The 2017 Château Beauregard-Ducasse Cuvée Albertine Peyri highlights the Perromat’s acumen with white Graves in the richness of the 2017 vintage. This youthful white Graves displays a brilliant crystalline color and offers a delightful array of floral, fruit and spice aromas to entice the nose. Dry and rich in flavor, the 2017 Château Beauregard-Ducasse Cuvée Albertine Peyri demonstrates the essence and charm of traditional white Graves. With a predominance of Semillon and a strong supporting role from Sauvignon Blanc, the 2017 Cuvée Albertine Peyri captures the inherent beauty of white Graves: delicacy and minerality wedded to waxy fruit flavors of ripe honeydew melon, citrus, guava and dried pineapple. Although the wine’s hiatus in barrel is in evidence, the oak tones imparted by the wood don’t overpower the wine’s essential fruit, herb, and mineral components – all of which emerge almost continuously as the wine breathes. It is Cuvée Albertine Peyri’s ability to evolve steadily in the glass and impress with equal attention to finesse and flavor that we find so attractive. Befitting the finest of white Graves, the 2017 Cuvée Albertine Peyri will continue to improve in bottle for several more years and drink well for up to a decade. We suggest serving the 2017 Château Beauregard-Ducasse Cuvée Albertine Peyri moderately chilled (38°-40° F).
In Bordeaux, white Graves is the order of the day with the region’s legendary seafood. With that said, the 2017 Château Beauregard-Ducasse Cuvée Albertine Peyri truly shines equally well at table with Pecan Encrusted Sea Bass or Grilled Halibut with a Saffron Velouté as it does with a simple plate of prawns, dipped in drawn butter, or most other fruits de mer. But why not also consider more eclectic seafood offerings and other elaborate fare? To that vein, consider Prosciutto Wrapped Shrimp and Pineapple served with a butternut squash crispy spring roll; or Baked Grouper Filets, prepared with a pumpkin seed pesto; or Almond Encrusted Pork Tenderloin, served with a dried cranberry and apple conserve. Each of these dishes offers a myriad of flavors to complement the sophisticated, flavorful 2017 Cuvée Albertine Peyri. A cheese platter with a variety of French cheeses, including Roquefort, also provides a simple, satisfying complement to this soulful Graves. Bon appétit!
One of the highlights of a recent wine trip to Bordeaux was spending time with the young and engaging Albert Perromat and his delightful wife Pauline Lurton. Albert, the 7th generation winemaker in his family, has recently taken the helm at his family’s Graves estate. Albert holds a Master’s Degree in Agricultural Engineering from the University of Toulouse and has worked extensively in France and California to hone his craft. Albert comes from a long line of winemakers from the nearby Sauternes appellation of Bordeaux. He grew up at Armajan des Ormes, which is still owned by Albert’s grandfather and managed by his father and uncle. Château Beauregard-Ducasse was taken over by Albert’s father in the 1980s when it was just a tiny 2-acre vineyard. The 2-acre diminutive property belonged to Albert’s grandparents. Today it is a 100-acre family run and managed estate with 27 acres of vines located in the village of Mazères in the southernmost rural section of the Graves region on a bed of gravel (from which the name Graves is derived).
Château Beauregard-Ducasse produces exceptional white and red Graves. The majority of the estate’s production is white Graves from Semillon and Sauvignon Blanc. In order to provide the highest quality wine, Château Beauregard-Ducasse produces two white Graves, an easy drinking wine meant for early consumption, and the château’s flagship white wine, Château Beauregard-Ducasse Cuvée Albertine Peyri (this month’s feature). The Cuvée Albertine Peyri is a barrel fermented white Graves from the château’s finest barrels of Semillon and Sauvignon Blanc. The château’s flagship red Graves, Château Beauregard-Ducasse Cuvée Albert Duran, consists of Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot. The two premier offerings are named in honor of Albert’s great grandparents who are responsible for initiating Château Beauregard-Ducasse.
Graves is the oldest and most historic of all the Bordeaux communes. Before Latour, Lafite, Margaux, and the rest of the well-known names of the Médoc even existed or had even seen a cultivated vine, there was Graves. In fact, Graves has been the home of cultivated vines since as early as the 1st century AD, due at least in part to the Romans’ inability to grow other crops in the graveled soil from which the name Graves is derived. The stone and gravel deposits are vestiges of the last Ice Age, a bane to most farmers but a boon to grape growers, whose vines struggle deep into the thin, porous soil to draw life and subtle complex flavors from the nutrients below.
The wines of Graves appear to be the first Bordeaux wines to be exported, with archeological evidence that Roman garrisons in Britain were the happy recipients of Bordeaux’s quintessential wines. And by the early 12th century, Graves was the most sought after wine in England and beyond for its quality as well as its proximity to the city and port of Bordeaux itself, which lies just a few kilometers from Graves.
Today, the northern section of Graves called Pessac Léognon must battle the urban sprawl that has broken out of the confines of the city of Bordeaux and spread to the nearby suburbs of Talence and Pessac. A little south of these towns lies the pastoral heart of Graves, a pretty, rural country where vineyards mingle with pastures and pine forests. Here, life remains wedded to the land and the joys of the vine.
Graves is rightly famous for both its red and white wines. At their best, the red wines of Graves are unsurpassed for their aromatic beauty as well as their smooth, rich flavors. Earthy, fragrant aromas that resemble cedar, a classic cigar box scent, black currant, and tobacco emanate from red Graves and form a bouquet that is frequently described as enchanting and profound. Moreover, fine red Graves is often the supplest of Bordeaux on the palate. It is also the most flavorful, and easily appreciated of all the great red wines of Bordeaux.
Similarly, white Graves is a dry, very aromatic wine that emits great freshness as well as substantial flavor. Perhaps, the greatest event in Graves in the last twenty years has been the revolution that has taken hold among the producers of white Graves. Once, an obscure and expensive proposition that did not always travel well, contemporary white Graves has taken on even greater vigor, personality and in some cases an exotic edge that underscores the physiological ripeness that was often absent in white Graves in years past. At their best, the finest whites Graves can rival the best white wines made anywhere in the world.
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