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We are continuing our Bordeaux week here at Vegan Wines with brand new reviews from our Bordeaux vegan wine reviewer, Sophie Kevany. This time she has tasted five different wines from the same winery, Chateau Galoupeau, located in the heart of Entre-deux-Mers. They are a family winery who has been in business for 250 years, and lucky for us - vegan friendly! Sophie's notes are below. All photo credits: Chateau Galoupeau ------------------------------------------- GENERAL TASTING NOTE – The moment wine comes into contact with air, or rather oxygen, it begins to change. What we eat, or don’t, with a wine also changes the flavors. So does the temperature (of the wine) and even the mood (of the taster.) Because of all of these different elements, I tend to taste the same wine over several days, with and without food, with the aim being to discover all the different tastes, flavors and textures one bottle can offer. Château Galoupeau, Bordeaux 2017 Château Galoupeau produces an entry level red and white, as well as a more complex ‘Sapientia’ version of each. The estate is organic, vegan and uses an interesting mix of vegan fertilizer (called Le Mazor) and ‘marc’ (grape skin and seed residue) to enrich their soil. The marc is recycled twice, firstly when it goes to from local vineyards to the distillery and is used to make bioethanol (which some Bordeaux bus routes now run on.) And then again when the distillery returns it to vineyards as fertilizer. A very virtuous cycle. Chateau Galoupeau (red) Bordeaux 2017 First day – The wine is light and fruity, with a very slight oaky flavor. It’s only 12% alcohol, which (for someone who generally drinks more than one glass) is always nice to see. As I move down the glass, I notice hints of blackberry and apple, clearer acidity, a more tannic taste and woody, oaky flavors – perhaps slightly too much for my taste, but only very slightly. Overall, it’s a great wine and works perfectly with my latest aperitif concoction: roasted pumpkin seeds with oil and salt. Second day – The wine is still good, although there are now slight hints of overripe fruit and the alcohol flavors are a little too present. After an hour or so in the fridge everything settles down again, the tannins reappear and the fruit suddenly becomes fresh plum. Third day – As would be expected, the flavors are muted all round. Clearly it remains highly drinkable, however, as the last glass has disappeared almost without my realizing.
Chateau Galoupeau Sapientia (red) Bordeaux 2017 First day – Lots of dark fruit, particularly plum and blackberry. There is a slight smell of tobacco flower and hints of oak barrels. It’s very smooth, not terribly tannic or acidic at first sip, but there is a nice bite and length at the end, along with an unexpected complexity that includes traces of leather, tobacco, cherry, strawberry and ripe apple. Obviously a second glass is necessary. Second day – It’s opened out quite a bit. The plum flavors are verging on preserved and it’s much sweeter. To balance that, the tannins are more present, although the finish is a bit shorter and less complex. For some reason, as the second glass disappears down my throat, there is something that reminds me of champagne. No idea why. I am tempted to have a third glass to see if I can work it out, but resist. Early start tomorrow. Several days later – Not sure how, but I lost track of the bottle and it only turns up again about five or six days later at the very back of the wine shelf. I am certain it will be undrinkable but, ever willing, I decide to give it a whirl and am mightily surprised. It’s still very good. Not at its peak, certainly, but perfectly drinkable and there’s a good range of different flavors, all on the dark fruit end of the scale. Impressive to the last drop.
Galoupeau (White) 2017 First day – The smells are great: apple, while flowers, possible daisy and a bit of what I call Vitamin C (like the smell of an effervescent tablet). The wine feels very smooth, there’s a light acidity and possibly some elderflower. You can also taste the Vitamin C flavor and there’s a nice clean finish at the end which is almost salty. The second glass has all of the above plus a bit more salt and there’s a good hint of lemon coming through. It’s great. Second day – as with any white, the second day tends to be less fresh, but it’s still very aromatic and has kept the clean finish. It tastes great with falafel which has slightly too much cumin in it. Third day – that freshness has pretty much disappeared, but it’s still good, and, although all the flowery aromatics are almost gone, it’s retained that smoothness. Good with spicy lentils. Galoupeau Sapientia (White) 2017 First day – This one has me at hello. It’s like a highly affordable version of a white Smith Haute Lafitte: oaky, complex, rich, appley, with white flowers, green plums and there is a clear, biscuit-yeasty-champagne taste (does that explain the red champagne taste I mentioned? Not sure.) The finish is so clean and crisp you almost forget it was there at all. Three glasses are dispatched in short order. I am deeply impressed. Second day – All that complexity and flavor is there, although it doesn’t jump at you quite like it did on the first day. Perfectly normal for a white. There’s also a bit less acidity and freshness, but the sharp, green fruit flavors are all in tact. Let me say it here and now: there is no third day.
Sophie Kevany is a journalist, writer and researcher. She works with a range of media outlets including Dow Jones, the BBC, AFP, Decanter, Wine Business International and the Irish Times. She has lived in Ireland, Norway, South Africa, Peru and France, and has been based in Bordeaux, on an off, since 2004.