Château La Garde in Pessac-Léognan is a beautiful small chateau in the style which in French is called chartreuse. The chateau was bought by Dourthe (big négociant in Bordeaux, now owned by Champagne Alain Thienot) in 1990 and the quality of the wines has improved enormously these past few years. The vineyard consists of 60 hectares of which 2 hectares are white grapes (Sauvignon blanc and Sauvignon gris).
Dourthe uses Château La Garde as their experimental vineyard. They are for instance experimenting with high density plantings (13 000 vines per hectare) and they allow vines of various ages in the same plot. They want to keep the old vines as long as possible which means that they prefer to replace each vine when it dies, rather than replant a whole plot. This makes the work in the field more difficult because young and old vines do not ripen at the same time. The average age of the vines is high and the younger vines (under 10 years) are used for the second wine, Les Terrasses de Château La Garde.
Les Terrasses de Château La Garde 2007 is very pleasant, fairly light in style but with good structure, and ready to drink now.
We get more body and richness in the chateau wine, Château La Garde. 2008 is classic in style, still young with a deep colour, good body, generous fruit and a velvety taste. The 2006 vintage is also classic, but the style is different. The acidity is higher and Nicolas Chemineau, the export manager of Dourthe, believes that the 2006 vintage, after some ageing, will be better than the 2008 vintage.
2005 was a very good vintage and Chateau La Garde 2005 has developed well and is starting to be quite soft and smooth. It is still rich in taste and concentration and the fruit is fabulous. This is a very good wine with a long life ahead of it (if you want, but you can also enjoy it right away). The 2004, however, is very drinkable now. The style is classic Bordeaux with cedar wood and black currents.
Also look for the white Château La Garde (not so easy to find as the production is very small). The 2007 was a very good year for the whites and Château La Garde Blanc 2007 has lovely aromas of citrus and flowers, well integrated oak flavours and a fine acidity.
Interested in a wine tour to Bordeaux?
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