The Wines Of Chateau Calabre And Chateau Puy-Servain

One of Anya’s favorite things to say to customers is, “We taste a lot of bad wine so you don’t have to.” It’s a great quote, mostly because it’s true. But that’s part of the job. We also taste a lot of great wine, and those we share with you. Sometimes it’s easy. A rep comes in and pours something great, we love it, we order it, and it arrives the next day, and it’s on your table come Saturday night. Sometimes, it’s not so easy. Sometimes one of us will fly out to New York or Chicago for a large platform regional tasting, knowing the wines are overseas awaiting importation. Sometimes one of us will fly overseas to meet old friends and attend big tastings. Again, it’s not like we can carry-on 500 cases of wine, so the wine’s got to wait. That’s what we’ve got here. Back in April, while attending the 2010 Bordeaux En Primeurs tastings, there were people to visit and other things to taste. One of the “other things to taste” happened to be the 2001 Lannesan which sold out faster than you can say “screaming bargain”. When the sanctioned tastings finished, there was time to visit some old friends and taste their wines.Just beyond the northeast corner of the Bordeaux appellation, a stone’s throw from the border town of Ste-Foy-la-Grande, Daniel Hecquet makes the wines of Château Calabre and Château Puy-Servain. The name Daniel Hecquet may be a familiar one. We’ve carried Daniel’s wines going all the way back to the 1980’s through our relationship with importer Robert Kacher Selections. RKS stopped importing Daniel’s wines a couple of years ago, and it was our strong desire to rekindle the relationship. In April 2010, following perfect driving directions provided to me by our friends at Vieux Château Gaubert (more wines from them coming soon), I met Daniel at Château Puy-Servain and got the ball rolling again. I tasted through both lines, the Château Calabre and the Puy-Servain. The wines were in a word, fantastic. Not only that, by virtue of direct importation, they offered gigantic value! Sitting across the table from Daniel later that evening at dinner, I was awestruck at how passionate he was about his vineyards and his wines. I won’t name names, but one of our staffers was once moved to tears as Daniel spoke about wine. We had agreed that we would once again bring his wines into California, said goodnight, and that was that.
Sometimes logistics don’t go our way, or the timing is slightly off, but whatever the reason, we weren’t able to get those wines here last year. That didn’t stop Daniel from welcoming me again this past April. His passion and enthusiasm as warm and fuzzy as always, I apologized for not getting the previous vintage on a container. Dismissing my apology as one of those things that just happens, he guided me to the tasting table, eager to pour the wines for me. I WAS COMPLETELY BLOWN AWAY! The Château Calabre wines were fresh, high-toned, and balanced. Given their pricing, it’s tantamount to giving the wines away. The Château Puy-Servain wines are more focused and precise, again for very resonable prices (Tasting notes on all 5 below). Maintaining my composure was difficult at best, but I managed. I also managed to assure Daniel that we would be loading up on his wines, and that I would have the conversation immediately upon my return to San Francisco. All systems were go as we placed our order, and the waiting game began. Just as with the 2001 Lanessan, more great overseas tasting discoveries have arrived! The wait is over. Come on down and check ’em out. – Peter Zavialoff

2010 Chateau Calabre Montravel Blanc
White Wine; Sauvignon Blanc; Other France;
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50% Sauvignon Blanc, 40% Semillon, 10% Muscadelle. “Bright, fresh, hints of pears and cut grass aromas. You really get a sense of the Semillon. On the palate: easy entry, soft, round white fruit, the crisp acidity picks up mid palate and takes it all along for a crisp, zippy finish.”

Funny story. I brought this over a White Bordeaux loving friend’s house last weekend and we popped it with some halibut. He tasted it and asked me the price point. I said, “sub 10”. He said, “2 cases please”.

2009 Chateau Calabre Bergerac Rouge
Red Wine; Bordeaux Blend; Bordeaux;
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If this isn’t a winner, there’s no such thing. “Bright, fresh red fruit, really nice, a hint of gaminess … just a hint. Palate bright and medium bodied, all tank, all fruit. Well balanced finish, everything firing. Winner. I’m behind this one big time.”


2010 Chateau Puy Servain Montravel Terrement
White Blend; Other France;
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50% Sauvignon Blanc, 50% Sauvignon Gris. “Cut grass, mineral, white fruit aromas, linear and crisp. Precise. Lots to like with fruit and mineral braced by lively acidity. Finish harmonious and lengthy.”
2009 Chateau Puy Servain Rouge Montravel Vieilles Vignes
Red Wine; Bordeaux Blend; Bordeaux;
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90% Merlot, 10% Cabernet Franc. “Rich and ripe intense aromas of stewed dark red fruit, incense, vanilla, clove, and anice-like spice. Palate: Solid, direct, dense Merlot fruit, clove spice hangs right in there. Finish marked by that 2009 structure. It practically sings out loud. Very nice.” (40% new oak)
2007 Chateau Puy Servain Haut Montravel (500 ml)
Sweet Wine; Semillon; Bordeaux;
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I tasted 2 vintages of this wine, the 2007 got the asterisk. “Fresh citrus, candied pears, hints of botrytis; palate marked by opulence. Plenty of complex flavors, nice weight and viscosity leading to a lively, fresh finish.”Made in the Sauternes style, you may want to know that Daniel once worked for Château d’Yquem.



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Filed under Bergerac, French Wine, Montravel, Peter Zavialoff

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