2012 Chateau Turcaud Entre Deux Mers Blanc 12-Pack
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The Vines of Chateau Turcaud Times Ten in Versailles

Pierre Paillardon had just bested the competition, making off with the title of "Meilleur Jeune Sommelier de France." In 1982, at just 25 years of age, Paillardon found himself managing the cellar and dining room at Gérard Vié's Les Trois Marches in Versailles.

Paillardon spent his days off scouring the hillsides of the Côte de Nuits and Côte de Beaune, determined to pair Vié's delicate cuisine with the Meursaults of Ampeau and Coche-Dury and Roumier's Chambolle-Musigny. But with the French economy just beginning to get back on its feet, even the well-heeled Trois Marches clientele was mindful on a budget.

In response, Paillardon devised a wine-list pricing scheme that would soon be adopted by dozens of Michelin stars. "The accountants told us that our wine cost needed to be 33 percent. But my customers weren't going to accept a 3x markup on expensive Burgundy. So instead of marking up all my wines by a factor of three, I only doubled on the Burgundies — and multiplied by TEN for the best bargains in France."

Last night, over dinner on the banks of the Loire, just east of Tours, Pierre continued. "France is full of good, cheap red wine. Even back then, there was plenty to choose from in the Rhône and the central Loire. But whites were tough to find. Nouvelle cuisine was in vogue. Vié's dishes were light, with subtle sauces. I needed to find bargain whites that were clean, juicy and mineral. The Rhône? Too heavy. Alsace? Too expensive? Burgundy? Forget it. But after I followed a tip from my sommelier friend at Taillevent and met Maurice Robert in La Sauve, I knew the search was over."

As a child, Maurice Robert was 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. In the 1960s, he landed a job in Bordeaux selling tractors. One of his clients, a wealthy landowner in the village of Cadillac, was much impressed by Robert's entrepreneurial spirit and, on a whim, asked the 31-year-old if he wanted to take charge of a struggling 70-hectare Right Bank estate. Maurice knew little about viticulture, but that wouldn't dissuade him. A half-dozen years later, he had turned the place around.

In 1973, Maurice stumbled upon a run-down estate of less than 20 acres, with only eight acres planted to vines. No one was more surprised than the former tractor salesman when the bank lent him the funds to buy Château Turcaud.

Over the next decade, Maurice Robert worked tirelessly in the vines, planting more acreage to Sauvignon Blanc and Sémillon. Then, in 1980, he caught a break when Jean-Claude Vrinat, proprietor of Parisian Michelin 3-star Restaurant Taillevent, tasted a bottle of Château Turcaud Entre-Deux-Mers. A month later, Robert's mineral blend found its way onto the most heralded wine list in the world. A couple years later, last night's dinner buddy — the just-named "best young sommelier in France" — purchased his first 10 cases for Les Trois Marches in Versailles and multiplied by 10!

Both the 2010 and 2011 Entre-Deux-Mers blew the WineAccess membership away, finishing as the highest-rated under-$15 white in consecutive years — garnering more than two hundred 4- and 5-star ratings. This 2012, offered in July, leaves its predecessors in the dust.

The 2012 vintage's short crop (down 30 percent from the norm!) pushed the envelope on maturity, magnifying the lithe lines and cobblestone crispness of this riveting white Bordeaux. Brilliant green-gold in color with piercing aromas of apple and Williams pear, the attack is lively and juicy, braced by crisp Right Bank vibrancy.

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 Sémillon provides the ripe-pear purity, the Sauvignon the green-apple minerality. Fine and flinty on the finish with excellent length. Drink now-2015."
-- WineAccess Travel Log


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