New School Ch�teau

Posted by The Wine Whore |

While in Bordeaux, I visited something I never thought I would see in the old world wine country. As soon as I stepped through the brand new doors of Ch�teau Faug�res, I felt like I was back in the commercial confines typical of many California wineries. Now while there was no gift shop selling the usual California winery collection of magnets and bottle openers, there was something about this winery that made it "new school" in an otherwise old world.

Here's the story: In 2005 the winery passed hands from years of French ownership to none other than a Swiss investor. To commemorate the new ownership, a new winery was built atop a hill's view of the original old world winery. Equipped with shinny wooden vats, and high tech grape sorting equipment that can visually recognize size, quality, and type of grape, this new facility brings a new edge to the old world.

The winery produce four labels of blends predominately consisting of Merlot as is typical of St. Emilion wine. The premiere blend is made from only the oldest vines and earns its place among the best 30 wines of Bordeaux and the title St. Emilion Grand Cru. I've tasted it and can attest that it is packed with a punch, character, and tannins unlike any other Merlot blend that I have ever had the chance to put in my mouth. Certainly a fitting tribute to the memory of P�by Faug�res , the husband of the ex-owner that passed away years before the winery changed hands.

It will be a couple of years before it is released, but I am curious to see how the new Ch�teau packed with new technology affects the future vintages of wine. When I asked the winery this question, I got the typical French response of "the wine will still be the same because the terroir has not changed. I have to believe that this isn't true... more importantly, I think the wine should taste even better. Whether or not this is due to a good harvest, damage to the vines from a hail storm earlier in the year, or the new facility, it is yet to be determined.

We'll just have to wait and see!

What do you think of this new school winery? Will Bordeaux move to new technology and ways of making wine as a result? How will this affect the terroir?

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