Saturday, May 2, 2020

Blaye - Côtes de Bordeaux

During my trip to the Côtes de Bordeaux last summer, I visited all five terroirs or sub-regions of the greater AOC. Blaye is the largest of the five regions, it is located along the Gironde Estuary. The fruit forward red wines produced here are accessible and easy drinking.

Regarding tourism in the region, there is quite a bit to see and do. It has a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Citadel of Blaye, which was built in the 1600’s. This historic site houses not only an ancient fortress and a herd of goats, it also has a recently remodeled hotel with nearby cafes and shopping. I stayed at the Hôtel de la Citadelle Blaye for two nights. It had a nice restaurant with a excellent breakfast spread and it also had live entertainment on Friday night. The pool overlooks the water and the rooms are air-conditioned which is always important to my fellow Texas travelers.


Our group participated in something more modern that you might not expect to find in such a historic region. In addition to enjoying a tasting at Chateau Monconseil Gazin, we also played an Escape Room game in their old cellar. If your group wants to win, knowledge about the history of wine in France and some tasting skills are definitely required.

We also got to enjoy a very French celebration at Château Le Camplat, a Festibalades. We were treated to a dinner feast with many wines and some live entertainment along with both a vineyard and nature tour. Everyone we met was very welcoming. While we were very focused on the red wines while we there, the region also produces some excellent dry, Sauvignon Blanc wines as well.

Some of my recommended producers that I tasted with during my visit are Chateau Le Camplat, Chateau La Croix St-Pierre, Chateau Mondesir-Gazin, Chateau Monconseil Gazin, and Chateau Cap Saint-Martin. I am always looking for their wines here in Houston.

Recently, I located two wines from Blaye in my area. While I did not visit these two producers, the exceptional drinkability brought back many fond memories of my time there.

I served both of the wines to my family with a steak dinner.
Château Peyredoulle Blaye - Côtes de Bordeaux 2016 - This wine is 91% Merlot, 6% Malbec, and 3% Petit Verdot. Intense cherry/berry aromas and juicy flavors with a distinct floral note, dry, full-bodied, with good acidity, velvety tannins and a slightly spicy, mineral-laced finish, a steal for $19 at Total Wine.

Château Belle Coline Blaye - Côtes de Bordeaux 2014 - This wine is a blend of Merlot and Malbec. It is loaded with red fruit aromas and rich, red raspberry flavors, nicely structured with a medium body, good acidity, and smooth, rounded tannins, it is dry with a pleasant, fruity finish, quite quaffable and affordably priced, $22 at Houston Wine Merchant.

Both wines are highly recommended.

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