Château de la Grave ‘Caractère', Côtes de Bourg 2017 is no longer available

This is a carousel with zoom. Use the thumbnails to navigate, or jump to a slide. Use the zoom button to zoom into a image.

Out of stock

Château de la Grave ‘Caractère', Côtes de Bourg 2017

Red Wine from France - Bordeaux
The Bassereau family makes one of our members' perennial favourites at their excellent property in this ancient right-bank commune, across the water from Margaux. Typically Bourg in character, with a certain grip, the 2017 has lovely purity of fruit and fine, ripe tannins.
is no longer available
Code: CB5911

Wine characteristics

  • Red Wine
  • Full-bodied
  • Merlot
  • 13.5% Alcohol
  • Oak used but not v. noticeable
  • Now to 2024
  • 75cl
  • Cork, natural

Bourg, Blaye, 1er Cotes

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...
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.
Read more

Chateau de la Grave

Philippe and Valérie Bassereau took over this splendid property from Philippe’s father in 1982, becoming the fourth generation of the family to run it. It is situated in the commune of Bourg on the right bank of the Gironde River where the well-exposed hillsides benefit from good sunlight. The château itself dates back to the 16th century although it was later restored in the style of Louis XIII.

The Bassereaus have worked hard to steadily improve the wines at Château de la Grave and have been supplying The Society with good value reds for many years. Their wines seem to be getting finer as each vintage adds polish and finesse to the naturally generous flavour and structure of the wine which gives staying power in bottle.

The cream of each vintage’s crop is made into the top wine, Nectar de la Grave which keeps particularly well with its generous flavours. With a predominance of merlot in the blend all the Château de la Grave reds have plenty of charm and fruit. The white Côte de Bourg labelled as Grains Fins is an unusual blend of semillon and colombard which is gently barrel fermented so as not to mask the fragrant fruit.

For members visiting the area, it is worth knowing that Philippe and Valérie have rooms to let in the château which makes a charming place to stay, overlooking the vineyard slopes.

Bordeaux Vintage 2017

Beautifully balanced claret that’s fragrant and intense yet fresh.
In the many years that we have been visiting Bordeaux to taste the new vintage we have never encountered a year quite like 2017. The vintage will forever be associated with the frost of 27th and 28th April, the most destructive in more than a quarter of a century, which ravaged some fine vineyards. Angludet, Grand Corbin Despagne, La Pointe and Climens, for example, heartbreakingly for them, have produced no 2017 wine. In complete contrast all the classic Médoc vineyards that sit on gravel slopes beside the Gironde have made a full crop of marvellous wine, benefitting from the precocity of vine growth which made many others vulnerable. Top châteaux of the Pomerol plateau and on the limestone ridge beside the town of Saint-Emilion were similarly largely untouched by frost damage, and produced beautifully ripe grapes.

It was a roller coaster of a year. A hot June was punctuated by a heavy dose of rain which helped the...
Beautifully balanced claret that’s fragrant and intense yet fresh.
In the many years that we have been visiting Bordeaux to taste the new vintage we have never encountered a year quite like 2017. The vintage will forever be associated with the frost of 27th and 28th April, the most destructive in more than a quarter of a century, which ravaged some fine vineyards. Angludet, Grand Corbin Despagne, La Pointe and Climens, for example, heartbreakingly for them, have produced no 2017 wine. In complete contrast all the classic Médoc vineyards that sit on gravel slopes beside the Gironde have made a full crop of marvellous wine, benefitting from the precocity of vine growth which made many others vulnerable. Top châteaux of the Pomerol plateau and on the limestone ridge beside the town of Saint-Emilion were similarly largely untouched by frost damage, and produced beautifully ripe grapes.

It was a roller coaster of a year. A hot June was punctuated by a heavy dose of rain which helped the vines to endure one of the driest July and August periods ever, although, paradoxically, temperatures were below the seasonal average. More rain in September helped and enhanced maturation of cabernet sauvignon, though some earlier picked merlot was diluted. On the right bank, merlots were splendid but cabernet franc tended to suffer, and the less-planted cabernet sauvignon came into its own.

The result is that we found some wonderfully fragrant wines with beautiful balance, displaying intensity and fresh, long-lasting flavour. They have the structure to ensure long life, but tannins are soft and silky, so some will be approachable relatively young. Top Médocs are completely dominated by cabernet sauvignon, which is their trump card in great years. Pomerol produced glorious full fragrant but fresh merlot.

All in all 2017 was a vintage which demanded close observation, good decision making, hard work and the luck to have frost-free vines. But the happy result is a group of lovely fragrant clarets with depth of flavour and class, and a very promising future.
Read more
2017 vintage reviews
2016 vintage reviews
2015 vintage reviews

Recommended for you

Back to top