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2009 CH. Goulee, Médoc
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The vines of Goulée, located north of the Médoc at Port de Goulée and jau-dignac et loirac, spread out on a gravely hill facing the Gironde estuary. Goulée, which was once an island surrounded by the waters of the estuary, enjoys a terroir of deep layers of gravel worthy of the greatest Médoc Grands Crus and thus vinified as such by the team of Cos d'Estournel.
The average plantation density of 5700 vines per hectare goes along with a high trellising to allow a perfect photosynthesis. Just like for all the great terroir of the Médoc, the vines are pruned and harvested by hand.
The vineyard of Goulée benefits from an extraordinary temperate climate where the two grape-varieties, Cabernet Sauvignon (80%) and Merlot (20%) can grow in the best conditions. Indeed, the geographical position of Goulée situated close to the Atlantic Ocean (11 miles away and 19 from Pauillac), together with the Estuary's remarkable width at Goulée (7 ½ miles wide as against only 2 at Pauillac) bring the Goulée vines exceptional coolness in summer and greater mildness in winter and spring.
It is this distinctive individuality in the climate which gives the Goulée wine a fruity character which is not without recalling that of the style of the New World wines.
Cabernet Sauvignon lends itself particularly well in blends with Merlot. This is actually the archetypal Bordeaux blend, though in different proportions in the sub-regions and sometimes topped up with Cabernet Franc, Malbec, and Petit Verdot.
In the Médoc and Graves the percentage of Cabernet Sauvignon in the blend can range from 95% (Mouton-Rothschild) to as low as 40%. It is particularly suited to the dry, warm, free- draining, gravel-rich soils and is responsible for the redolent cassis characteristics as well as the depth of colour, tannic structure and pronounced acidity of Médoc wines. However 100% Cabernet Sauvignon wines can be slightly hollow-tasting in the middle palate and Merlot with its generous, fleshy fruit flavours acts as a perfect foil by filling in this cavity.
In St-Emilion and Pomerol, the blends are Merlot dominated as Cabernet Sauvignon can struggle to ripen there - when it is included, it adds structure and body to the wine. Sassicaia is the most famous Bordeaux blend in Italy and has spawned many imitations, whereby the blend is now firmly established in the New World and particularly in California and Australia.
The Médoc is arguably the most famous red wine district in the world, home to many of the greatest and most renowned names of Bordeaux. It stretches north-west from the city of Bordeaux with the Gironde estuary to the east. The vineyards extend up to eight miles from the river and run for about 50 miles northwards. It is a surprisingly dull landscape, with the best land found on gravelly outcrops.
The most northerly, low-lying vineyards are classified as Bas-Médoc, whilst those on higher ground, closer to the city of Bordeaux, are entitled to the Haut-Médoc appellation. Within that appellation, there are further communal or village appellations, namely Listrac and Moulis, and the four great names of St. Estèphe, Pauillac, St Julien and Margaux. As a rule of thumb, the greatest wines are made at those properties closest to the river.
Recommended Châteaux from the Bas-Médoc: Ch. Le Boscq, Ch. Patache d'Aux, Ch. Potensac, Ch. la Tour de By, Ch. La Tour Carnet, La Tour Haut-Caussan, Ch. La Tour-St-Bonnet, Ch. Verdignan, Ch. Rolland de By
Recommended châteaux from the Haut-Médoc : Ch. La Lagune, Ch. Cantemerle, Ch d’Agassac, Ch. Belgrave, Ch. Camensac, Ch. Charmail, Ch. Cissac, Ch. Citran, Ch. Lanessan, Ch. Liversan, Ch. du Moulin Rouge, Ch. Sociando-Mallet, Ch. La Tour Carnet, Ch. Verdignan, Ch. d’Arche, Ch. Beaumont, Ch. Lamothe-Bergeron