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Wine Travel: Right Bank Bordeaux

Posted by Monica Yu on

After a few weeks on the road, the Bottle Shop team has traveled from Germany to Spain and finally landed in Bordeaux. Over the course of a few weeks and 7 hotels later, we find ourselves in a quiet place on the Right Bank of Bordeaux. Located just 20 minutes outside of the city center, away from the hustle and bustle, Chateau La France was a welcoming delight at first sight. Here in the country side landscape, the air is fresh, the sky is clear and the terrain is much hillier than the Left Bank. Driving up the road to the Chateau, you are greeted by an enormous rooster that is 40 feet high. Chateau La France owner Bruno Mottet commissioned sculptor Georges Saulterre to construct this monumental sculpture which took over a year to complete. Is is carried out according to the triangulation system of Gustave Eiffel and weights over 13,000 lbs, supported by two legs. A great balancing act, the rooster is covered with more than 5,000 feathers made out of sheet metal without any welding. The stainless steel reflects the light from the sky, whether it is sunny or cloudy (many times it is in Bordeaux), the rooster will reflect a different shade of light.

There is a significance in choosing the rooster as the mascot of the estate. The Gallic Rooster is the unofficial French national emblem, as symbolic as the French Lily. The Latin word Gallus means both “rooster” and “inhabitant of Gaul”. The French rooster emblem adored the French flag during the revolution. After the success of the Revolution in 1848 the rooster was made part of the seal of the Republic. In 1899, it was embossed on the French 20 franc gold coins. In 1635, under the reign of Louis XII, the Chateau was owned by the Quinsac family, Royal Notaries of Bordeaux. Destroyed during the French revolution, the Chateau was rebuilt in its current style and the name of Chateau la France has been succeeded.

Chateau La France has a tasting room that can host large groups and the main chateau itself can be reserved for private lodging. We had the opportunity to stay in the newly finished bed and breakfast area of the estate that were converted from former residences of the winemaker and storage facilities. The bed and breakfast is quite modern in style with access to sauna and jacuzzi that over looks the vineyard. In Europe, bed and breakfast are quite common and good for those traveling on the go and even for families taking extensive road trips. Each morning the hostess will brew up a nice strong cup of coffee, served with local fruit and fresh pastries from the local bakery.The estate is quite large and covers a range of terrain. A nice walk around the vineyards can work up a sweat. Just mile nearby is the small village of St Germain du Puch where you can find a nice restaurant and market. Two 18 hole golf courses are also within half a mile away. Of course you can taste Chateau La France's wine at the estate and also travel to the near by town of Saint Emilion for more wine tasting.Chateau La France produces four wines from the Bordeaux Superieur appellation: Chateau La France Bordeaux Superieur, Cuvee Gallus, Bordeaux White and a Rosé.  The wines are very consistent in style, quality and many with numerous awards including Silver and Bronze medal at the Los Angeles International Wine Competition 2014.  The White Wine is a classic Bordeaux style with a blend of Semillon for the fruit and Sauvignon Blanc for the freshness. The wine making involves careful fruit selection, cold skin maceration and temperature control in a gravity cellar. The juice is aged for 3 months in concrete tanks in order to preserve the fruit and the freshness. The result is a wonderful flavor combination of exotic fruit, white flowers and grapefruit. You can find the 2013 vintage here for $15.99 with very limited quantities remaining. We highly recommend this wine to drink in its youth and the quality of fruit along with some body is a good match with Roquefort CheeseSea Bass with Lemon, Honey & Thyme and Fish Taco.If you ever want to travel to the Right Bank of Bordeaux, consider checking out Chateau La France to experience the true authentic feel of the countryside without being too far away from the city. Here you will see wildlife, locals going to school, church, buying groceries and buying local wine of course. To make reservations, go to Chateau La France's website for more info.  Contributed by Monica Yu , Assistant Wine Buyer for Plume Ridge Bottle Shop

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