Monday, 1 June 2009

Bayonne Ham and Clairet du Château de Lisennes

The local wines of Bordeaux have evolved to pair with local cuisine and Clairet du Chateau de Lisennes, being a medium to a fuller bodied wine lends itself very nicely to Bayonne Ham. The Bordelaise drink it with the tender slices and with grilled meants such as Paulliac lamb chops and Bazas beef steaks - or the famous Entrecôte steak served with bone marrow, cooked on an open fire, once made using Bordeaux barrel wood, now replaced by vine branches.

Château de Lisennes Bordeaux Clairet would also go well with pork cutlets, gammon and sausages. Château de Lisennes is a family property of 50 hectares (125 acres) located at the "gates" of the city of Bordeaux in the Entre Deux Mers region. The property has been in existence since 1758 and was acquired by the Soubie Family in 1938. Four generations of the Soubie family have been caring for the vineyards and producing wine since then.

Jean-Luc Soubie currently runs the operation together with his father who is also the mayor of their village, Tresses. The Château takes its name from the clay and limestone soils of the vineyards as the old French word for clay is “glise”. The vineyards themselves date back to 13th Century and are planted equally with Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc.

The Château de Lisennes has a history of mixed farming as well as wine making. Dairy cows and pigs were reared there as well as wheat and potatoes. In the Middle Ages, vegetables were grown between the wide rows of vines. Orchards surrounded the grapes and fruit and wood were sold at market. As time marched on the Château concentrated on making wines and nowadays its acres are full of grapes.

The vines extend down the slopes of the small hills falling away from the Château. The soil is bathed throughout the year by the softness of the ocean breeze, winters are mild and summer reaches into autumn. The grapes of Merlot are rich in sugar and give an alcoholic wine without too many tannins which brings flexibility to the Cabernets. The Cabernet Sauvignon brings the rich colour and the characteristic flavours whilst the Cabernet Frank produces the great aromas.

Lisennes makes consistently good wines and the Château de Lisennes Bordeaux Clairet is one of the best that Bordeaux offers. The Clairet won the gold medal in Brussels in 2006. It also has been awarded several other medals for best Rosé. The fragrant wine is a deep raspberry pink with violet reflections. The aroma is complex; it has raspberry, peach and spice overtones. It is soft and full, and the fruity taste of blackberries, redcurrants and raspberries explodes in the mouth giving intense round flavours.

Château de Lisennes Bordeaux Clairet is well known in France but in the UK it has yet to be discovered. It’s ironic that places as far flung as Peru, Hong Kong, China, Japan, the Ivory Coast and the Cameroon’s all buy from the Soubie family but that Bordeaux-Undiscovered is the only one to have brought it to the wine lovers here at home. Believe me – it won’t be long before you are trying this popular Bordelaise wine to see how good it is for yourselves!

Château Lisennes welcomes visitors to their family estate and you can contact them to let them know you would like to see the vineyards (www.lisennes.com). Jean-Luc Soubie combines both modern oeonolgy techniques and the “savoir faire” of his elders to make his wines which are bottled exclusively at the Château. There is a tasting and reception hall there for guests to sample the wines and a popular time to visit is during the summer harvest.

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