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This Bad Boy likes a leg of lamb

Winemaker Jean-Luc Thunevin’s 2018 Bay Boy (Photograph supplied)

As I sit here writing this on Friday, September 8, I am wondering whether I should be thinking of rapidly defrosting foods and warming wine storage areas on an island that may be dealing with the ferociousness of Hurricane Lee.

I will be positive and just discuss my thought process as my wife and I decide on wines to share with friends tomorrow, as we celebrate her arrival here so many years ago. We are serving an English leg of lamb and, as many in that country would do, we have put Bordeaux at the top of our list.

Appropriate would be 2018 Chateau Teyssier St Emilion Grand Cru. It must have been at least 20 years ago that my office phone rang, and I spoke with Jonathan Maltus, who was referred to by his neighbours in France as “Le Englishman”.

“Are you Michael Robinson?” he asked. I replied positively. “Do you know who I am?” he asked. As politely as I could I replied in the negative, but he did go on to ask if we would distribute his wines here. At 15,000 cases Teyssier is his “workhorse” that supports other tiny case count “garage wines” that have earned him a sterling reputation.

Well-known Canadian writer and critic Natalie MacLean has this to say: “From the Montagne-Saint-Émilion wine region in the Bordeaux, Château Teyssier 2018 is a fragrant, medium-plus-bodied 70 per cent merlot and 30 per cent cabernet franc red wine blend with crushed violets, warm plum, mocha, and sweet spice aromas on the nose. Elegant and plushy on the palate with juicy plum, dried herbs, sandalwood, cinnamon, nutmeg, orange zest and well-integrated oak spice flavours on the palate. 92/100.” $41.90 (Stock #8309).

Our 2016 Laforge St Emilion Grand Cru is an example of Jonathan’s tiny production of “garagiste wines”. New oak barrels every year are referred to as 100 per cent new oak. If you replace them every two years, they are 50 per cent new; every four years equals 25 per cent new, and so on. As we stood in front of one of his special wines, he told me that he used 200 per cent new oak. I had never heard of this, and what he meant was that barrels were replaced every six months.

The Wine Cellar Insider comments on 2016 Laforge: “From a blend of 82 per cent merlot plus cabernet franc, liquorice, espresso, smoke, wet earth and red fruits open the perfume. Medium/full bodied with round, polished tannins, black cherries and oak on the palate, the finish reveals layers of juicy black fruits and more oak.” $62 (Stock #8291).

Jean-Luc Thunevin started the “garage movement” and earned the moniker “The Black Sheep of Bordeaux” from none other than Robert Parker. His label on 2018 Bad Boy is sure to garner a smile with its black sheep next to a sign pointing to the garage.

The web site, The Real Review, suggests having it with lamb, and goes on to say, “This is an AC bordeaux with a measure of attitude. It has a very deep colour and profound cabernet-driven aromas of dark berry fruits with a floral high note; the palate strongly built and ripe with emphatic tannins surrounding a core of rich fruit. Long finish; good cellaring potential. 93/100.” For just $31.95 you can enjoy the work of a genius. (Stock #9331).

I will share a little information on a property that I have faithfully followed for many years, as it gives us all the opportunity of having consistently good wine at an attractive price. Chateau Cambon la Pelouse was originally called the Seigneury of Lapelouze. In the late 1600s, it was acquired by Jean de Cambon-Lapelouze. During the French Revolution, the estate was seized as a national property but unlike most other chateaux, the property was returned. Jean Pierre Marie purchased the property in the late 1990s.

In 2019, the winery was sold to Treasury Wine Estates that own many large-scale properties such as Beringer, Penfolds and Chateau St. Jean. The 60-hectare Haut Medoc vineyard of Chateau Cambon La Pelouse is planted with 52 per cent merlot, 44 per cent cabernet sauvignon and 4 per cent petit verdot.

The vineyard has an excellent location near Chateau Cantemerle and Chateau Giscours just outside of the Margaux Appellation. The Wine Enthusiast scores our 2016 a very credible 91/100 and comments, “This rich wine is built by generous tannins and dense black-plum fruits. A hint of dark chocolate offers depth and an edge of extraction that does not detract from the delicious ripe fruitiness. Drink from 2023.” $38 (Stock #9603).

We stock more than a handful of vintages of Chateau Angludet in Margaux, and I will let their winemaker comment on 2014, that is certainly ready to enjoy: “The first impression, provided by its sombre hue, is one of richness: this wine breaths sunshine! It has an unctuous appearance in the glass. The nose confirms this richness and density with a hint of timidity, but deep fruitiness is there revealing fine aromatic intensity. The palate is mouth-filling complete, while the aromatic length in the structure displays remarkable balance.” I will never forget a dinner there where we opened two imperials (each one equal to six bottles) of 1982 Chateau Palmer, which is associated with the same family. $77.70 (Stock #9591).

I should include one with a close connection to the historic 1855 classification of the greatest wines from this region. Let’s consider the “child” of the illustrious Chateau Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande, and it is their “second” wine known as 2016 Reserve De la Comtesse. At 40 per cent, the quite high content of merlot adds silkiness. You will find cedar and violets along with ripe fruits and very well-structured tannins. It would be ideal with lamb. James Suckling called it stunning and rated it 94/100. $95 (Stock #7778).

The hints of mint in some New World cabernet sauvignons would also be lovely with lamb, but that is a story for another time.

• This column is a paid-for advertorial for Burrows Lightbourn Ltd. Michael Robinson can be contacted at mrobinson@bll.bm. Burrows Lightbourn has stores in Hamilton (Front Street East, 295-1554) and Paget (Harbour Road, 236-0355). A selection of its wines, beers and spirits is available online at www.wineonline.bm

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Published September 15, 2023 at 7:59 am (Updated September 15, 2023 at 7:10 am)

This Bad Boy likes a leg of lamb

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