In a nutshell: A concentrated and rich Monbazillac that more than rivals those of Sauternes.
The lowdown: Monbazillac sits just to the south of Bergerac in the Dordogne and has been famous for producing sweet wines for centuries. The organically farmed Chateau Tirecul are one of the best producers in the region and have been lauded by renowned wine critic Robert Parker as 'producing sweet wines comparable to the most notable in the world'. La Graviere is a mix of Muscadelle (a tricky to grow, floral, aromatic variety) and Semillon (that lends some weight and richness) perfectly botrytised grapes from old vines that are picked and fermented together before being aged in barrel for between 12-36 months, depending on vintage. No sugar is added, the result is entirely natural. A glorious wine, rich and intense, with floral, candied fruit aromas, orange peel marmalade, and exotic spicy notes. A soft and elegant palate with balanced acidity and a very long finish.
When to drink: Try with blue cheeses or sweet puddings. In general with sweet wines and deserts the wine should always be sweeter than the pudding. So this wine will cope with some of the sweetest of puddings!
Back in 1992 Claudie and Bruno Bilancini leased 9 hectares of vines in the Monbazillac appellation which had great potential, but needed a great deal of renovation. This was the modern beginnings of Château Tirecul La Gravière.
Their objective was to recreate some of the great sweet wines for which this part of the world is renowned. And it didn't take long for recognition to come their way. By 1997 their success was sufficient to enable them to purchase the domaine and invest further in improving both the vineyards and the winery. Today most of the vineyard is planted with an even split of Semillon and Muscadelle with a small amount of Sauvignon Blanc and Chenin Blanc making up the remainder. Claudie and Bruno have, from the outset, farmed with a respectful approach to the environment and, since 2012, all of their wines have been certified organic.
While their various cuvées of Monbazillac, the region's great dessert wines, have earned them well deserved fame and acclaim they've also turned their hand to dry whites with an equal degree of success.