Zooming around the big name Chateaux of Bordeaux one can easily forget that there are in fact over 8000 Chateaux producing wine across the 60 different Appellations. Many people recognize Bordeaux by the big names such as Chateau Margaux, Lafite, Latour and Haut Brion. But there are many hidden gems tucked away in the hinterland. The areas such as Moulis, Listrac, Castillon, Premieres Cotes, Blaye and Bourg can selectively offer great value for money wines.That is not even mentioning the vast area of Entre Deux Mers, where there are rolling hills, forests, lakes and many different soils and aspects with contributions from the soils of the Dordogne river area as well as the Garonne river.
One of my favourite examples of quality winemaking from one of these less well known areas are the wines from Chateau Falfas in the Cotes de Bourg area. This magnificent Chateau was built in the seventeenth century. However winemaking and viticulture has taken place in the Bourg area since the 2nd Century AD. The Romans cultivated this land extensively as well as mining the tin and fishing. The Bourg Appellation lies about 30 minutes drive to the North of Bordeaux. It is on the East side of the Gironde river. In fact the Bourg area is very close to the very wide part of the Gironde where it splits up in to the Garonne and Dordogne river.
Chateau Falfas has 20 hectares of vineyards on these beautiful rolling hills close to the river. The vines planted are 55% merlot, 40 % Cabernet Sauvignon and Franc and 5% Malbec. The largest parcel of vines is near the Chateau, so it benefits from the magnificent bio diversity of wildlife which is lurking in the woodland behind the Chateau. The rolling hills also benefit from the active air from the river. The tides are changing every 6 hours, which adds movement and life to the area.
Veronique and John Cochran bought the property in 1988. They have been farming the land using biodynamic principles since that time. Unfortunately John Cochran passed away recently and Veronique is now ably running the wine estate. In fact Veronique has a stronger link to biodynamics as her father was Francois Bouchet, who was one of the main pioneers of biodynamic grape growing in France. He, in fact taught many of the most famous winemakers and wine estates the biodynamic philosophy.
Today the wines are exemplary. I tasted a selection last weekend at the Chateau with Veronique Cochran:
Les Demoiselles de Falfas 2010
More merlot soft fruits on the nose. A real explosion of red summer fruits and straberry jam. A delicious soft wine with lighter tannins for early drinking.
Chateau Falfas 2009 (just been bottled one month previously) An awesome fresh nose of dark dense Autumnal fruits. The 55% merlot is balanced with the 40% Cabernet and dash (5%) Malbec. This is a fitting wine for their main wine. A true identity of fresh clean fruit and balanced oak ageing. This wine will develop 10-15 years.
Le Chevalier de Falfas 2006 This extraordinary dense wine has 100% new oak and is mainly from the very oldest (70 years plus) Cabernet vines. The wine has a dark damson character and a toasted richness. Delicious with steak or cheese.
I am commercially linked to these wines, as I want to help Veronique develop more distribution in the UK. She exports to 20 different countries around the Wold and many prestigious Michelin starred restaurants list her wines.