Harvest of the Heart

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Sisters Emmanuelle and Marie-Pierre are the driving force behind the family wine business of Vignobles Raguenot, owners and operators of the Bordeaux Chateaux, des Tourtes in Blaye and Haut Beyzac in Haut Medoc. Proud of their independence and family ownership, the sisters infuse everything they do with great passion and care.

Emmanuelle and Marie-Pierre have been working with Cambodian wine importer and distributor La Cave for the past ten years, early on -after visits, trade calls and events- the sisters developed a deep compassion for this land and its people. Soon these emotions became a strong desire to give something back to this beautiful country, that purchased their wine and gave them so much warmth and joy whenever they came to stay. The sisters felt they especially wanted to help the children of Cambodia and identified access to education as a good place to start.

For the past three years all of the customers of Chateau des Tortes and Vignobles Raguenot are invited to the winery on a special day called ‘Harvest of the Heart’. Guests pick grapes enjoy a gourmet lunch and take part in wine tastings, tasting games and tour the chateau cellars. There are also activities for children such as horse riding and tasting the different grapes grown on the estate.

During the event there is a special wine sale with all proceeds going to building schools and improving educational facilities in rural Cambodia: the most recent event at the winery attracted nearly 200 people and Pailin has already received construction of facilities with these funds.

Vignobles Raguenot’s Bertrand Delthil was recently in Phnom Penh and it was my good fortune to catch up with him for a lovely dim sum lunch at Yi Sang, before we headed off to a tasting of his wines hosted by La Cave.

Chateau des Tourtes Cuvee Classique Blanc: a Sauvignon Blanc that is all crisp, vibrant passionfruit and citrus flavours, with a hint of pineapple, wild honey and freshly cut herbs. The balance between ripeness and raciness here is just right and the wine has nice length. Try it with salads, fish curries or shrimp dumplings and chilli dipping sauce.

L’Attribute des Tourtes is an elegant red consisting of mainly Merlot with the addition of a little Cabernet Sauvignon to add length and structure to the palate. The 2010 vintage was a great year and the wine is really showing off its juicy, ripe Merlot fruit and a fine, velvet like texture with supple, ripe tannins.

Le M des Tourtes is a red blend that is brooding and intense, with a sort of fission between its grace and its power, making it intriguing as well as enjoyable. Predominantly Malbec this is not the big, plums and spices Argentinean version, this is a wine that is like a young stallion trying to contain the wild heart within its young frame. There is coffee bean and cedar, cigar box, dark berries and firm but not feisty tannin.

The Chateau des Tourtes wines collectively looked very strong as a range with ripe fruit flavour an elegant structure and finesse in the winemaking.

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