To determine the origins of the Maison Dourthe it is necessary to go back to 1840, when a hotelier from Lit-et-Mixe, a charming coastal town halfway between the city of Bordeaux and the border with Spain, moved there to engage in a new wine business; that man was Pierre Dourthe. From one generation to another the trade continued to give satisfaction to the Dourthe family that, in 1929, bought Chtâeau Maucaillou, its first Château, laying the foundations for the development of a viticulture entirely based on the concept of terroir. This choice will prove successful and will allow the Maison to earn fame and, above all, money with which devote itself to the acquisition of other properties. That is how, from 1979, Châeau Belgrave Grand Cru Classé, Château Pey La Tour Bordeaux Superieur, Château La Garde, Château Le Boscq, Château Grand Barrail Lamarzelle Figeac and Château Reysson will enter the portfolio of Vignobles Dourthe. Since 2007, the Dourthe brand has been taken over by the Alain Thienot family, the current majority shareholder, and so the Bordeaux heritage is also enriched by the Château of the Thienot family: Château Rahoul, Château de Ricaud and Château Haut Gros Caillou.
Although today Dourthe is one of the largest landowners in Bordeaux (500 hectares) the production philosophy has remained traditional because every single Château is grown independently, with the aim of respecting its specific characteristics. The various plots have been studied in depth and this has allowed to determine the wine choices (pruning, grafting, harvest…) most suitable for each single parcel. To this must be added the choice to work according to the disciplines of sustainable viticulture, abandoning chemistry in the vineyard and drastically reducing the consumption of water and electricity.
The spearhead of Dourthe production is undoubtedly the Essence which, as the name suggests, collects the best of the Château owned vines in a single cuvée. This selection of Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Petit Verdot involves in all just 14 hectares divided between Château Belgrave, Château La Garde, Château Le Boscq and Château Grand Barrail Lamarzelle Figeac. Once harvested, the grapes undergo a cold prefermentative maceration, before being vinified entirely in barrique. The separate lots age for 12 months in the respective cellars before their blend and for a further 12 months, in barrique of one year, in the Dourthe cellars.
The 2005 vintage has an intense ruby color, still very consistent, and an olfactory range that opens with notes of boiled plum, crème de cassis, wild blackberry and vinyl, followed by jam of sour cherries, pot pourri, leather and roasted coffee, with final echoes of graphite, incense and goudron. The palate is characterized by a pleasing glyceric softness and a good balsamic freshness, almost mentholated, combined with a really elegant tannin (now perfectly integrated) and a hint of black pepper spiciness; all accompanied by the return of overripe red fruit and spices that guide the sip to a finish of excellent length.
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