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Dourthe aims to find the Essence of Bordeaux

First there was garage wine, and now Bordeaux negociant Dourthe-Kressmann is sparking a new revolution with a radical blend.

The wine, Essence de Dourthe, is a blend of the finest grapes from the four major Dourthe properties – Château Belgrave in Haut-Médoc, Château Le Boscq (St Estephe), La Garde (Pessac-Leognan) and Clos de la Tour, a Bordeaux Superieur.

For the 2000 vintage, each winemaker in each property was given carte blanche to produce the finest possible grapes from small – 1-3ha – parcels of Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon. The results were blended.

‘The vines were treated as individuals, and the grapes were given special treatment right up to the moment of picking,’ Dourthe director-general Jean-Marie Chadronnier told decanter.com.

The selection was taken from 8ha of vines in total, from the four different appellations, and 6,000 bottles were produced. They should be on the shelves by the end of the year, priced at around €30 (£20).

‘Each estate made exceptional wine anyway, before blending,’ Chadronnier said. ‘Then we blended. By March 2001 we were excited, and then in December last year we tried the wine and (consultant winemaker) Michel Rolland said, “We’ve got it”.’

Chadronnier maintains the blend, which cannot carry any appellation nor vintage on the label and will be simply classed ‘Bordeaux’, is ‘far superior’ to the first wine of each property.

He said it was not supposed to be a revolution, but an exercise in taking Bordeaux winemaking to its limits.

‘With garage wines people did something no one had ever thought of before. We have gone as far as possible doing what Bordeaux is supposed to be best at – blending,’ he said. ‘We have done the best we can with what we have and what we know.’

Written by Adam Lechmere

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