about 40 hectares of family owned vineyards primarily located in the communes of Romery, Cormoyeux and Fleurie-la-Rivière though they also source from other high quality sites who follow their same protocol of sustainable viticulture. The wines: Champagne Tribaut-Schloesser Brut Origine - A blend of 40% Pinot Noir, 30% Chardonnay and 30% Meunier with three years aging on the lees and only 10% reserve wine added gives this wine light, fruity notes of apricot, green apple and citrus with a fresh finish. Champagne Tribaut-Schloesser Blanc de Chardonnay - This wine is 100% Chardonnay with 20% of the grapes from old vines from Aÿ; it was aged for four years on the lees. Floral aromas of honeysuckle with toasted notes and a lingering crisp, mineral finish. Champagne Tribaut-Schloesser Brut Rosé - A blend of 40% Pinot Noir, 30% Chardonnay and 30% Meunier with three years aging on the lees gives this wine bright aromas of raspberry and blood orange with a matched lingering taste. Cuvée René Champagne Tribaut-Schloesser - This wine is named for the house's founder, René Schloesser. The blend is 70% Chardonnay and 30% Pinot Noir and contains 50% of the foudre-aged reserve wines. The cuvée is aged for 6 years on the lees prior to disgorgement. Fuller-bodied and rich with a hazelnut brioche character and a long, elegant finish. l'Authentique Champagne Tribaut-Schloesser 2008 - Sourced from old vines in Aÿ, Romery and Écueil, this is a blend of 60% Pinot Noir and 40% Chardonnay wine which was aged in foudre for two years followed by five years of bottle aging on the lees before disgorgement. Sébastien Tribaut recommends decanting this wine to fully release all that it has to offer. Full-bodied, dry and intense with caramelized bakery notes through the lengthy finish. All of the wines are recommended, I particularly enjoyed the Champagne Tribaut-Schloesser Blanc de Chardonnay which can be found on-line for about $35.