This sumptuous Bordeaux is satisfyingly complex and well worth the money. It’s actually from the Cotes de Castillon appellation – which is an area of Cotes de Bordeaux – and just to the east of St Emilion. What to expect from this lesser known area? Great value wines, which are a fraction of the price of the more famous areas of Bordeaux, yet generally better quality than the more generic Bordeaux AOC. Chateau de Pitray is one of the leading chateaux in Cotes de Castillon with wines that rival some of those in neighbouring St Emilion.
Decant this wine before getting stuck in, if only to remove the sediment. It’s quite old (2008/2009 currently available) – another good thing about some of the peripheral Bordeaux regions is that they tend to produce earlier drinking wines than the traditional appellations – so you might want to get some air in to help it open up. Start with a good sniff: there’s a lot of different aromas coming through the ripe red and black fruit. There’s something herbal – a whisper of menthol maybe – then a bit of spicy, smoky vanilla from being stored in new French oak barrels for around 18 months. Finally there’s that subtle earthy smell that has evolved with age. All of these aromas come through on the palate: red plums, damsons, blackberries and some rich redcurrant jelly – but also savoury gamey and mushroomy notes. I also got a bit of tobacco which tends to be a hallmark of age worthy red Bordeaux wines.
Make sure you drink this with special occasion and hearty food – a risotto, for example, made with relatively strongly flavoured vegetables, such as mushrooms, to stand up to the complexity of the wine. We savoured it with Chestnut, Celeriac & Mushroom Tart.
At a glance
- Style? Full bodied red wine
- Where is it from? Bordeaux, France
- What’s the grape? Merlot dominated, with Cabernet Franc
- Tastes of? Smoky, rich redcurrants, damsons & quite ‘meaty’
- What food would complement it? Winter food: substantial grain dishes made with mushrooms and/or root vegetables will be ideal. Try Mushroom Risotto Balls
Other red Bordeaux to try: Majestic Chateau Coufran