Chateau Franc Couplet is owned by the dynamic and talented Eric Meynaud who took over the reigns of this far flung vineyard from his father, Marcel, in 1995. Franc Couplet sits at right at the end of Bordeaux in the Sainte Foy region, named after the pretty, fortified bastide town of Sainte Foy La Grande. Blessed with idyllic scenery and fertile countryside bristling with fruit, game and truffles; Sainte Foy La Grande’s listed market is among the 100 ‘most beautiful’ in France.
Sainte Foy sits in the Pays du Haut Entre Deux Mers (the Highlands of Entre Deux Mers), the end of a great inverted ‘V’ shaped swathe of land sandwiched between the rivers Garonne and Dordogne. This is border country and it looks out on to the Cotes de Duras and Bergerac across the frontier. Off the beaten track and often overlooked, this area is a well hidden treasure. Whereas wines were once robust and rustic, thanks to ambitious winemakers such as Eric, there are now gems cropping up that are refined and brimming with promise. It’s here that you’ll find some of the best value wines in France . . . it’s a Claret hunters heaven.
Eric is well respected amongst the negociants (French wine merchants) and his work is recognised in the professional world. His wines have gained many prizes and awards, reflecting both their quality and his gift for wine making. He does not market his wines himself at all, preferring to focus entirely on his production – or ‘pampering the wines’ as he calls it. Since taking over the helm at Franc Couplet Eric has grown his vineyard from 10 hectares to 60 stretching across the hamlets of Landerrouat, Margueron and La Roquille. He has also added neighbouring Chateaux Laussac and Chateau Clos Moulin Pontet (in the Cotes de Duras over the border) to his estates.
Eric’s Franc Couplet 2012 is a Bordeaux Superieur – a ‘superior’ Claret made under stricter production laws that lift this type of wine above the regular rank of Bordeaux AOC. Bordeaux Superieurs are aged in oak for longer and tend to be richer and more complex. Delicious with both beef and roast pork, Franc Couplet also pairs very well with lamb and game, steak and pan fried pigeon breast and venison. Traditionally enjoyed with Cassoulet au Confit (a rich slow cooked casserole with white haricot beans and either duck, pork sausages, goose or mutton), Franc Couplet is great with casseroles and rich Chinese cuisine such as Beef and Black Bean Sauce.
Learn more about Bordeaux Superieurs in Nick’s Blog: Bordeaux’s Super Superieurs