Château Guadet Plaisance: Tasting & Drinking

I can think of few wines that have challenged my preconceptions of Bordeaux and its generally perceived appellation hierarchy more than those of Château Guadet Plaisance. Let us broaden our horizons for a moment and look not at this appellation, but its somewhat more famous and desirable neighbour, St Emilion. Even here, it is accepted that quality can be very variable; around the limestone plateau and côtes there are some exceptional wines being made, but once you are out on the sandy plains there is a pressing need to choose much more carefully. Some good wines can be found, made by dedicated winemakers such as Jonathan Maltus, but there are also some that have a great propensity to disappoint. It is hardly surprising, then, that estates on soils deemed inadequate to qualify for the grand St Emilion appellation, should come to be largely disregarded by those seeking quality. Take a look through any guide to Bordeaux and you will find the satellite appellations of St Emilion and Pomerol dismissed in a fairly cursory fashion. And some drinking experiences I have had in the past, with a weedy bottle or two of Montagne-St-Emilion and Puisseguin-St-Emilion, have only served to reinforce this prejudice.

Château Guadet Plaisance

But this whole belief-system is flawed; much of St Emilion is sandy and the proprietors have to work very hard to make a palatable wine (and some, as indicated above, more than succeed).

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