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Dec 8, 2020

Magali Guyon has been the technical director/ winemaker of Château La Cardonne in the Médoc of Bordeaux for more than 20 years. Having worked in Bordeaux for some of the biggest names – she is the former winemaker at Château Lynch-Bages – she represents the best of the best in Bordeaux. Château La Cardonne was recently awarded the prestigious Cru Bourgeois Supérieur title as well. 

In this show, we take a different look at the Médoc (the prestigious Left Bank of Bordeaux) and approach it as a proposition of growing and terroir – not of pretty chateaux and expensive wines. Magali helps us reframe the discussion of Bordeaux to show us that the true essence of Bordeaux is the vineyard and the land.

 

Here are the show notes/discussion topics:

  • The location, size, and the major water, soil, climate, and other influences in the Médoc

Map from Vins du Médoc

  • The soils and the differences between the various types of gravel, the clay-limestone, and the limestone bedrock that could be particularly suited to white wine in the future (yes, we do discuss the possibility of a Blanc appellation for Médoc)

 

  • The flat aspect of Bordeaux and how diurnals must make up for what it lacks in altitude or slope

  • The grapes of the Médoc – mainly Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, and Petit Verdot. We talk about what type of land is well-suited to each grape and what matters when it comes to good viticulture

 

  • The many separate areas/AOCs –Margaux, St. Julien, Pauiilac, Listrac, Moulis, St. Estèphe, and the wider areas of Haut-Médoc and Médoc. We talk about the similarities (the oceanic climate) and the differences (nuances in climate and soil)

 

  • I ask Magali about why there are no wines that tout “old vines” or Vieilles Vignes on their labels in Bordeaux. She explains why that could be.

  • Climate change and the challenges of strictly organic or biodynamic viticulture are a big topic. We also talk about the new grape varieties – Touriga Nacional, Marselan, Arinarnoa, and Castets – and the potential for a few of them. We address the importance of tradition and how keeping wines stylistically true to the region is a priority

 

After an in-depth conversation on Médoc, we discuss Château la Cardonne.

  • Magali explains why she vinifies each lot separately – plot by plot. We discuss how important it is for a vigneron to be in charge of both vineyards and winemaking. We talk about the use of oak and how it is viewed in Bordeaux (as a way to provide controlled oxidation and tannin stabilization, NOT as a “spice rack” as it is in the New World) and why many vigneron are trading barrels for amphora
  •  

 

  • Château La Cardonne ages the wines before release in their famous “Cathedral” . It is 2020 at the time of the show and they are just releasing their 2010 wine

Photo credit: Vins du Médoc

  • We discuss the “caste system” of Bordeaux and how frustrating it is that the classification systems suppress the reputation and excellent wines of places not included in these old rankings. On the positive side, we discuss how that translates to value for us as wine lovers (La Cardonne is a mere US$25)

 


We wrap with a brief discussion of women in Bordeaux, the benefit of foreign investment in Bordeaux (Château La Cardonne is owned by a Hong Kong-based company), and how the future for Bordeaux is exciting and full of possibilities.

 

The show is a great new way to look at Bordeaux. Forget chateaux: look at the land!

*Unless specified otherwise all photos from the Instagram feed of Chateau La Cardonne

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