When we visited Grafé Lecocq to discover the story behind this Belgian wine ‘negociant’ that ages wines within the citadel of Namur and then stores the bottles under the cathedral of this Belgian city, we were surprised by the quality of the wine we tasted.
Not that we should have been, the winemaker had come highly recommended. But what made the discovery so surprising was the purity of the wines and the winemaker’s attention to let the terroir speak for itself. It might sound like a cliché but trust us it isn’t.
The wines of Grafé Lecocq would be a perfect way to test your knowledge of wines because they reflect a typicity which is not often found these days as many wine producers pander to wine critics who sometimes prefer power and oak over anything else. And I want to stress this in a positive way because I found the wines (even the entry level ones) to reflect the terroir from where they came.
We started our tasting in the tunnels of the citadel tasting wines directly from the barrels. Some were ready to be bottled while others still required more slow ageing in the barrels before they could be bottled. While tasting, I got to know the story of this impressive Belgian negociant which is now in its fourth generation having started its operations 130 years ago in 1879.
We started with a Vieux Chateau du Terme 2012. It was an excellent Bordeaux. This was followed by a generic Nuit St. Georges 2013, a Nuit St. Georges 1er cru “Chabouefs” and a Vosne Romanée “Suchots” 2013. All three Burgundies were exceptional and reflecting the terroir and typicity of the Pinot Noir grape from Burgundy though clearly still in their slow ageing process.
To end our barrel tasting we tasted the Cote Rotie 2012 and a Merlot Pays d’oc 2013 which was an entry level wine for Grafé Lecocq. While the Cote Rotie was as expected, what was stunning was the quality of the Merlot Pays d’oc which has an exceptional price quality ratio (price not yet set but would not sell for more than 6 euros).
In the cellars beneath the Cathedral and the Court of Justice we tasted the following wines.
We started off with the reds. The Cuvée Grafé Lecocq Bordeaux 2012 (€7.68) was followed by the Florilege Pomerol 2009 (€29.25) and the Plan de Dieu 2012 (7.93) which was the first time I had tasted wine from this area of the Cotes de Rhone.
The Florilege Pomerol was exceptional. The merlot was immediately noticeable on the nose, this really was a quality wine. Grafé Lecocq don’t tell you from which Chateau this wine is made. “For this range we like to buy wines from wine houses which might not otherwise be sold because they bottle their own wines. What we want to showcase with this range is a great wine which reflects the terroir and grapes of the region,” Mr Grafé said,
This was followed by three white wines: a Puligny-Montrachet blanc 2013 (€40.72). This Burgundy was excellent. “We have never been pleased with the Puligny-Montrachet,” Bernard tells me, “but this comes very close to what we want to achieve.” a Sancerre 2013 (€14.60) – a fresh and excellent Sauvignon Blanc and a basic Chardonnay IGP Vin de Pays d’Oc (€5.14) which for its price was stunning value for money.
You can read about Grafé Lecocq here.