Château Sipian was already listed among the “Good Bourgeois” in the first edition of Cocks et Féret (1846), and was been classified Cru Bourgeois in 1932. Largely abandoned in the 1950s, the property was purchased by Bernard and Nicole Mehaye in 1978. They began a long-term program of re-planting and recovery of the vineyards. Their son, Frederick took on the responsibility of wine production and began a program of estate bottling. Currently there are 25 hectares of vines, with approximately 50% planted to Cabernet Sauvignon, 40% to Merlot, and 10% to Petit Verdot.
The property is located well north of the city of Bordeaux on gravelly, sandy soils. The average age of the vines is 25 years. Farming is Lutte Raisonnée. The “Château” bottling is aged in barrique, 1/3 of which is new.
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By the late 16th century, Holland was the largest importer of wines shipped through Bordeaux. Dutch engineers hired by French aristocrats drained the marshlands north of the city, making possible the rise of the “Great Estates” of the Médoc in the early 18th century.
The triple disasters of oidium, powdery mildew, and phylloxera devastated the region in the 19th century just as demand for the wines among the upper classes was reaching its peak. Today, Bordeaux is one of the world’s most influential regions, where 10,000 growers produce a quarter of France’s total output.
The Médoc AOC covers vineyards situated on higher ground on the left bank of the Gironde. This is also an area of mixed, small-scale farming and livestock.
Prized Marennes and Arcachon oysters on the half-shell pair deliciously with crisp, vibrant wines like Entre-Deux-Mers or Graves Blanc. The eel-like fish lamprey, served in a vegetable stew or covered with sauce Bordelaise matches well with light red Premières Côtes de Bordeaux.
Bigger wines such as St.-Estephe, St.-Émilion, and Lalande de Pomerol find partners in Palombes, wild doves from Landes; Gigot a la Girondine, Paulliac Lamb; and entrecote aux sarments, rib steaks grilled over dried vine clippings. The heralded sweet wines of Sauternes, Barsac, and Loupiac seamlessly accompany truffle-stuffed eggs, foie gras or pungent Roquefort.
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