Côtes de Castillon Wines Facts
Côtes de Castillon is a new appellation which dates back to 1989 and it is noted for its quick rise through the ranks in terms of quality and popularity. It gives an excellent price/quality ratio with its Bordeaux Supérieur. It takes its name from the town of Castillon-la-Bataille, and the battle that was fought there which brought an end to the Hundred Years War. The area is known as the place where the English lost control of Bordeaux.
The vineyards of Côtes de Castillon cover 7,500 acres and lie east of St Emilion and south of Fronsac on the right bank of the river. Most of the domains are less than 25 acres.
Terroir and Grapes
Côtes de Castillon rolls down the steep slopes of hills and valleys created by the Garonne and Dordogne rivers that flow through the area. Often facing south or south east, the vines that grow on these slopes have excellent exposure to the sun.
The climate is slightly warmer and drier than most of Bordeaux. The soil is clay and limestone on the hilltops, sandy gravel at the base of the slopes and clay and silt in the valleys.
Merlot is the primary grape variety planted due to the clay limestone soils and the more continental weather, followed by Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon and Malbec.
Côtes de Castillon produces great value wines with right bank characteristics. They also have the additional benefit of being approachable when young, but also able to age and improve with a few years in the bottle. The wines are known for being concentrated, fruity and typified by strong blackcurrant notes. Other flavours are plums, cherry, leather, raspberry and vanilla according to the terroir and the vintage.
Famous Châteaux and Recommended Red Wines
Château Cap de Faugeres
Try Château Puyanché 2004 (£5.86) made by the Arbo family who have been wine makers since 1900. Their vineyards sit on clay and limestone soils and the wine has a long maceration (3 weeks) which gives Château Puyanché the aromas of blackberry and plum compotes, leather and spices. The grapes are 80% Merlot and 20% Cabernet Franc. The Cabernet Franc with its unique herb infused red berry fragrance, adds backbone and acidity to the sensual, round favours of the Merlot.
Château Puyanché is a dark garnet colour - almost plum - and is a supple and complex wine, well balanced and silky. As an aromatic wine it will go well with Italian tomato and pesto pastas, roasted aubergines and moussaka and Asian cuisine.