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Château Falfas, Côtes de Bourg Rouge 2014

£18.00 (75cl)

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SKU: BOFA0014B

About the wine

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Description

Merlot (55%), Cabernet Sauvignon (30%), Cabernet Franc (10%) and Cot (5%), the noble vines of Bordeaux, sink their roots deeply and profoundly in soils predominantly of gravel, clay and limestone. This terroir, where vines have been cultivated for more than 700 years, rests on mother rock of limestone asterie (maritime), long recognized as one of the most suitable for grape growing. Thus, in the temperate climate of the Gironde estuary, the vines and their lush fruit reach full maturity under virtually ideal conditions. In the tradition of all the great vineyards of France, limited yields and a rigorous selection of the harvested grapes are standard elements at Falfas.

About the producer

Situated at the crest of one of the most beautiful hillsides of the parish of Bayon, Chateau Falfas is truly “the glory of the region of Bourg”. In the 14th and 15th centuries, this handsome estate belonged to the Lords of Lansac, ancient nobility of the sword, swearing allegiance to the English crown. At that time, the wines of Falfas were exported with privilege to the courts of the Edwards. Later in the 17th century, the domain was acquired by the Sires de Riveaux, to whom the château owes the pure Louis XIII architecture of the present building. At the end of the 17th century, the property came into the possession of the family of the President of the Parliament of Guyenne, Gaillard de Falfas, who restored the château and gave it its name.

Now comprising 20 hectares of vineyards, Château Falfas was in fact one of the very first in Bordeaux to practise organic and biodynamic methods. Today Château Falfas is owned by Véronique and John Cochran, who are building on the traditions of the past with a very simple philosophy: the best wines are not “made”, but rather “grown”. They remain passionate about practising biodynamic principles to extract the very essence of the terroir, producing authentic, rich and generous wines.

Merlot (55%), Cabernet Sauvignon (30%), Cabernet Franc (10%) and Cot (5%), the noble vines of Bordeaux, sink their roots deeply and profoundly in soils predominantly of gravel, clay and limestone. This terroir, where vines have been cultivated for more than 700 years, rests on mother rock of limestone asterie (maritime), long recognized as one of the most suitable for grape growing. Thus, in the temperate climate of the Gironde estuary, the vines and their lush fruit reach full maturity under virtually ideal conditions. In the tradition of all the great vineyards of France, limited yields and a rigorous selection of the harvested grapes are standard elements at Falfas.



Regions Vintage Report:

It is almost impossible to avoid being exposed to pre-campaign comment and speculation each year ahead of the annual En Primeur week in Bordeaux. This year was no different. The critical discussion point once again was pricing and the absolute need for the proprietors to “get it right”. The trade is united on this key element of the En Primeur mix: this year it is vital. Speculative comments re the style/quality, however, are not that helpful so we always try and reserve judgement until we have actually tasted the wines first-hand, even if the fully representative nature of many samples may be questionable. The week though does reveal the overall personality of the vintage as well as the more pronounced highs and lows. The Growing Season The year started with the second wettest winter in 50 years and the warmest in almost 25 years, assuring that the vegetative cycle would start early and well set up. Temperatures took a significant hike in early March, but cold nights acted as a bit of a brake on progress. Nevertheless budding was widely evident from the middle of the month and two weeks ahead of normal. This gave rise to hopes of an early flowering and an early harvest, a precursor to a top quality vintage, at least if history is a guide. April was very warm and dry, but May started cool and dull, causing some coulure/ millerandage on a few plots of precocious Merlots towards the end of the month. The majority of the crop, though, flowered successfully during the first half of June, maintaining the two week advantage. There was, however, widespread oidium and mildew which demanded constant and vigilant attention. The most diligent estates kept on top of the situation, never allowing the infections to take hold, at least not on the developing grape bunches. Ensuring good air circulation in the leaf canopy was key. As June came to a close so did summer, at least until the beginning of September! Both July and August were lacking in sun, warmth and suffered from regular bouts of rain causing the moment of ripening to be delayed and irregular. Disease pressure was never far away and the fortnight advantage had now been lost. Then, as September arrived, so did the fine weather and it stayed, almost unbroken, for a full two months, until the end of October! A particularly glorious Indian summer established itself over Bordeaux yielding a September that was not only the third driest for a century but also the third hottest! Harvesting the Sauvignon and Semillon grapes for the dry whites started in the first week of the month, all under benign weather conditions. Wines of fine aromatics, marked freshness as well as good richness and weight were widely anticipated. The Merlot harvest began in earnest during the third week of September, still under wonderfully blue skies. The grapes had continued to ripen beautifully awaiting the optimum moment to be harvested. Some sorting was necessary in order to ensure that only the best fruit was retained, certainly for the finest selections. The Cabernets were brought in during the second half of October, having benefited from such an extended ripening period and consequent long hang-time. Yields, overall, were a significant improvement on last year and for many were approaching respectability! The dry weather of September was not especially conducive to a bounteous outbreak of noble rot, so the Sauternes harvest became very prolonged and piece-meal, often berry by berry in order to select sufficiently botrytised fruit. It needed the occasional bout of rain in October to herald new waves of botrytis. The fine weather thereafter enabled pickers to gather a crop of excellent quality, but very restricted in yield. Resulting Wine Styles Red wines The best show plenty of concentration, intensity and purity of fruit as well as a noticeable freshness (thanks to the cool summer). The Cabernets appear to be more consistently impressive than the Merlots, but exceptions are plentiful. As ever it is risky to generalise, as there are stars on both the Left and Right Bank. Nevertheless the overriding impression that the finest wines portray is one of sheer drinkability. Elegance and refinement are key descriptors. The successful wines exhibited lithe, finely grained tannins with a linearity of fruit and no excess. Care in selection is required though, as many other wines reflect a more heavy handed approach with insufficiently ripe fruit and/or excessive extraction. In terms of similarity to past vintages, oft-quoted was 2001, or maybe 1996 or 2006 (especially in the more Cabernet dominant appellations). Some even hinted at 2010 due to the vintage’s combination of richness and freshness. This may be a little exaggerated, we feel, but it is clearly the best vintage SINCE 2010 and it will be a vintage that will be approachable in the medium term, but should also age well thanks to its good acidity. Dry White Wines 2014 is rightly considered as an excellent vintage for dry white Bordeaux. The best wines from Pessac-Leognan are very fine indeed, offering lifted aromatics, keen-edged vitality and yet richness too. Sauternes/ Barsac As for the dry whites, the same marriage of richness and freshness is evident, at least for the finest wines. The marked difference between the early picked September fruit with high acidity and the later picked October fruit with its power and complexity has given the master blenders an ability to fashion wines of incredible depth yet vibrancy: a magical combination. The quality of the top echelon wines shines brightly in 2014. Past vintages that had a similar profile? Maybe 2001 or, for some, even 2011? All in all, a great result. Neil Sommerfelt MW, Fine Wine Buyer April 2015 ©adVINture 2020

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