Welcome to the 2018 Bordeaux Collection
To curate each of our seasonal collections, Sarment’s Michelin–star Sommeliers visit some of the world’s most iconic wine regions to conduct a series of rigorous blind tastings in an attempt to discover that particular region’s hidden gems and lesser known treasures. Sarment Collections are borne out of a simple, yet selective philosophy. Wines are judged not on price, label or reputation but on quality, style and drinkability. To prepare for each collection we contact growers – outside the realms of the big names and dominant negociants – and peak the interests of multiple Domains, Châteaux and Wineries who, in turn, offer their wines to our blind tasting panel. Three days is allocated to create and curate each collection and once our Sommeliers have made their selections, we return to Asia and invite our trade customers, corporate partners and private clients to a series of exclusive events where the selected wines can be both sampled and purchased. To date, Sarment’s Sommeliers have tasted more than 1,000 wines, with Sarment Collections being created in Bordeaux in 2015, 2016 & 2017, Burgundy in 2016 and an inaugural Italian Collection in 2017.
About the Region
The Bordeaux region, located in the southwest of France, is arguably the most famous wine region in the world. Encompassing more than 120,000 hectares, Bordeaux is the largest winemaking region in France and home to some of the country’s finest châteaux. The region is synonymous with red wine, with over 90% of its wine produced from blends of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Merlot, which makes up approximately 65% of the fruit produced in Bordeaux. Though the region is not best known for its white wine varietals, it is home to some excellent sweet white wines, produced from Semillon, Sauvignon Blanc, and Muscadelle.
2 Banks and 700 Million Bottles
The Bordeaux wine region is divided into two sub-regions colloquially termed the Left and Right Bank. The left bank spans the western bank of the Gironde estuary; the right bank refers to The Libournais, located to the east of the Dordogne River. The region benefits from long, temperate summers which are ideal conditions for growing late-ripening grape varietals such as Cabernet Sauvignon. During winter months, Bordeaux is protected from strong, salt-bearing Atlantic winds by La Forêt des Landes de Biscay. More than 700 million bottles of Bordeaux wine is produced in an average vintage. Consequently, the Bordeaux ‘brand’ is subject to specific classifications and legal protections in the form of Appellations (appellation d’origine controlee, or AOC). AOC is a viticultural designation that legally certifies the relationship between a wine and its terroir. There are roughly 50 appellations of Bordeaux wine, including the famous terroirs of Saint-Émilion, Pomerol, Médoc, and Graves.
The 1885 Classification
In preparation for the 1855 Exposition Universelle (The World’s Fair) in Paris, Napoleon III sought to announce Bordeaux wine as the world’s finest, so he requested wine brokers to classify Bordeaux châteaux (wine estates) based on reputation and trade prices. Red wines from 60 châteaux in the Médoc appellation and one château from the Pessac-Léognan appellation were ranked into five Grand Cru (great growth) categories. These rankings are:
- 5 Premiers Crus (1st growth)
- 14 Deuxièmes Crus (2nd growth)
- 14 Troisièmes Crus (3rd growth)
- 10 Quatrièmes Crus (4th growth)
- 18 Cinquièmes Crus (5th growth)
- 1 Premier Cru Supérieur
- 11 Premiers Crus
- 15 Deuxièmes Crus
Venues: Château Pichon-Baron
Bordeaux 2018 was held at two historic locations; Château Pichon-Baron on the Left Bank and Château Angélus on the Right Bank. Sarment Collections are always held in the world’s finest winegrowing regions and as a result of Sarment’s extensive network, our tasting panel of Michelin-star Sommeliers are able to undertake their work in some of the most elegant and most famous venues within each region. The first 2 days of Bordeaux 2018 saw our Sommeliers installed in the magnificent surroundings of Château Pichon Baron. Located on the 'Left Bank' of Bordeaux and founded in the late 17th Century – the Grand Siècle – Château Pichon-Baron was classified as one of the 15 Deuxièmes Crus (2nd growths) in the original Bordeaux Wine Official Classification of 1855. With a vineyard running adjacent to that of Château Latour and extending to 73-hectares, it is widely regarded as one of Bordeaux's most illustrious "super seconds."
Venues: Château Angélus
For the final day of Bordeaux 2018, the Sarment Sommelier team traversed the river and travelled to the ‘Right Bank’ where they relocated at the beautifully serene Château Angélus. Château Angélus is one of the largest and most prestigious Saint-Émilion estates and was promoted to 1er Grand Cru Classé status in the 1996 Saint-Émilion reclassification. With a vineyard encompassing 57.8 acres and situated less than a kilometre away from the famous Saint-Émilion steeple, Angélus has been passionately managed for over four generations, and is now helmed by Stéphanie de Boüard-Rivoal and Thierry Grenié de Boüard both of whom represent the 8th generation of the Boüard de Laforest family.
JEAN-MARIE PRATT (Head of Wine & Sommeliers, Sarment) Château Belair-Monange, Annonce Bélair- Monange Grand Cru Saint-Émilion 2014 “Château Bélair-Monange was born from the fusion of the vineyards of Châteaux Bélair and Magdelaine, both historic First Classified Growths of Saint-Émilion. The 2014 Annonce is an excellent wine. I loved its fragrant nose, integrated acidity and fine tannins. It has lots of energy and is an extremely pleasant and satisfying wine.” EASON WU (Sommelier, Sarment China) Clos du Marquis, Saint-Julien 1995 “One of my favourite second wines from Bordeaux. This perfectly aged Saint-Julien is a perfect demonstration of what a left bank Bordeaux should be. Showing some tertiary bouquet of mushroom and leather, the ripe black fruit is still there with well integrated oak and mouth-coating tannin.” SEAN OU (Head of Wine, Sarment Southeast Asia) Château de Fieuzal, Pessac-Leognan 2012 “Fieuzal has improved tremendously over the years and Pessac-Leognan is usually overshadowed by its more famous counterparts in Médoc. To come out top amongst some famous houses was a big surprise. This wine showed balance and restraint, not overpowering in any way. Aromatics were vibrant and really pleasant. The winemaker shows real skill and craft in making this wine accessible to all.”