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Saturday 16 June 2012

Tour de Belfort: The Wines - 2010 White Blend

This 2010 Tour de Belfort white blend from the Lot Valley is a blend of the Bordelais Sauvignon Blanc, Semillon and Sauvignon Gris with some Burgundian Chardonnay thrown in.

The story behind how Tour de Belfort came into existence is complicated and fascinating and was told to me by Muriel Lismonde who runs the winery with her parents and family, dividing her time between Cheshire and south west France (see here for Tour de Belfort - The History).

Bordeaux is the nearest classic area to the Lot, not far to the west, so the choice of Semillon and the two Sauvignons makes sense. The reason for the Chardonnay, according to Muriel, is simply that a neighbour was growing it and so it seemed like a good idea.

However, it turned out that the Chardonnay proved to be the most difficult grape to grow successfully and is always the last to ripen.

And with eight different grape varieties grown, that means eight different harvest dates making the logistics of getting down to Quercy for picking challenging to say the least.

This white blend is labelled without reference to the Sauvignon Gris as French wine law allows the disclosure of only three grape varieties.

Pale and limpid in the glass with a touch of golden straw, there are restrained herbaceous aromas on the nose with a touch of ripe stone fruit.

It is made organically both in the vineyard and the winery and, as such, is sealed hermetically under screwcap rather than with cork.

As a result of this, I find it benefits from a bit of aeration and would certainly not be harmed by an hour or so in the decanter which brings out more of the aromas on the palate.

It feels surprisingly harmonious for a blend, even if the main components still make their presence felt - the precise, mineral acidity of the Sauvignon, rounded out by the greater warmth of the south, and the ripe citrus and tropical pineapple of the Chardonnay. There's also a dash of lime zest and the toasty-yeastiness of thick skins.

Long, rounded and mouthwatering on the palate it has a Burgundian creamy texture and good depth of flavour; the finish is mineral and persistent, with the herbaceous notes returning.

Neither a full-on crowd-pleaser nor a critic's extreme and challenging supermodel, it is perhaps the thinking drinker's wine: extremely well-made, well-balanced, with good length and depth it has enough southern warmth to be an easy-drinker, but is restrained and kept in check by a linear acidity that makes it very food friendly.

Match with herby roast chicken, pasta with pesto and prawns or asparagus drizzled with home-made hollandaise.

It has a Silver Medal from the Concours Général Agricole

£10.50 from Tour de Belfort; provided for review.


Tour de Belfort - http://www.tour-de-belfort.com/

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