A fruity and charming claret made by the highly regarded Jean-Michel Baudet. The blend is two-thirds merlot with the balance cabernet sauvignon and a splash of malbec for added depth.
Product Code: CB5021
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The legend goes that the name ‘monconseil’ came about after Charlemagne held a council (mon conseil) in this area in the ninth century. The château itself wasn’t built until around 1500, and it was bought by the Baudet family in 1894. Since then, five generations of the family have put their heart and soul into tending the 18 hectares of vines at this château in the Cotes de Blaye, a region which borders Bourg at the northernmost part of Bordeaux’s right bank. Throughout the 20th century, the estate evolved as each generation made its mark, most notably in the 1950s when it also acquired six hectares of vineyards in Gazin, prompting the château’s name change to Monconseil-Gazin. The family then purchased 18 hectares at Château Ricaud in 1962, as well as Château La Petite Roque in the 1980s, meaning their total vineyard area now comprises 44 hectares.The 24ha at Monconseil-Gazin lie on gentle, south-facing slopes that get plenty of sunshine in the dry summers, but the vines are kept hydrated thanks to well-draining, clay-limestone soils which encourage the roots to dig deep for moisture. The estate is dedicated mostly to red grapes, with 60% merlot, 30% cabernet sauvignon, 10% malbec, and a small amount of cabernet franc, but it also has two hectares of sauvignon blanc and semillon.The current generation of the family is Jean-Michel Baudet and his wife Francoise. Jean-Michel is as passionate about wine as his forefathers, and was even part of the group responsible for the creation of Blaye AOC. The team campaigned for years, finally achieving its aim in 2000, and Jean-Michel was until recently president of Blaye AC. It was in this same year that the château first began pursuing sustainable vineyard practices. The estate has now been Terra Vitis accredited and Jean-Michel has assumed the presidency of Terra Vitis Bordeaux. The estate practises firmly controlled sustainable viticulture and has a lower sulphite allowance than even organic production. The winery is subject to strict quality control. Grapes are sorted manually prior to fermentation; after which, the wine spends between 12 to 18 months in French oak barrels. Great care is taken to ensure the oak influence is balanced with the wine’s other characters, resulting in a smooth, fresh wine that remains a brilliant example of the Blaye appellation for which this family campaigned so tirelessly.
The best growers in the less-fashionable regions of the satellite appellations Blaye, Bourg, and the old Premières Côtes have to work that bit harder to get their wines known and the quality is often exceedingly high while the prices remain sensible. Blaye is the northernmost of these satellites, named after the town of Blaye (pronounced ‘Bly’), which sits on the varied soils of the right-hand shore of the great Gironde estuary. Merlot dominates and the majority of the wines are soft and easy-drinking, balanced and flavourful, but without the dominance of new oak. The wines are usually ready to drink much sooner than those of neighbouring Bourg.Côtes de Bourg is a smaller region south of Blaye, where the Dordogne joins the Garonne to become the Gironde. The soils here are more homogenously clay with limestone and the wines, though still generally merlot dominated, are more robust with delectable tannins, and they benefit from a little more time in bottle as a result. They can develop extremely well with short to mid-term cellaring.Before the draining of the marshes of the Médoc in the 17th century it was these areas that provided a good deal of the wine exported to Britain.Castillon adjoins Saint-Emilion to the east along the Dordogne and inland to the north. It is developing a good reputation for its wines and several prestigious producers from neighbouring appellations have invested a good deal to make wine here and too very good effect alongside a number of excellent locals such as Château de Pitray. Merlot again dominates on a mixture of soils from clay to sand and gravel, though cabernet sauvignon is also has a presence. A wider umbrella appellation controlee called simply Côtes de Bordeaux identifies special terroirs, which includes Blaye and Castillon with one or two others on the banks of the two rivers Garonne and Dordogne. The vast majority of production is red, made mostly from merlot, and there are many excellent producers here, such as Denis Dubourdieu.
If you are a claret drinker who rates charm and finesse over power, and who likes to drink their wines rather than speculate in them, then 2013 is a vintage for you. The best red wines have great freshness, modest alcohol, perfumed fruit flavours and moderate tannins, and most of them will be ready to enjoy over the short to medium term.This was a testing year for the Bordelais. A damp winter gave way to a cool and wet spring, and flowering took place in less than ideal conditions in the middle of June. As a result, fruit set was poor, particularly so for merlot so that wines from those areas where merlot is usually very dominant have a higher proportion of cabernet in the assemblage. The sun eventually came out though, and in July and August temperatures were several degrees warmer than the average. Humidity was something of a problem, with Christian Moueix describing conditions as ‘tropical’, and crop thinning was vital to rein back the vegetative cycle of the vines.Hot, humid conditions continued in late September and early October, and encouraged the development of rot in the ripening grapes. As a result, châteaux were forced to move extremely quickly to pick their grapes before disease could spread. Those who did so, and particularly those with vines on free-draining soils, achieved ripeness in their grapes, and produced wines worthy of their reputations.At the more modest petit château level, where means are more limited, many producers opted to sell off their wine in bulk rather than bottle it. Thus 2013 at this level is either best avoided or be sure to taste first, or stick to the tried and tested names.For the production of sweet wines, conditions at harvest were nigh-on perfect with noble rot prevalent. The resultant Sauternes and Barsacs exhibit lovely balance and freshness, and have a very long life ahead of them. Dry whites are aromatic and zesty with the same backbone of fresh acidity that the reds and sweet wines display.
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"Tasty, rich, very enjoyable
Mr Matthew S Dunford (11-Aug-2016)
"A delicious Bordeaux, with a floral and sweet spiced fruit nose. On the palette, cherries and raspberries, with freshness from beautifully balanced acidity and tannins and warm spice from well judged oak."
Mr Andrew Watson (02-Jun-2016)
"I have just joined the Society and this is the first wine we have tasted! Very enjoyable and lightly fruity, very smooth. Looking forward to trying the next one."
Mrs Barbara Whent (20-Mar-2016)
Plymouth Herald (29th Apr 2016)
with Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Malbec this is an approachable Claret of
distinction. Family owned and crafted this is super-value for lovers of this
style of wine and perfect with Ribs of West country Beef for the soon to be
upon us May bank holiday.
- Stephen Barrett
The Observer (15th Nov 2015)
"Malbec used to be
much more widely planted in Bordeaux than it is today, but there’s a dash of
the variety added to the usual cabernet and merlot recipe here and it brings
flesh and aromatic prettiness to a charmingly juicy and fresh, pleasantly
crunchy, young and vibrant claret for accompanying roast meats of all kinds. - David Williams"
thewinegang.com (3rd Nov 2015)
youthful, fragrant claret with, unusually for modern Bordeaux, a drop of Malbec
in the recipe. There's a deliciously succulent cassis fruit quality, here, a
crunchy feel, some supple tannin and classic Bordelais freshness, and all for less
than a tenner. 88/100"
"Underwhelmed with this bottle, the nose was soft with black fruit and a touch of perfume, neither of which lingered. The palate revealed some still developing tannins. I did not really appreciate the earthy/graphite flavours in another review which I was very much looking forward to. Tried this bottle at varying temperatures and post-cork times hoping that allowing it to breathe might refine the balance. Drinkable, but mediocre at best, better bordeaux bottles to be found on this website under £20."
Dr Pamela Newman (12-Dec-2014)
"I found this best with food and at a good room temperature. It seemed to improve in the glass and as it opened up. Unmistakably Bordeaux (from Bourg on the right bank), hand sorted and has spent 12/18mths in oak but this has not been over done. Some tannins but plenty of red currant fruit with a creamy, silky edge. Great after taste that tells you this has been well made. It is well priced and W.S. state will drink to 2017, which feels about right, so some improvement to come. Worth trying."
Mr Terence Eastham (04-Dec-2014)
The Wine Gang (3rd Apr 2014)
"Lively, ripe blackberry fruit, mineral, sweet earth and graphite
flavours and some merlot fruitcake richness give charm and modernity,
but also authenticity, to this inexpensive Bordeaux (65% merlot, 30%
cabernet sauvignon, 5% malbec). Should suit modernists and
dyed-in-the-wool traditionalists with Easter lamb."
"Excellent, affordable wine which is light enough to drink on its own, but also stands up well to being drunk with well flavoured food. Smooth on the palate and without the slightly acidic aftertaste most cheaper wines tend to leave you with. Will definitely add to my "buy again" list...."
Mr Giles Barling (17-Dec-2012)
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The Society's wine buyers work very closely with our suppliers to determine how best to seal our wines. We list below those closures currently in use with a brief description of each.
A technical cork made up of the remnants from the production of natural corks which are ground down into particles and cleaned and then combined using a food-grade polyurethane glue. A cheaper closure which The Society's buyers discourage suppliers from using.
A technical cork made from cheaper-grade natural cork where the naturally occurring pores are filled with ground down cork particles and then the whole is sealed with a food-grade wax coating. Generally only used for wines with a short shelf-life.
Diam corks look like agglomerate corks but are far superior and are designed to put an end to cork taint and random oxidation. The production process chops cork into pieces and sorts the superior, highly elastic, suberin component from the less elastic lignin, which is discarded. It mixes the suberin with microscopic spheres of the same substance used for contact lenses, which fills the voids between the cork particles reducing porosity to air and increasing elasticity without introducing humidity. Finally the pieces are mixed with a glue and moulded under pressure. The mechanical properties of the cork are guaranteed for a certain minimum number of years depending on the grade of cork - for example Diam 2 is guaranteed for two years; Diam 3, 5 and 10 are also available.
The Champagne cork is 90% agglomerate made from cork off-cuts which are ground down, cleaned, compressed and then glued together with two disks of good quality natural cork glued onto the end which protrudes into the bottle.
Natural corks harvested from the cork oak (Quercus suber) forests in Spain and Portugal have been the closure of choice for wine for the 300 years. The bark of the cork oak is stripped from mature trees every nine years. The planks are stored and then cleaned and graded before the corks are punched out of the wood. For wines destined for long-ageing, high-grade natural corks are still the closure of choice.
Cost-effective synthetic 'corks' made from food-grade plastic with a silicone coating (similar to that used on natural corks). Generally used for wines for short-term cellaring.
A glass stopper with a plastic 'O' ring which acts as an interface between the top of the bottle and the stopper, held in place by a metal, tamper-proof seal. Relatively expensive as a closure and not widely used. Can be removed by hand.
A short natural or agglomerate cork with a plastic or wooden top to enable the stopper to be removed by hand. Traditionally used for whiskies, sherries, Madeira etc.
Aluminium alloy screwcaps made with an expanded polyethylene wadding for the lining. Screwcaps are also known as ROTEs (roll-on tamper evident) or by the brand name (Stelvin is a popular brand). Widely used in Australia and New Zealand and for wines for short-term cellaring. Becoming increasingly sophisticated in terms of allowing differing levels of permeability so mimicking the properties of natural cork offering winemakers more choice depending of the style of wine being made. There is still a lack of sound data regarding the performance of screwcaps for longer-term cellaring.
This is an agglomerate cork with a disk of good-quality natural cork adhered to both ends. A reasonably priced, reliable alternative to natural cork.
This is the metal pilfer-proof cap usually used to seal beer bottles but also used in the production of Champagne and sparkling wine when wines are stored under crown cap before the dosage is added. A few producers use crown caps to seal wine bottles. Open with a standard bottle opener.
Jamie Goode has written an excellent book on the subject of closures for those wishing to find out more (Wine Bottle Closures, Flavour Press).
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Excellent-quality wine is at the heart of everything we do at The Wine Society and balance is the single most important feature of quality. The interaction of a wine's main components of sugar, acidity, tannin, alcohol and flavour matter more than the actual level of alcohol. A well-made wine of 14.5%, for example, will taste more balanced than an inferior-quality wine with 10% alcohol. Furthermore, alcohol levels are only a guide to a wine's fullness: a 12.5% cabernet sauvignon may feel heavier and more full-bodied in the mouth than, say, a gamay of 13.5%. Members should refer to the wine's tasting note for a description of the style and fullness of the wine.
The Society is committed to promoting the responsible enjoyment of wines and spirits by providing relevant information to our members that allows them to make their own informed choices. An additional figure is beginning to be used on labels: the number of (UK) units of alcohol contained in that bottle. This is simply the alcohol by volume percentage multiplied by the content. Thus a 13% wine in a standard 75cl bottle will have 9.7 units of alcohol. All new labels of Society and Exhibition wines will include this information. drinkaware.co.uk
The Society's buyers provide recommended drink dates for all of our wines to help members decide the right time to pop the cork.
Should be drunk over the coming months, certainly within the year.
Now to 2016
Ready to drink now but will keep until 2016.
2018 to 2042
We recommend keeping longer before opening. In 2018 it will be ready to drink but still young and will keep until 2042. It's a matter of personal taste when such wines should be drunk. Many members prefer to try the wines over many years from the opening drink date to the last to watch the wine evolve.
Within one year of purchase
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Some oak has been used in the production, yet it has not been a defining factor in the style of the wine. In this instance, the oak may have played more of a part in the structure of the wine but there will still be discreet flavours associated with the use of new oak.
Wines that are defined by and known for their use of new oak. This must not be confused with a wine which is 'overly oaky' as that would purely be down to bad winemaking! We buy only wines that, we believe, use oak in a balanced and appealing way, enhancing flavour and complexity, and/or imparting structure.
How detectable oak is depends a good deal on the size of the barrel and how new it is. New oak provides a much more evident flavour and aroma and must be used carefully. The size of the barrel is important, as the smaller the barrel, the more surface area of the wine is in contact with the wood and the more flavour will be drawn out. Often, very large old oak barrels are used, which impart little or no oak flavour to the wine at all. They will still bring an extra dynamic to the final taste of a wine though, when compared to stainless steel or concrete vessels, as oak is porous and therefore lets a small amount of air into the barrel. This controlled oxidation has a positive effect on wines, softening the tannins and developing secondary flavours, all helping to add a complexity which comes with age.
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