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The Lighter Wines of Bordeaux: Ballan Larquette Rosé and White Wine

Vignobles Chaigne et Fils produce superb award winning aromatic whites, rosés, clairets and generous, medium bodied reds from their 86 acre vineyards that cover Cantois and St Lauent du Bois. Their estate is formed from 3 small Châteaux: Château Ballan Larquette, Domaine de Ricaud and Château Peynaud.

They have been selling their wines to private customers from the 1973 vintage which has given them a long experience of bottling and have been making wine since the 1930s. Regis Chaigne is a dynamic wine maker – his policy is simple: you need healthy and ripe grapes to make good wines and he has kept up the consistent quality of his wines via regular investment in his chai.

Regis makes Bordeaux Rosé as well as Bordeaux Clairet at Chateau Ballan Larquette. Bordeaux Rosé and Clairet are made with the same red grapes that are used to make the red wines and can be just as complex as their white or red counterparts. They have less tannin than red wine but these wines can be light and refreshing as well as velvety smooth and voluptuous. They are also very versatile with food.

The main difference between Regis’ Bordeaux Rosé and Clairet is that Rosé is produced from a short maceration of 24 hours whereas the Clairet undergoes about 4 days. Both wines have very different styles and are extremely well made.

The Chateau Ballan Larquette Rosé 2010 is made from a blend of 45% Merlot, 35% Cabernet Sauvignon and 15% Cabernet Franc. This is a sophisticated wine with good refreshing acidity whilst being rounded, smooth and supple in the mouth and is of medium body. The colour is a deep coral pink with orange highlights and the wine has notes of earthy ripe strawberry, red cherry, orange zest, sweet hay, spice and minerality.

Ballan Larquette Rosé is perfect as an aperitif and is great with food – its abv is 12.5%. Try it with warm salads, chicken and cold meats (ham, salami, pastrami), shell fish and sushi, delicate Asian cuisine and chilled soups such as Gazpacho.

Regis’s white Bordeaux, Chateau Ballan Larquette 2011, has recently won an Oscar 2012, and I’m not surprised as this is a lovely white wine. It has good structure, acidity and balance – and a long finish. The wine is a blend of 50% Semillon (a particular favourite grape of mine) and 50% Sauvignon Blanc, 12.5 abv. A pale yellow in colour with a greenish shade to it and is light, bright and thirst quenching. Ballan Larquette has notes of lime, apple, white peach and pear with a hint of chalky minerality, honeysuckle, dried herbs and sweet hay. This is a wine with finesse!

Ballan Larquette will pair beautifully with cheese – especially salty feta or roquefort, fish and seafood, poultry, warm salads and quiches.

If you would like to learn more about Regis and his range of wines check out my Blog: Good Value, High Quality Bordeaux Wine: Chateau Ballan Larquette. You will also find Regis’s superb red wine and clairet available at Bordeaux-Undiscovered.

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