Friday, October 27, 2017

Château de Reignac - A Tour, Tasting and Lunch

After a tour and tasting at Planet Bordeaux, the headquarters of the Bordeaux and Bordeaux Supérieur AOC Winemaker's Association, our group headed to Saint-Loubès to learn more about Château de Reignac. We were greeted by export manager, Marion Bechu, who along with the vineyard manager, Benjamin Fruquiere, toured us around the estate.

Like so much of Bordeaux, Château Reignac was significantly affected by the two heavy frosts in late April causing them to lose between 70-80% of the 2017 vintage while also pushing their harvest date back, the grapes were still hanging during our visit.

The estate is located where the Dordogne and Garonne meet so the
property has both the gravelly soils of the left bank which are ideal for Cabernet Sauvignon and the chalky clay soils of the right bank which are ideal for Merlot.

The château was built in 17th century. It got a nice upgrade two hundred years later when a greenhouse created by Gustave Eiffel was added to the property. Yves and Stephanie Vatelot purchased the estate in 1990 and began a new stream of improvements including the addition of a lake, a remodel of the 16th century pigeon tower into a tasting room along with continuous environmental upgrades with the goal of becoming more sustainable and biodiverse. New measures taken range from adding a bamboo plantation to help clean winery waste to inviting local farmers to graze their sheep on the property through the winter.

Château de Reignac is very easy for wine tourists to visit as well. Their website lists multiple tasting experiences from the olfactory tour of wine aromas in the Scent Garden, to a multi-course lunch or a vertical tasting in the pigeon tower. The pigeon tower tasting room features bird's eye views of the property at the top and a high tech tasting space below complete with a mechanized bar top which carries down the wine bottles elevator style for the final reveal.

Our group ended the visit with lunch inside the château with owners, Yves and Stephanie Vatelot. We savored some of the culinary delights offered up in the estate's food and wine experiences while we tasted through the current releases.

The wines:

Reignac Bordeaux Blanc 2015 - Primarily made from Sauvignon Blanc
with some Semilon and Sauvignon Gris sourced from their 2 ha plot planted on soils with large polished gravel, this wine is fresh and inviting with citrus and honeysuckle.

Chateau de Reignac Bordeaux Supérieur 2014 - This is the second wine of the property, it is fruity, approachable and crowd pleasing.

Grand Vin de Reignac Bordeaux 2012 - The estate's premium wine is a blend of 75% Merlot, 20% Cabernet Sauvignon and 5% Cabernet Franc sourced from the estate's best terroirs. Effusive aromas of blackberry, black cherry and dark chocolate with a hint of smoke, it is dry with good tannic structure and a rich chocolate cherry finish.

Balthus 2012 - This limited production special cuvée is made from 100% Merlot sourced from 40 year old vines in a high density planted vineyard which is then fermented in new French oak barrels. Dry and fruity with ripe plum and raspberry aromas and lush flavors, silky tannins and a persistent rich chocolate-laced finish.

Grand Vin de Reignac Bordeaux 2001- This older vintage of the estate's premium wine is very expressive with cassis and leather with dark berry and espresso flavors, it is dry, with velvety tannins and a light truffled note in the lingering finish.

All of these wines are highly recommended.