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International Trophy White Blend over £15 – Château Brown, Pessac-Léognan, Bordeaux, France 2013

Gorgeous, subtle oaky nose with youthful quince aromas to the fore and elderflower, orange blossom and green apples in the background. Creamy, round and intense, the palate is bursting with toasty, spicy fruit which has lovely weight and concentration. Classy and delicious, but will get even better (13.5%).
£31.05 Ellis of Richmond

A five-way francophone final tasting here, with a classic white Bordeaux ‘Château Brown’ winning out over contenders from Provence, Languedoc and the Rhône and another from Switzerland’s French-speaking Valais region.

The judges enthused about the quintessential style of this Pessac-Léognan, praising its great balance of fruit and acidity along with the richness and depth that are hallmarks of this region’s great white wines. They also remarked on its youth and great ageing potential.

Jean-Christophe Mau bought Château Brown in 2004. Born into a family of wine merchants, his career began with the purchase of Château Preuillac in 1998. The switch to this domaine began with the sale of the family trading company, Yvon Mau, to Spain’s Freixenet in 2001.

Château Brown is old vine-growing country – Mau reckons there are traces of the practice dating back to the 12th century. The château gained its name when Scottish wine merchant John Brown established himself in Bordeaux and bought the estate in 1795. The domaine regained its reputation under Bernard Barthe after 1994.

This Trophy-winner is a blend of 51% Sauvignon Blanc and 49% Semillon, from a vintage more famous for the challenges it posed to Bordeaux’s reds. The cool and rainy weather that ruined the growing season for Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot created ideal conditions for developing floral and mineral flavours among the whites. It also brought greater acidity and structure than many recent vintages.

DSC_0504The white grape vines at Château Brown benefited from cool and rainy weather in 2013

Tasted against

Adrian & Diego Mathier, L’Ambassadeur des Domaines Diego Mathier, Valais, Switzerland 2013 • Château Salettes, Bandol, Provence, France 2014 • Clos des Nines, Obladie, Coteaux du Languedoc, France 2012 • Gilles Flacher, Cuvée Loess, St-Joseph, Rhône, France 2013.

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