Château Gravas and Wine by the Glass

You may have heard about the buzz over James Nash’s invention earlier this year on Dragon’s Den. His Cup-A-Wine – a single-serve plastic glass of French wine with a tear off lid – was laughed off the UK television show but is now being hailed as a successful invention.

Indeed Marks & Spencer, which bought the concept, “struggles to keep up with demand.”

His invention, now named more attractively “the Tulip” is currently sold under the following brands: the ‘Italian Job’ – a joint venture between ICB and Nash’s company Wine Innovations – available as an Italian Sauvignon Blanc, Italian Sangiovese Merlot and a Sangiovese Rosé wine and the ‘Le Froglet’ – exclusive to Marks & Spencer – available as a French Shiraz, Chardonnay or Rosé (from the Languedoc).

Whether Nash is responsible for Chateau Gravas‘ new innovation I do not know but the château is now offering Sauternes packaged and sold in a glass (see Bordeaux Wine News).

Château Gravas is named for the gravelly limestone and chalks that its vineyards lie on and is located amongst the Barsac crus classés Châteaux of Coutet, Climens and Doisy Daene.

It’s thought that the château came into being with the division of the great Doisy estate (the vestiges of which are the three Doisy vineyards of Barsac – Daëne, Védrines and Dubroca) but its origins are lost in the mists of time.

It is said that Gravas dates from the time of Richard the Lion Heart in the 12th century but I have yet to find any documentation. It was acquired by the Bernard family in 1850 and today is run by Florence and Michel Bernard and their daughter Mélissa.

This 5th generation of Bernards are well known for their patronage of local artisans and artists and the château is abuzz with activity – winning “Best of Tourism” in 2008.

The family are keen to modernize the reputation of the wonderful sweet white wines of Bordeaux and last year released its vintage in a container styled on the model of a perfume bottle: La Carafe du Château Gravas.

This year they have continued in their dynamic approach towards the market by offering their Sauternes in an individual glass: ‘L’Instant de Gravas’ (the Gravas Moment).

This is a 10 centilitre stemmed glass (the INAO tasting model). This initiative, developed by Mélissa Bernard, has been further developed with a rounded 18.7 centilitre glass: ‘L’Insolite de Gravas’, (Gravas Original).

These innovations are targeted at a young and mobile clientèle and is far removed from the old-
fashioned image of Sauternes as a wine reserved for special occasions . . . and why not!

These wines have an incredible amount to offer and have a wonderful range of flavours and aromas. With Christmas on the horizon I ought to remind you that they are a great gift and pair really well with food.

If you are interested in finding out more you can check out Sweet Bordeaux, their marketing body (which is active on Twitter and Facebook), Steve Webb and Bill Blatch’s Bordeaux Gold (which markets the wine and the region online) and of course you can check out my offerings at Bordeaux-Undiscovered and Interest In Wine!

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