Good Value, High Quality Bordeaux Wine: Chateau Roc de Segur

Sometimes when you taste a wine you find that the taste haunts you, it’s impossible to get it out of your head. Good Bordeaux does this to me and it doesn’t matter whether the wine is a Grand Cru Classé or a Petit Chateau . . . if the wine is good I find it difficult to forget. A couple of years ago I came across a great little claret made in Landerrouet -sur-Segur: Chateau Roc de Segur and I am pleased to say that I have managed to track it down.

Segur is a name that might rings bells with some of you – the House of Segur is an old French noble family dating back to the 9th century. The Marquis de Segur, Nicholas Alexandre (1697 – 1755) was the largest owner of vineyards in Bordeaux (owning three First Growths: Latour, Lafite and Mouton, as well as Calon Segur and Pontet Canet, amongst others) which earned him the nickname Prince of Vines from King Louis XV.

However there is no grand chateau at Chateau Roc de Segur – the vineyard takes its name from an ancient quarry alongside the property, near the River Segur, a tributary of the Dropt. Stone was extracted here and used to build the buildings and monuments in Bordeaux and the vineyard’s cellars are dug deep into the rock. The origin of the name Segur comes from the Old French (Occitan) word meaning ‘well-defended’ or ‘safe / secure.’

Whether there is a link to the Segur family or not has been lost in history but this region was much fought over in the Middle Ages between the French and English. Four hundred years later the armies of Napoleon camped here on their way to Spain. The centuries of fighting explain the amount of fortified houses and bastides built there, so perhaps Roc de Segur’s name originates from a fortified stronghold.

Landerrouet -sur-Segur is a small village that sits on a vast limestone plateau overlooking impressive views of the Segur Valley to the south and the Dropt Valley to the west. The architectural heritage is rich here with the Church of Our Lady dominating the Segur Valley and is home to the beautiful 14th century mill: Moulin de Loubens, which is a historical monument.

Chateau Roc de Segur is owned by Gisele and Daniel Vidal. Daniel was the manager of a large wine producing estate for 22 years but when he and Gisele saw the building and the few surrounding vines at Roc de Segur they fell in love it and built the winery. Over the following years they accumulated more and more vines resulting in 37 hectares (91 acres) in total.

Chateau Roc de Segur 2007 is a blend of 55% Merlot, 35% Cabernet Sauvignon and 10% Cabernet Franc. The limestone here is very close to the surface and the wine is typical of the terroir. A rich ruby purple colour in the glass Roc de Segur will benefit from a couple of hours decanting to do it full justice. This is a lovely wine and a benchmark for good honest claret.

It has flavours of rich blackberry cassis, ripe raspberries, cedar and spice with a hint of black cherry, herbs and earthiness. The tannins are velvety and supple; the wine is very well balanced and has a lovely long finish. Roc de Segur is an excellent food wine that pairs brilliantly with roast duck, venison, pheasant, lamb, beef and rich casseroles.

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