Le Bonnat is in the Graves appellation of Bordeaux, known as much for its whites as red. Both are spectacular. The property founded was by the Fieuzal family nearly 400 years ago. It passed through several owners until 1991 when it was purchased by the Lesgourgues family who created Le Bonnat. The blend is 55% Merlot and 45% Cabernet Sauvignon, which average 40-50 years of age. The finished wine is aged for 12 months in oak, one third of which is new.
The name, Graves, refers to the soil of the region. It is basically gravelly and is one of the most sought-after soils when planning a vineyard because of its nutritional content and drainage. Sheep graze the vineyard to provide natural fertilizer and Lesgourgues uses fava beans as a cover crop to feed the worms, which produce the finest soil amendment there is. And, it's all free.
Too many wine lovers compare Bordeaux to California Cabernet Sauvignon. Nothing could be further from the truth. Merlot counts for more than twice the acreage of Cabernet Sauvignon. First of all, it produces wine of substance and structure not found anywhere else. Secondly it ripens earlier so is less susceptible to frosts and hail.
The 2018 vintage was spectacular and all is on display in this selection. The deep garnet color signals the weight of the wine to come. Dense plum and cassis are the order of the day here and if followed by hints of cranberry and blackberry. All would match with Bouffe Bourgogne or pozole.