The Cotes de Blaye has a very, very different feel than Pauillac, which is just a few miles away across the Garonne estuary. No Chateaux here. Historically, this part of the Bordelais was filled with pine trees, acacia and was very much fox heaven, hence the name Grand Renard. Located in the town of Saint-Ciers, about 15 miles North of Blaye, the Joubert family own 54 acres of vines (3/4 planted with Merlot/Cab/Cab Franc/Malbec and the rest in Sauvignon Blanc/Gris)
The Jouberts used to grow cereal, asparagus, tobacco and raised cow (and they have done so for four generations), before focusing in the 80s on grape growing. When he took over the estate, Francis (seen here on the right) was very much one of the pioneers of Organic farming, having received its AB certification as early as 1987. And now, since 2002, his son Sylvain has joined him and taken over winemaking duties.
The vineyards are immaculately maintained, treated with compost made on-site from Francis’ own herd of cows. Blaye has a very particular geological history since the A.O.C rests on the ancient bed of a prehistoric river that flowed from the Massif Central to the Atlantic. The altitude ranges between 65 and 330 feet. There is a lot of sand, where mostly Merlot is grown, and clay where the Sauvignon Blanc and Gris are planted. There is also many oxidized clay “fingers” in the sub soil.
A unique blend of Sauvignon Gris and Sauvignon Blanc, the grape are cold soaked for 24 hours before being pneumatically pressed.
Sporting a blond and greenish hue, this is a ripe Sauvignon with aromas of citrus, passion fruit (from the Sauvignon Gris) and daisies. This is a crisp, yet rich aperitif wine or a natural companion to shellfish and light fish.
A blend of 75% Merlot and 25% Cabernet Sauvignon. It is destemmed before going 20 days in tanks. The goal is to produce a wine that has as much clean and fresh fruit as possible.
After the challenging 2013 and 2014 harvests, it’s a return to form with the 2015 but it is still a smallish crop.