Monique Seillan was in Houston recently visiting with local wine trade and media. I sat down with her at Mark's American Cuisine to sample some of the fantastic wines created by her husband, Pierre and her daughter, Helene Seillan along with Amy and Joe Power of Another Wine Blog and Denman Moody, wine writer for Houston Lifestyles and author of The Advanced Oenophile.
Monique explained that Pierre's wine making career began at his family's estate in Gascony where he focused on red Bordeaux varieties. After working at several different wineries, he began to develop his micro-cru philosophy where he attempts to preserve the unique nuances that each site can contribute based on soil type and topography. This more precise management of the vineyard allows many unique parcels to be vinified separately for more blending options. Daughter Helene joined the team over seven years ago and has worked closely with her father splitting her time between Sonoma County and Saint-Emilion, France.
We started with the 2004 and 2005 Lassegue Saint-Emilion Grand Cru. This is a right bank Bordeaux blend of Merlot and Cabernet Franc with some Cabernet Sauvignon. The 2004 was from the cellar at Mark's, it was fresh and and balanced with a full-body with ripe red fruit aromas and rich flavors of cherry and plum with a bit of herbal marjoram and spice in the long finish. The 2005 was similar but the aromas and flavors were more intense while the tannins were a bit smoother. Very enjoyable.
We also tasted:
The 2009 Arcanum from Tuscany, a Cabernet Franc based blend with Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon. This wine had fresh aromas and flavors of raspberry with nutmeg and white pepper with fresh acidity, smooth tannins and a lightly spicy finish.
The 2004 Helena Dakota Vineyard 100% Cabernet Sauvignon from Knight's Valley had pronounced aromas and flavors of blackberry, cassis, coffee and graphite. It had a full body with velvety tannins and fresh acidity with a long mineral laced finish.
2009 Verite La Muse from Sonoma County is a Merlot based Bordeaux blend with fruity aromas and flavors of cherries, berries and plums with a touch of fennel. Full body, slightly grippy tannins with a slightly spicy finish.
The 2009 Cenyth Sonoma County Red Wine was overseen by daughter, Helene. This Cabernet Sauvignon based blend has aromas and flavors of red and black berries with chocolate mint. It had a full body, silky smooth tannins, fresh acidity and a lingering finish.
All were rich and elegant reds, all recommended and all absolutely fantastic with the bison strip steak on special that evening.