Recently our Senior Wine Advisor Sarah Jane-Tweed visited Bordeaux, a haven for good-quality prestigious wine. Over the next three weeks she will be taking us all along with her on her journey, from chateau to chateau, vineyard to vineyard. In this week’s addition, we arrive in Bordeaux, to all its delights and surprises.
The gates are open and a large dog jumps up to greet us. Our first introduction to the Chateau in Cerons is that of a big welcoming family. For Nicola and Sean Allison, this is exactly what lies at the heart of Chateau du Seuil. The tower glows in its pale straw coloured stone and their vines guard the property like loyal soldiers. It is early October, prior to harvest, and this year has been tougher than most with the seasons out of kilter and weather at times to extremes. We are met by beautiful wild flowers that stand parallel to the vines and the odd lizard. These are not for decoration but actively help the nature of the soil, drainage and attract the good bugs. Nature firmly takes its course here as opposed to the intervention of insecticides, pesticides and so on. The vineyard achieved full organic status in 2010. Their care for the environment has also continued at the winery with the implementation of a waste water treatment plant.
Chateau du Seuil have a total of 25 hectares of vines. 15 has are in the Graves Appellation and 10 in the Premieres Cotes de Bordeaux Appellation. 65% of the vines that are planted in the two appellations are Cabernet and Merlot. The remaining 35% are Semillon and Sauvignon. The winemakers pride themselves on retaining traditional methods but also use the best of modern devices, such as the advantages of temperature control during vinification. Horse chestnuts bejewel the ground and we have a beautiful view over the Gironde. We look at the impressive tanks for their red and white varietals, with the capacity to hold 100, 130 and 156 hl respectively.
The quality of the wines produced at this Chateau here in Cerons are second to none. Long before the acquisition of the property by Nicola’ s parents in 1988, the wine here had received accolades and awards dating back to 1928. Nicola and Sean have achieved a great deal over the last two decades, receiving rave reviews from many critics and prestigious medals.
In 1997, the 1995 Graves Blanc achieved the Coup de Coeur from the Guide Hachette. Their 1997 also received the Trophee des Crus de Graves. I still have a few bottles of the latter vintage in my wine rack. What I personally love about the Chateau du Seuil Graves Blanc is how fresh this wine is. The Semillon has some oak integration, fermenting within the barrel and at intervals staying on its lees, which brings out a wonderful rich quality. This grape works beautifully with the zippy Sauvignon, making this golden beauty full and decadent, whilst retaining great freshness and aromatics. This wine is so versatile and my food matches of choice would be sea bass with artichokes and capers, rabbit, barbecued chicken or hard cheeses made from sheep’s milk.
For more information on the Vineyards:
www.chateauduseuil.com (Chateau du Seuil)
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