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A suave, sophisticated white Graves, the 2000 Chateau Coucheroy Pessac-Leognon exhibits a creamy, elegant nose. Subtle scents of apple, fig and melon fold into a lovely waft of vanilla – the result of the judicious use of clean, new oak barrels, which Andre Lurton insists be part of the elevage at all of his top estates. Refreshingly dry and carefully wrapped in subtle complexity, the Chateau Coucheroy contains a beautiful pinpoint minerality that seems to speak from its very core. Fruit, earth and barrel marry well in this wine and play off each other like the comfortable, seasoned members of a band. Cultivated yet jazzy, the 2000 Chateau Coucheroy is already excellent but will most certainly improve with age, gaining a deeper resonance to its fruit and mineral core, which over time will explode in a crescendo of flavor and provide a long, dry opulent finish that will be hard to beat. Enjoy now and for the next ten or more years. Serve chilled.
Sophisticated wine calls for sophisticated food. One of our very favorite seafood recipes, Scallops with Pistachio Nuts, seems to be the perfect match for the 2000 Chateau Coucheroy Pessac-Leognon. Both the wine and the food in this instance contain a variety of distinctive flavors, which come together as a beautiful whole. The herbal, mineral flavors in the Chateau Coucheroy complement the pistachios, highlighting the piquancy of the nuts, while the oak barrel fermentation and ageing of the wine plays off the sweet cream and butter used in the sauce. Life doesn’t get much better than this, unless of course you have a large, freshly steamed lobster in the pot. Indeed, the 2000 Chateau Coucheroy is a more than worthy companion to a good Maine lobster. Again, a lobster with its subtle infusion of sweetness and piquancy provides the excellent foil to Chateau Coucheroy’s incomparable mélange of sophisticated flavors. And certainly most seafood and many poultry dishes would also do quite well with this lovely Graves, but experience tells us the more noble the dish, the more dazzling the Chateau Coucheroy becomes, so be regal and watch this jewel of a wine shine.
Chateau Coucheroy is one of the glittering jewels in the diadem of wine estates, so masterfully crafted by the legendary Andre Lurton. Since inheriting the old 18th century farmhouse he was born in, that is now Chateau Bonnet, Lurton has amassed a wine empire that consists of over a dozen dazzling estates, all under the auspices of Les Vignobles Andre Lurton. From Margaux to St. Emilion and Entre Deux Mers to Graves, Lurton has fashioned his passion for wines and vineyards into some of Bordeaux’s most profound wines. Nestled in the Pessac-Leognon appellation of northern Graves that Lurton helped create in 1987, Chateau Coucheroy consists of some 110 acres of vines, which sit astride a gravel and chalk outcropping. The name of the estate comes from the local Gascon dialect: legend has it that Henri, then King of neighboring Navarre and future King of France, surprised by a sudden violent thunderstorm, took shelter there overnight and the place was known henceforth as “Coucheroy”, meaning “the King slept here”. Today, the vineyard is planted in both red and white grapes varieties. The wines are presently vinified in the cellars of the great Chateau La Louviere, one of the brightest stars in Lurton’s portfolio. The red, a blend of Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon, typifies the gracious, velvety style of Graves – an easy-drinking, classic claret. Yet, the white is perhaps the better known wine from Chateau Coucheroy. It is a blend of the traditional Semillon and Sauvignon Blanc, yielding a classic, dry very stylish white Graves. The Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon of Chateau Coucheroy are all hand harvested. A portion of the cepage is then barrel fermented. Ageing for this fine white is also done in barrel as well as vats where the wine is allowed to rest on its lees, gaining complexity and flavor. Such practices insure longevity, up to twenty or more years for the white Graves from Chateau Coucheroy. The 2000 vintage appears to be excellent in nearly all of Bordeaux, but no where is this more true than at Chateau Coucheroy. Already, the 2000 white Graves is drinking well; yet it promises to be one of the longest lived wines from this property.
Graves: The First Bordeaux Graves, which includes the appellation of Pessac-Leognon, is the oldest wine exporting region of Bordeaux. Historical documents, dating from as far back as the 12th century, indicate the flow of exceptional wine from Graves to the world’s thirsty cognoscenti in England and other far flung lands. Later, many Americans, including Thomas Jefferson, considered the wines of Graves to be among the world’s finest, purchasing large quantities of the best Graves for their cellars and procuring vine cuttings from this illustrious commune in the hope of recreating the magic of Graves in the New World. Presently, the wines of Graves, both white and red, are some of the finest and most expensive wines produced in Bordeaux. Graves is the region of Bordeaux closest to the city of Bordeaux itself. In fact, some of this sprawling district’s estates are located in the southern suburbs of the city. The rest of Graves is a pastoral blend of vineyards intermingled with pine forests and small family farms. This bucolic land derives its name from the gravel and sand soil that characterize the finest vineyard sights. Graves’ unique soil composition is the result of the ancient alluvial spoil of the nearby Garonne River as well as the terminal moraine of Ice Age glaciers. The entire Greaves region produces both red and white wines of exceptional quality. Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Merlot are responsible for nearly all of the district’s reds, while Sauvignon Blanc, Semillon and to a lesser extent, Muscadelle (a dry white not to be confused with the sweet Muscatel) constitute the white Bordeaux cepage.In addition to the dry, fragrant reds and whites for which Graves is famous, Graves also produces the world’s finest and most recognized sweet dessert wine in Sauternes, a sub district of Graves.
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