Noted for being sunnier and drier and than other Bordeaux appellations, the Côtes de Bourg is renowned for producing ripe Merlot dominated red wines. Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc, classic Bordeaux varieties, are also grown at the 21 hectare Cháteau Baron Bellevue, close to the old wine trading port of Bourg.
As Monsieur and Madame Charbonnier walk through their limestone clay vineyards they are very likely to come across a ladybird. Crucial to naturally maintaining the health of the thirty plus (and sometimes over sixty) year old vines on this Right Bank estate, these hungry creatures assist with the sustainable management of vines preferred by the Charbonniers.
Cháteau Baron Bellevue's 21 hectares are planted only with classic Bordeaux varieties, Merlot (80%)Cabernet Sauvignon (15%) and Cabernet Franc (5%) on chalky clay gravel. A third of the vines are over 30 years old, with the oldest planted in 1956. Vines are cultivated with a respect for the environment, without the use of insecticides.
Bunches are thoroughly sorted, de-stemmed and gently pressed before a 20 day fermentation during which the juice is tasted daily to achieve the optimal extraction of flavour and colour. The wine is then aged for 18 months in the Cháteau's cellars, where the barrels are racked every three months until they are ready for bottling, which is also carried out at the cháteau.
Mainly Merlot, this is typically ripe and spicy with wild bramble flavours, tasty tannins and a lovely gutsy character.
Claret and roast lamb go perfectly; chops cooked pink on the BBQ over rosemary infused coals or roasted with a herby sauce. Also good with goats cheese.