Bordeaux is Merlot’s birthplace and produces some hedonistic 100% Merlots that are at the pinnacle of their game. Chateaux Petrus, Le Pin and Clinet are famous names that roll of connoisseurs tongues and they are all incredible wines made from Merlot. They have incredible price tags too. However smaller chateaux with lesser profiles also produce superb Merlots and it is here that true bargains can be found. Newly introduced to the UK by Bordeaux-Undiscovered, Chateau Grand Champ is a fourth generation family owned property in the village of Camiran, bordered by the River Dropt. The Pauquet family specialise in making award winning single variety wines and this Merlot won Gold Medal at the Concours de Bordeaux. The wine is named after the ‘great field’ (Grand Champ) that bears the grapes next to the 18th century limestone petit chateau.
Camiran lies deep in unspoilt countryside overlooking the Dropt Valley. To the north east lies the Cotes de Duras and further still, Bergerac. This a sleepy, secret region tucked well away from the beaten track – in fact roads were scarce here as the nature of the river made building them difficult. Even today the best way to discover the region is by bicycle along the lanes and tracks. The valley is scattered with little wine making farmsteads, meadows, plum orchards and vineyards. Camiran’s history is linked to the River Dropt, along which wines were traded for centuries. The settlement had its own little port between the 15th-19th centuries which was a hub for sending wines to Bordeaux.
Being a smooth, soft, medium weighted wine, Chateau Grand Champ pairs well with a whole range of foods. It marries with Mediterranean pizza and pasta; tomato, bell pepper and aubergine dishes (moussaka, lasagne, stuffed peppers), chicken, pork, ham, lamb and steak. It can even be a match for pan fried salmon or tuna.
Learn more about Grand Champ and Bordeaux Merlots in Nicks Blog: Bargain Bordeaux and Best Wine Deals – Thinking ‘Merlot’ Outside of the Box