Eric Fonta makes consistently delicious wine in a quiet corner of Graves, employing vineyards that have been in his family for more than 200 years. Though Graves was once the cradle of Bordeaux winemaking (vineyards here date back more than 2,000 years), modern-day Bordeaux is huge (ten times the size of Burgundy) and dominated by the famous. So it is difficult for a small Graves winemaker, no matter how skilled, to get notice. Yet Chateau Léhoul 2012 ranked first in Decanter Magazine’s tasting of 62 Graves reds from that vintage. The red is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, and the wine is reliably attractive, year after year.
Léhoul’s white Graves is like many other Bordeaux whites: though dominated by Sauvignon blanc, there’s also some Semillon to add roundness (in Léhoul’s case, 10%). This allows the minerality a bit more prominence than the pure sauvignon wines of Sancerre and Pouilly Fumé, in which the fruit predominates. White Graves is an excellent food wine, a superb accompaniment to fish or chicken dishes.