2012 Chateau Turcaud Entre Deux Mers Blanc 12-Pack
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2012 Chateau Turcaud Entre Deux Mers Ratings Pay Dirt in Versailles

It was 1982. Pierre Paillardon oversaw the second most priceless cellar in Versailles, at Gerard Vie's 2-star Les Trois Marches. Paillardon had just blown away the competition in a well-publicized taste-off, making off with the title "Best Young Sommelier of France." A buddy, working as a stagiaire in Vie's kitchen, befriended Paillardon. That friendship led us to Versailles and to the novel pricing strategy conjured up by the boyish redhead.

Paillardon wanted to put a great bottle on every table. As such, he decided to reduce prices for top Bordeaux and Burgundy. So as to keep Vie's accountants off his back, the sommelier spent weekends on the road, hunting down bargains on France's lesser known wine routes. Whenever he hit pay dirt, he loaded up his trunk and brought his bounty back to Versailles. Then, for these bargain reds and whites, he'd multiply by ten!

"For reds, it was pretty easy," Paillardon told us recently. "In France, we have many excellent inexpensive red wines in the Rhone and in the Right Bank satellites. But for les blancs, it's very difficult. Where to go? The Loire? Too expensive. The southern Rhone? Too soft for Vie's cuisine. Alsace? Hors de question. When I first met Maurice Robert in La Sauve-Majeure, my white wine search was over."

When it comes to Entre Deux Mers, the stony Sauvignon Blanc/Semillon blends fashioned from these light riverbed soils, Robert and his son-in-law Stephane Le May are in a class by themselves. Robert started out four decades ago with little more than the shirt on his back, bootstrapping a 15-acre purchase into one of the true jewels of the Gironde.

As a child, Maurice Robert was always fascinated by the way things worked. Leave him alone in the house and he was sure to take something apart that wasn't meant to be dismantled -- just to see if he could put it back together. His first job on the outskirts of Bordeaux was as a tractor salesman. One of his clients, a wealthy landowner in Cadillac, was charmed by Robert's energy, and on a whim asked the 31-year-old if he wanted to take charge of a 70-hectare Right Bank estate. Maurice knew little about viticulture, but that wouldn't dissuade him. A half-dozen years later, Robert had turned the place around.

Then, in 1973, Maurice caught a break when he stumbled upon a run-down 40-acre estate, less than 20% of which was planted to vines. No one was more surprised than the former tractor salesman when the bank lend him the funds to buy the future Chateau Turcaud.

In just a half dozen years, Chateau Turcaud took off like a rocket ship, the reputation of the exquisite minerality of this luscious white blend taking Paris by storm. Robert's most prominent torchbearer was the inimitable Jean-Claude Vrinat, the proprietor of the Michelin 3-star palace, Taillevent. In 1982, Turcaud Entre Deux Mers earned a placement at the top of the Taillevent wine list -- a spot it has never relinquished.

In Chateau Turcaud's cameo appearance on WineAccess, the 2010 Entre Deux Mers earned the highest rating of any like-priced mineral white in WineAccess history. The 2011? Ditto -- garnering a record 203 4- and 5-star ratings. But neither the 2010 nor the 2011 would hold a candle the riveting plushness of this sensational 2012.

The 2012 Chateau Turcaud is a beautifully sculpted, mineral combo of sleek, quince-like Semillon and chiseled, ripe-apple Sauvignon Blanc. The short crop (down 30% from the norm!) pushed the envelope on maturity, magnifying the supple, lithe lines and wonderful cobblestone crispness of this riveting white Bordeaux.

Tasting Notes

2012 Chateau Turcaud Entre Deux Mers Blanc
"Pale green in color. Luscious aromas of ripe apple and quince, beautifully sculpted, mineral and persistent. Unusually concentrated (due to the low yields of 2012) on the attack, juicy and vibrant, the Semillon provides the supple purity, the Sauvignon the green apple refinement. Fine and flinty on the finish with excellent length. As complex as mineral French whites get at the price."
-- WineAccess Travel Log


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