Our Signature Wines highlight the passions and strengths of the wine makers that created them and bear the trademark characteristics of the AOCs that birthed them. Unique in the UK; these wines are exclusive to Bordeaux-Undiscovered.
Each Signature Wine has been carefully chosen as a beautiful example of the wines produced in these particular AOCs. We selected them as flagships of their regions for those of you who want to discover the different styles great Bordeaux can offer.
AOC Saint Estephe
Saint Estephe is the most northern appellation of the Medoc and is the closest appellation to the mouth of the Gironde Estuary, where the River Garonne begins to join the Atlantic Sea. The AOC is renowned for the beautiful structure and longevity of its wines. Saint Estephe has over 40 Cru Bourgeois and Cru Bourgeois Exceptionnels but the crown jewels of the appellation are the Second Growths (2ème cru) Chateaux Cos d’Estournel and Montrose and Third Growth (3ème Cru) Calon Segur.
Firm and full of finesse, Saint Estephe’s wines are the amongst the most long lived in Bordeaux.
The AOC was known as Saint Esteve de Calonne until the 18th century. Saint Esteve is the old French name for Saint Stephen, the Patron Saint of Stonemasons. In pre Roman times Saint Estephe’s iron ore deposits were quarried and it was a centre of metallurgy and stone working. The Calonnes part of the name comes from ‘Calon’ which were small vessels used to carry goods across the river.
Saint Estephe’s nearest neighbour is Pauillac (they are only separated by a stream) and is the least gravelly appellation of the Medoc. Its vineyards lie on layers of pebbles, quartz and small stones on top of clay washed ashore from the Gironde. Deep below lies a bedrock of limestone. This soil drains more slowly and remains cool, delaying ripening. The harvest here is one of the latest in Bordeaux. This terroir gives the wines exceptional backbone and a distinctive finesse.
While Cabernet Sauvignon is the dominant grape, Saint Estephe has more planting of Merlot than any other area on the Left Bank. Other grapes grown are Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot, Carmenere and Malbec.
Our Signature Saint Estephe: Les Vignes de Hebe 2011, £15.99*
Created by one of the influential dynastic wine making merchant families of Bordeaux, Les Vignes de Hebe is made by Grand Vins de Gironde (GVG), owned by the Borie-Manoux and Casteja family. With a number of top flight Grand Cru Classe chateaux throughout Bordeaux under their ownership, including Premier Cru (First Growth) Chateau Trotte Vieille in Saint Emilion and Fifth Growths (5ème Cru) Chateaux Batailley and Lynch Moussas in Pauillac, they have been specialising in producing superb Bordeaux wines for several centuries.
We can not say from which vineyards Les Vignes de Hebe is produced but Casteja owns Chateau Beau Site which neighbours Calon Segur and has recently acquired Chateau Picard via its purchase of the wine merchants Mahler Besse.
GVG’s range of Les Vignes wines bear the hallmark of their AOCs; representing the essence of their region. Les Vignes de Hebe is named after the Greek goddess of eternal youth and cup bearer to the gods on Mount Olympus. . . a nod to the longevity and pedigree of this wine.
Powerful with exceptional backbone and beautiful structure. Concentrated flavours of cassis (blackcurrant liqueur), blackberry and black cherry with smoky notes of liquorice, spice and dark chocolate. Velvety and very fragrant.
AOC Saint Julien
Saint Julien is often said to be the quintessential claret, combining all of the Medoc’s best qualities. The AOC has the highest proportion of classified chateaux (Grand cru Classe) of all the regions in Bordeaux – 11 in total. The quality is so good in Saint Julien, that Second Wines from those chateaux are very attractive. It is home to the 5 great Second Growths (2ème crus) Chateaux Ducru Beaucaillou, Leoville Poyferre, Leoville Barton, Gruard Larose and Leoville Las Cases.
Consistently elegant, Saint Julien’s wines are classic Bordeaux at its best.
Saint Julien was once named Saint Julien de Reignac and was a Gallo Roman village. The village of Reignac lies exactly opposite Saint Julien on the other bank of the River Garonne and it seems that these two Roman villages traded together. Saint Julien is the patron saint of travellers, boatmen and innkeepers, hence the adoption of his name for the village.
Saint Julien lies on two plateaus between Pauillac and Margaux on the left bank of the Gironde Estuary. It is divided into essentially 2 areas – the riverside estates around the village of Saint Julien and the southern estates around the village of Beychevelle where the area’s Cru Bourgeois are also grouped. Beychevelle takes its name from the Gascon French ‘Baisse-Vaille’ which means ‘lower sails.’ The village of Beychevelle and its chateau were once the fief of the Dukes of Epernon and galleons lowered their sails as they passed by as a sign of allegiance. Chateau Beychevelle’s wine label symbolises this by depicting a ship with sails lowered.
The AOC lies on a layer of glacial gravel which sits on a bedrock of limestone. Cabernet Sauvignon dominates Saint Julien and blends of 70% Cabernet Sauvignon with around 20% Merlot with a dash of Cabernet Franc are not unusual.
Our Signature Saint Julien: Les Vignes d’Icare 2011, £20.49*
Les Vignes de Hebe is made by Grand Vins de Gironde (GVG), owned by the Borie-Manoux and Casteja family, one of Bordeaux’s major players. The Borie-Manoux and Casteja family are powerful wine merchants and own several top flight Grand Cru Classe chateaux. Their cousins (the family divided property and businesses in 1942 to avoid punitive inheritance laws) also own Second Growth (2ème cru) Chateau Ducru Beaucaillou in Saint Julien, amongst others.
GVG’s range of Les Vignes wines bear the hallmark of their AOCs; representing the essence of their region. Les Vignes d’Icare is named after the Greek hero Icarus who sought to fly to the sun. It’s a fitting name for a wine born of Saint Julien, an AOC that seeks to attain the pinnacle of excellence.
A wine with perfect harmony. Full of finesse with elegant and expressive flavours of mulberry, black currant, rich black cherry and coffee beans. Lifted by notes of cedar wood, anise, graphite and roasted oak. Pure but with hidden power.
* Prices correct at the time of publication