Watching our alma mater play in the national championship College Cup, we pulled a sipper from the cellar to drink with leftovers from the week. This Reignac Bordeaux Supérieur was perfect for Sunday afternoon sipping with hearty Anglie's Italian leftovers.
Chateau du Reignac dates back to the 17th century and has 200 acres of vineyards sitting on a gravelly plateau overlooking the peninsula town of Saint-Loubès, France, a suburb of Bordeaux adjacent to the Dordogne River.
Bordeaux Supérieur is an appellation, or officially designated wine district in the Bordeaux region in southwest France along the Gironde River around the town of Bordeaux. Bordeaux Supérieur wine is typically produced by single parcels of older vines. To receive the Bordeaux Supérieur designation, the wines must be aged for at least nine months before they can be sold.
As with regular Bordeaux wines, these are blends with the reds being predominantly Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, with smaller amounts of Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot, Malbec and even some Carmenere.
Typically, wines on the north and east side of the diagonally flowing river are predominantly Merlot varietal based, accented by Cabernet Saugvignon, and the rest, the lesser varietals. Wines produced on the south and west side of the river, are typically predominantly Cabernet Saugvignon, accented by Merlot.
There are also some white Bordeaux wines produced. The whites are produced from Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon grape varietals with smaller amounts of Muscadelle, and occasionally Ugni Blanc, and Sauvignon Gris.
Under the appellation guidelines of French appellation law, in order to be designated a Bordeaux Supérieur wine, it must conform to strict rules. A Bordeaux Supérieur classified wine must come from a vineyard that is planted to a certain density, higher than that of non-classified wines. There must be 4,500 plants per hectare (2 acres per hectare) with a distance of 2.2 meters between rows, compared to 4,000 plants per hectare with a distance of 2.5 meters between rows for regular Bordeaux. This higher density makes it harder for the plants to survive creating stronger deeper roots, and healthier vines for the ones that do. The higher density results in increased concentrated fruit and a lower yield, about 10 percent lower per hectare. Also, the grapes must be picked riper at harvest with higher natural sugar levels resulting in 10 percent natural alcohol level compared to 9.5 percent for regular Bordeaux.
Bordeaux Supérieur wines can be found anywhere in the Bordeaux region, but are mostly found in the area north of St. Emilon and Pomerol (on the north and east side of the River). The result of these differences usually creates a superior wine with a richer and more complex flavor.
Chateau du Reignac Bordeaux Supérieur 2005
Deep ruby/purple color, medium-full bodied, nicely balanced, black currant and black berry fruits, notes of mocha chocolate, anise, graphite and spice box, moderate concentration and acidity, supple ripe tannin makes for pleasant smooth easy casual drinking.
This is a blend of 75% Merlot and 25% Cabernet Sauvignon.
RM 90 points.