2005 Balthus Bordeaux Supérieur Bordeaux France Wine Tasting Note
Chateau Reignac Vineyards, Terroir, Grapes, Winemaking
The large, 135 hectare Bordeaux vineyard of Chateau Reignac is planted to 75% Merlot and 25% Cabernet Sauvignon for the red wine. For the white wine, the vineyard is planted to 60% Semillon and 40% Sauvignon Blanc. In total, out of their 135 hectares, they have has 80 hectares under vine. 78 hectares are devoted to growing grapes for red Bordeaux wine. 2 hectares are reserved for white Bordeaux wine grape varietals.
The vineyard is situated on the western side of the Entre Deux Mers appellation. The vineyard is planted to a vine density of 6,000 vines per hectare. The terroir is gravel and clay soil, which is perfect for the Cabernet Sauvignon and limestone with clay soils for the Merlot. The white wine grapes are planted in the limestone soils.
To produce the wine of Chateau Reignac, the wine is vinified in vat. Actually, they have applied for patent to protect their vinification process. What happens is, the grapes are placed in the barrel through a specially designed lid before maceration. Or if it is after cold maceration, the grapes travel from stainless steel vats on a specially designed sluice.
The barrels rest on a rack allowing for easy rotation, along with an internal device that is attached to the head of the barrel. Once the maceration and fermentation is completed, the wine is racked from a sluice valve that is attached to a removable barrel head. The lid opens and the pomace can be easily removed.
Lastly, the detachable barrel head is eventually replaced with a traditional top while the wine ages in barrel. These steps, along with the intense efforts in the vineyard allow this wine to compete with many Right Bank properties in blind tastings.
Malolactic Fermentation takes place in 100% new oak barrels. The wine of Chateau Reignac is aged in 100% new, French oak barrels for between 16 and 20 months. A portion of Chateau Reignac is micro vinified, meaning it is barrel fermented.
When to Drink Chateau Reignac, Anticipated Maturity, Decanting Time
Chateau Reignac is much better with at least 2-4 years of aging in good vintages. Young vintages can be decanted for 1 hour or so. This allows the wine to soften and open its perfume. Older vintages might need very little decanting, just enough to remove the sediment. Chateau Reignac offers its best drinking and should reach peak maturity between 3-14 years of age after the vintage.
Serving Chateau Reignac with Wine, Food, Pairing Tips
Chateau Reignac is best served at 15.5 degrees Celsius, 60 degrees Fahrenheit. The cool, almost cellar temperature gives the wine more freshness and lift. Chateau Reignac is best paired with all types of classic meat dishes, veal, pork, beef, lamb, duck, game, roast chicken, roasted braised and grilled dishes. Chateau Reignac is also good when matched with Asian dishes, rich fish courses like tuna, mushrooms and pasta.
The best wine from Chateau Reignac is called simply Reignac. The wine is produced from the estates oldest viness which are on average more than 40 years of age. This is the wine that you read most of the good comments on. There is a second wine, Chateau de Reignac. This causes some confusion in the marketplace, due to the extremely similar names of the Grand Vin and the second wine. The second wine, which is called Chateau de Reignac features a white label and comes in a typical Bordeaux shaped bottle. The Grand Vin has a brown label is comes in a taller bottle.
In 2002, Reignac introduced a new, top of the line wine, Balthus. Balthus is produced from a small, 3 hectare parcel of 100% old vine Merlot. The wine is produced using 100% micro-vinification techniques, meaning the wine is made completely in the barrel from start to finish. In that regard, Balthus was ahead of the curve for small production wineries.
If you jump ahead about 8 years later, a few of the top Right Bank estates are also using micro vinification techniques, most notably La Violette in Pomerol. Balthus is the most expensive wine from the Entre Deux Mers appellation as well as the most expensive Bordeaux Bordeaux Superieur. Chateau Reignac is a rich, concentrated, opulent, ripe, up front style of wine that offers a lot of pleasure for the money. Plus, the wine shows well young.
Reignac also produces a white Bordeaux wine from a blend of Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon. Chateau Reignac is a fine Bordeaux Superieur value Bordeaux wine made in a crowd pleasing style that drinks well on release, offers good character and remains fairly priced. On average, when combined, the total production of Chateau Reignac is close to 30,000 cases per year.