I had the pleasure last Friday of attending a gathering of the Commanderie de Bordeaux entitled ‘Margaux at Mireio’, a beautiful dinner prepared by Mireio Chef Nicolas Gretin paired with Margaux Grand Cru Classe wines Chateau Giscours and Chateau du Tertre.
The Commanderie de Bordeaux is an international organization of wine lovers founded in Bordeaux, France with chapters in major cities of the world, now including Manila, Philippines.
I attended as guest of current Commanderie Le Maitre (The Master) and one of the original commandeurs, Mr Aurelio ‘Gigi’ Montinola (former President of BPI). “I thought of you because the dinner tonight is all about Margaux,” he said very generously to this Commanderie first timer.
The guest of honor was Alexander van Beek, Director-General of Chateau Giscours and Chateau Du Tertre, who flew in all the way from Bordeaux.
MIREIO AT THE RAFFLES
The evening began with cocktails at the romantic Mireio terrace. Even past sunset, the terrace is beautiful – that view! And we were lucky the weather was just perfect. Guests “warmed up” for a night of wine appreciation in the unusually chilly Manila weather with Ayala champagne and salmon hors d’oeuvres.
Then it was time for the real thing: check out this menu.
Note that the first two bottles are 2009 vintage and the last two bottles are from ten years earlier.
2009 has a reputation of being an excellent year for Bordeaux wines – evidence that the commandeurs really know their wines! And while 1999 was a shadow vintage (I will explain later), 2000 was likewise an excellent year.
CHATEAU DU TERTRE
Du Tertre, Alex explained, means “little hill” or “hillock” (Google translates it to “the mound”; Wikipedia says “tertre” means a hilllock or rising ground). As such, it is an ideal location to make wine because the elevated parts allow for better drainage but also better exposure, resulting in wine with texture that is soft without sacrificing depth.
Alex, who is Dutch, on the mic shared an inside joke that the owners personally like this location not just because of the resulting excellent wine but because atop the hills is where the Dutch can “look down” on the French (that was a joke made in loving jest, of course – the Dutch loved the wine so much they purchased the chateau!).
Here is a quick Wiki on how Chateau du Tertre was acquired by a Dutch family:
“Le Tertre (or Du Tertre) passed through the ownership of the Arrérac family and Marquis de Ségur until the 1855 classification. When the estate was owned by Charles Henri, Le Tertre hold a good reputation and was in demand on the Dutch market. It was sold to Henri de Koenigswarter in 1870 under whose ownership Le Tertre’s reputation increased further … in 1961 Château du Tertre was acquired by Philippe Gasqueton, who restored the vineyards and château with the backing of Belgian business partners. Following Gasqueton’s death in 1995 his widow sold the property to Eric and Louise Albada Jelgersma, owners of the neighbouring estate Château Giscours.“
And from the Chateau Du Tertre website:
“In 1997, a Dutch businessman, Eric Albada Jelgersma bought the estate and invested in the large-scale overall restructuring, thus returning its noble personality to the Chateau du Tertre.“
As I mentioned earlier, we started with a 2009, comparing this to the Chateau Giscours of the same vintage.
The 2009 Du Terte was easy to appreciate with its soft texture, good nose and a spiciness in the end attributed to the higher content (vs other labels) of Cabernet Franc which, in Alex’s words, “adds freshness and energy to the wine”.
For the main course of pan seared duck, a 2000 Du Tertre was served, which had the same definitive bouquet and spice notes that hit the roof of your mouth though this vintage is more creamy and tannined. I would buy a case of this for a holiday family dinner.
This 2009 Du Tertre was compared to the 2009 Chateau Giscours, whose estate is located just beside Chatea Du Tertre.
My two seatmates – Gigi Montinola and Jimmy Panganiban – and I were all more drawn to the Giscours. (Nothing to do with the label sounding like the name of the incumbent president.) After Alex described the Giscours, I understood why: it is because the ’09 Giscours – in Alex’s words – is “INTELLECTUAL”! Hmmm!
What does that mean?! I asked. It meets our IQ requirements? Alex explained: It means that while it is not as easygoing and immediately enjoyable as the Du Tertre, its complexity makes it more appealing. In other (Alex’s) words, the Du Tertre is the girl who is immediately likeable while the Giscours is the one you appreciate more as you get to know her better – like moi! a real Margaux! – CHAROT! Haha!
But the most appealing drink of the night for me (and my most esteemed seatmates) was the 1999 Giscours. It was just so beautifully balanced, so refined and elegant. Alex says the wine “dances on the palate”. – I’m not quite sure what that meant but I am guessing the wine comes alive in your mouth. What he said that I did understand is that this vintage of Giscours – although 1999 was not as exceptional a year as 2000 for Bordeaux in general and therefore called a ‘shadow vintage’ – has “perfect harmony”. That was easy to understand; it was immediately evident 🙂
“With this wine,” Alex said, “You will understand what Margaux is about.”
I definitely went home with a better understanding of Margaux, and an eagerness – a thirst – to learn even more! I’ve heard this said about me I didn’t realize it also applies to the wines – you really can’t get enough of Margaux! 😉 😉 😉