Chateau Haut Biot holds some surprises. It’s a cracking bright little Claret full of fabulous flavours of intense blackberry and black cherry with subtle notes of leather, liquorice and crushed black pepper. Lush and velvety in the mouth with well balanced tannins, it’s seductively smooth. Although the small chateau sits slumbering in the sleepy countryside it is part of a vibrant and dynamic scene. The locals are a lively bunch and some of that plucky spirit is reflected in the wine.
Haut Biot sits deep in the countryside on the limestone plateau not too far away from the little wine village of Faleyras. It has ancient roots – Biot is a Lieu Dit, a term often given to old vineyards bearing a traditional name. Lieu Dits were often taken from names of inhabitants, folklore, geographical features or long lost hamlets and you can uncover a lot of local history from them. ‘Biot’ is the Old French word for a pitcher which could indicate that wines were being made and sold here for very many centuries indeed. However all is not quite as it seems in this peaceful spot. Faleyras is world famous for something other than its lovely wines.
Motorsports fans will have already clocked the name – Faleyras is the home of French Championship Rallycross and Autocross racing and is the only circuit in France to host both Championships. It also hosts events on the European Championship. Nicknamed the ‘Green Jewel’ thanks to its beautiful setting with a backdrop of woods (the name Faleyras comes from the word ‘fatha’, meaning ‘wooded place’) the cicuit sits on the outskirts of the village.
There is huge local support for the Faleyras Circuit and it all began in 1974 when a group of locals created an autocross track fenced in with straw bales. Rallycross was already growing in popularity in the UK during the 70s and crossed the English channel in 1976. Faleyras went on from strength to strength and the first rallycross was held in 1990 and European Championships in 1995, 1999 and 2002. Citroen Sport also used the track for private testing of the Xsara WRC in 2002 ans in 2005 Sprint Car racing was also established . Last year the Circuit was sold to Amoleen Racing who are developing and refurbishing the site in readiness for European Championships in the coming years.
The French enthusiasm for car racing is only to be expected – they were the first nation to indulge in the sport. The first organised race was held in 1887 in Paris and the world’s first motoring competition was held there in 1894, which lead to the birth of Grand Prix Racing. Wine being the other French passion naturally has links to car racing too – Philippe de Rothschild, owner of Chateau Mouton Rothschild, raced his own Bugatti T35C in the 1929 Grand Prix and Chateau Guiraud is part owned by the Peugeot family.
It’s not hard to see why Chateau Haut Biot is a popular wine with the local enthusiasts and we’re pleased to say that we have the 2010 vintage available at Bordeaux-Undiscovered for £6.99. It’s perfect for picnics and alfresco dining, being delicious with chargrilled meats, especially barbecued cutlets or beefburgers grilled over charcoal. It’s also excellent with dishes cooked in rich sauces, (red wine, creamy pepper or mushroom), hearty beef casseroles or braised steak and roast duck, lamb, venison or pheasant.
This racy little Claret is a winner!