Friday, 10 December 2010

Grande Maison - A Great House in Monbazillac

Whilst in the Dordogne recently, I discovered a couple of domaines that I'm now a huge fan of.  One was Vignobles des Verdots, which I'll look at in another post, and the other was Grande Maison.

Grande Maison are found in the appellation of Monbazillac, about five minutes from the town.  Before visiting the domaine I initially chanced upon their wines in a fantastic cave in the market town of Riberac, which had loads of older vintages at very reasonable prices.  After hugely enjoying their Cuvée du Château Monbazillac a couple of times on our stay, I made sure I picked up all the older Grande Maison wines they had in the shop, which comprised a few each of 1996, 1998 and 2000 vintages.  All of these dark golden tipples were classic examples of Noble Rot pudding wines, with complex, rich marmalade flavours that go on and on.  At around €16 or so a bottle, varying slightly with vintage, they were superb value for their quality and age.  Perfect now at 10 to 14 years old, they showed no signs of tiring.  What's really interesting though is that these wines are made in the same style and from the same grape varieties as the much more famous Sauternes, but at a fraction of the price.

But the house doesn't stop at pudding wine.  They also have a couple of excellent and really well priced dry red and white wines from the Bergerac appellation.  The red, Cuvée Opera, was a snip at around €6 for the first rate 2005 vintage.  Straight-up and delicious you couldn't get a red bordeaux of this quality for anywhere near the same price.  The same applies to the white, Cuvée Sophie, which was a Sauvignon led blend but had extra interest and complexity from the Semillon and Muscadelle in the blend.  Again, at around €8 a bottle the value is outstanding.

What a producer!  I wholeheartedly recommend going to Monbazillac and snapping up a pile of their wines.

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