Bordeaux wines for a smooth sailing year

The Chateau Beychevelle and Grand Bateau wines from Saint Julien, Bordeaux, bring back memories of a grand past. A galleon is on the label of the Chateau Beychevelle wines, while a boat with a long prow and griffon head belongs to Grand Bateau. Grand Bateau is the result of a close collaboration, dating back to the 80s, with Chateau Beychevelle.

Shawn Lee with the Grand Bateau and Chateau de Beychevelle wines

A boat or ship is an auspicious symbol, according to the Chinese. So for the coming Year of the Rat, present a bottle of Chateau Beychevelle or Grand Bateau wine as a gift or toast with it for a smooth-sailing year – Yut Maan Fung Suen.

Auspicious — the longship with the griffon head for the Grand Bateau label

The galleon on the Amiral de Beychevelle label

At the beginning of the 17th century, the first Duke of Epernon, a French Admiral, owned Chateau Beychevelle on the Left Bank of the Gironde River in Bordeaux. His power was such that that as boats passed by his estate, they had to lower their sails as a mark of respect. That’s how the chateau got its name — Chateau Beychevelle, which when translated from Baisse Voile, means lower the sails.

A fresh and crisp Grand Bateau Blanc 2017, paired with Torched Scallop with pea puree, bacon crisp at Topshelf

We sailed into the first wine – Grand Bateau Blanc 2017 – at Topshelf in Kuala Lumpur. It’s a crisp Sauvignon Blanc. “It’s a Bordeaux style Sauvignon Blanc, highly refreshing and with a good balance of acidity,” said Shawn Lee, export manager of Barriere Freres Asia. It’s easy to drink and pairs well with the first course of Torched Scallop with pea puree.

Grand Bateau Bordeaux Rouge 2016 with Ocean Trout, cauliflower puree, braised leeks & lemon confit

Grand Bateau Rouge 2017 is predominantly Merlot, with 20% Cabernet Sauvignon. It’s soft and silky, a medium body dry red that’s highly approachable.  “It’s soft, fruity and a red wine you can drink a lot of,” said Shawn. We had this with Ocean Trout with cauliflower puree, braised leeks and lemon confit. It was  good pairing;  the flavours of the trout, striking with the lemon confit, were perfect with it.

Amiral de Beychevelle (Saint Julien) 2015 goes with the Iberico Pork Jowl with pumpkin risotto, sage and bacon crisps

The star wine of the evening was of course the Amiral de Beychevelle (Saint Julien) 2015. It’s the super vintage of 2015, and a wine you can keep for 20 years.  The wine was defined by cassis, black currant, spice and liquorice on the palate, and firm tannins. It had been decanted for one and a half hours before pouring.

The other main course — Grain fed Black Angus Steak, mushroom ragout, parsnip puree & red wine jus, paired with Amiral de Beychevelle 2015

The wine evolved the longer it was opened or stayed in the glass. It was smooth, mellow and elegant. It was paired perfectly with the Iberico pork jowl, with pumpkin risotto, sage and bacon crisps. It would also have been wonderful with the Grain-fed Black Angus Steak, mushroom ragout, parsnip puree and red wine jus, the other main course.

Les Brulieres de Beychevelle )Haut Medoc) 2016, paired with a chocolatey dessert

Valrhona Chocolate Mousse with berry compote

Les Brulieres de Beychevelle (Haut Medoc) 2016 was the last wine of the evening, served with dessert — Valrhona Chocolate Mousse with berry compote – and cheese platter. The Brulieres is 55% cabernet sauvignon with merlot and cabernet franc.  This classic Bordeaux wine delivers ripe fruit, hints of dark chocolate and a long spicy finish.

The Grand Bateau and Beychevelle wines are available at Butcher’s Block, 124 Jalan Kasah, Medan Damansara, Kuala Lumpur, Tel: 03-2011 7373.  For more information, go to






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