Doing wine tastings is something that I never turn down, especially when I am at my local wine shop the Fine Wine Source. When I see the term Grand Vin de Graves, my immediate thought is that it is a little ballyhoo “grand wine of Graves,” but Graves was one of the first areas of Bordeaux that I really had some great wines when I was still a student, because they were affordable and some were excellent. When I looked at the label and read Chateau Tour Leognan Pessac-Leognan 2018, nothing immediately rang any bells, but then I read a little further and saw Famille Perrin and Chateau Carbonnieux. If I had unlimited funds, I am not sure if wines would be as exciting, because I always try to find a winner in an affordable range, especially now in my retirement.
Chateau Carbonnieux is a wine producer in Pessac-Leognan region of Graves, and they produce red and white wines and I discovered that they also produce wines on the estate on a couple of different tiers. The Carbonnieux estate goes back to the early days of Bordeaux in the 13th Century and has a varied history, until it was purchased by the Perrin family in the last century. They renovated the property with a new cellar and winery; they also increased the vineyards from forty-five to ninety-five hectares. In the Grand Cru Classe de Graves in 1959, both the red and white wines were classified for Chateau Carbonnieux. They grow Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Petit Verdot, Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon and the average age of the vines would be around thirty years of age. The white and red wines, both start fermentation in Stainless Steel and then are place in barrels where the malolactic fermentation takes place. The grand vin blanc spends ten months in the barrel, while the grand vin rouge spends eighteen months in oak, then the wines are fined and spend some time in bottles before release. The winery also has a second label La Croix de Carbonnieux for both red and white. The fruit is harvested from younger vines, gets the same treatment and attention, though the time in the barrel is reduced, to produce a younger and more fruit forward wine to early enjoyment.
Chateau Tour Leognan Pessac-Leognan 2018 is their third label, and it is also offered as white, but I am talking about the red wine. Chateau Carbonnieux replants at least one or two plots of vines each year. The juice that is used for this wine is basically from their twelve-year-old vines. The wine is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, and still getting the same initial treatment as Cru Classe wines, but the wine is aged for twelve months in oak. They recommend five years in the cellar to allow the wine to reach its maximum of layering of tastes. This wine, while young was representative of a nice wine from Graves, offering some red and dark fruit and a decent finish with some terroir. A nice offering from an affordable wine.