Château La Tonnelle
If there is one wine region in the world that everyone knows, it is Bordeaux. Bordeaux is home to the most illustrious Châteaux producing the highest quality wines in the world. Many wine drinkers know the prestigious first growths of Bordeaux, but think the wines are out of reach in terms of price and need to be cellared for decades. This may be the case for select Bordeaux wines, but Crus Bourgeois du Médoc wines are affordable, approachable, of high quality with a sense of place.
Bordeaux wine lovers need to recognize the Crus Bourgeois category and give it the attention it deserves. These wines are quality wines that generally sell between $15-$40. The wines typically don’t require any aging and are meant to be consumed immediately on purchase. No need to save these wines for a special occasion. There are no aging requirements for these beautiful wines, though many are of high quality and can be put down for a few years in the cellar.
Crus Bourgeois du Médoc History
The term Crus Bourgeois became established through sheer use, as it dates back to the Middle Ages, when the citizens (bourgeois), residents of the “burgh” (Bourg) of Bordeaux, acquired the region’s best lands and were subsequently granted this designation.
In 1932 during the era of the depression, the Crus Bourgeois were grouped in a list established by the Bordeaux wine merchants, under the aegis of the Bordeaux Chamber of Commerce and the Gironde Chamber of Agriculture. The Crus Bourgeois was originally formed to help promote and recognize the quality of the lesser-known estates.
The Crus Bourgeois estates produce high quality red wines from one of eight Médoc appellations; Médoc: Haut-Médoc, Listrac, Moulis, Margaux, Saint-Julien, Pauillac, and Saint-Estèphe. Each year, between 240 and 260 properties, often family-owned, form the Alliance des Crus Bourgeois, accounting for more than 40% of the Médoc’s production. Franck Bijon, President of the Crus Bourgeois du Médoc says “The art of the Crus Bourgeois family is to experiment and create innovation in winemaking and wine managing.”
Crus Bourgeois du Médoc – Wines To Drink Now
Consider Crus Bourgeois wines when you are in the mood for Old World style wines. These wines are elegant, fresh and have bright acidity. On the label, you will also find the prestigious Bordeaux appellations of many of the first growths but at a fraction of the price. The best part is that you don’t have to wait years to savor, just drink now.
Château La Tonnelle Haut-Médoc 2018
We tasted this wine Vincent Fabre owner of Château La Tonnelle, which is a family-run business. Vincent’s father first brought the estate in 1964 and then bought Tonnelle in 1982. Since 1982 the Fabre family has taken care of the vineyards to ensure that the estate ranks amongst the best. Château La Tonnelle has “very old terroir” as Vincent says. Historic maps show that there were vines on the property dating back to 1707. La Tonnelle has special gravel soils that produce wines that have bright fruit notes.
Château La Tonnelle – Fabre Family
The 2018 is a blend of 60% Cabernet Sauvignon, 35% Merlot and 5% Petit Verdot. A beautiful aroma fills the glass with notes of black fruit and spice. The palate is rich and supple with notes of black cherries, blackberries, savory spice and a hint of oak. The tannins are smooth and fine. If you are a Bordeaux lover, you are sure to love this wine. For $25, this is an incredible price to quality ratio for this superbly delicious wine.
Château Laffitte Carcasset Saint-Estèphe Cru Bouorgeois Supérieur 2018
Château Laffitte Carcasset dates back to the early 18th century. The vineyard was formed in 1759 at Le Carcasset, an area located in the heart of Saint-Estèphe appellation. Surrounded by the classified growths of Saint-Estèphe, the 35 hectares of vineyard are on a gravel plateau of Saint-Estèphe, where Cabernet and Merlot best express their potential. Château Laffitte Carcasset has been a Crus Bourgeois since 1932 and a family vineyard from its origins. Since 2016, it has belonged to Pierre Rousseau and his family.
We tasted this 2018 with Managing Director, Pierre Maussire. He proudly shared a renovation project to be completed by renowned french architect Olivier Chadebost(known for the magical cellars of Cheval Blanc and Chateau d’Yquem). They are also in the process of building a state-of-the-art wine cellar and moving the vineyards towards organic farming practices.
Château Laffitte Carcasset – Pierre Maussire
Faithful to its Saint-Estèphe style, Château Laffitte Carcasset 2018 is complex, fruity and elegant. Expressive and rich aromas emerge from the glass with notes of black currant, cedar and spice. The wine is fresh on the palate with black fruit and smooth tannins. The palate is lively and full of energy. This is another prestigious Bordeaux that shows typicity and offers excellent value. This is a great Bordeaux wine that is a fraction of the price of its Saint-Estèphe neighbors.