2011 Chateau Les Arroucats Cuvee Virginie

By now you’ve heard all about our venture into the “Value Bordeaux” world. What’s not to like? Great wines from Bordeaux’s hidden corners, and they all outperform their respective prices by a long shot! As we previously reported, we chose 24 samples, tasted them over the course of a month or so, and just chose six wines to sell in our shop. Four of those were red wines. What were the other two?  Well, the soon-to-be sold out 2012 Bordeaux Clairet was one, but what was the sixth wine chosen? This one’s for those of us who enjoy the sweeter side of life, it’s the 2011 Chateau Les Arroucats Cuvée Virginie from Sainte-Croix-du-Mont.

Okay, this isn’t Sauternes. It isn’t Barsac. Nor is it Preignac, Fargues, or Bommes. But just across the river from this cluster of villages that mark the home of the world’s finest sweet wines (and a famous dry wine or two), sits the appellation of Sainte-Croix-du-Mont. Just like our other “Value Bordeaux”, the prices for the sweet wines from the north side of the Garonne are bargains compared to their famous neighbors. Sainte-Croix-du-Mont sports some of the best topography and soil on that side of the river. Its proximity to the Garonne makes it another locale situated well for the development of the noble rot. Chateau Les Arroucats was established in the late 1940’s by a Mr. Labat; his granddaughter Mme. Virginie Barbe is at the helm these days. Her vines grow in calcareous, clay soils on a plateau of ancient seabed. The blend is 70% Sémillon, 20% Sauvignon Blanc, and 10% Muscadelle from vines up to 60 years old. No oak touches this wine, it’s all concrete and stainless steel tank, and it’s aged in cement vats for two years before bottling. The result is a fresh, aromatic expression of stone fruit and a hint of caramel and chalk. On the palate, the wine is lively, not viscous, with the distinct sweetness and complexity of a botrytised wine. Again, you can always go the route of sipping this with dessert or as dessert itself, but it’s better served with the exotic and spicy. Of course, one can also go the traditional route of blue cheese or liver pate, but life’s too short to be mired by tradition, isn’t it?

 

Our ever-expanding “Value Bordeaux” section is here to stay, and it now sports a sweet, botrytised wine. How sweet it is! It has already garnered the attention of several customers who have been gushing over the virtues of a 750ml bottle of botrytised (mostly) Sémillon from southern Bordeaux for such a crazy price. And remember, the 2011 Chateau Les Arroucats Cuvée Virginie had to pass the scrutiny of our staff, initially, and is now another great deal that each of us has been and will be taking home for our own tables! 
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Filed under Peter Zavialoff, Sainte-Croix-du-Mont, Semillon

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