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Yesterday morning at my kitchen table, while rubbing my eyes and sipping some coffee, I flipped open my email and saw a message from Claude Burce, one of the founders of FR+OLISH Wine Merchants. "David, I forgot: 4 cases and 9 bottles of Château Sègue-Longue Monnier 2011 became available... Please let me know if you want them. Best, Claude." If my fiancee hadn't been sleeping in the next room, I probably would have cheered at this news. Seriously, I can't tell you how many times my coworkers and I have reminisced about the quality and value of this wine. It dissappeared from our shelves quickly after we discovered it in January of 2021. We sold an astonishing eighteen cases of it during those first few months of the year. I wish Claude had even more for Chambers to offer, but beggers can't be choosers, right? I'm learning to celebrate the good things that come my way - and this afternoon, it's fifty-seven bottles of awesome Bordeaux.
When I opened the 2011 Médoc from Château Sègue-Longue Monnier, it was a dark shade of red, black at the core, with an auburn color on the edges. From the moment of opening, the wine displayed great fruit on the nose, with wild plum and cherry - along with fragrantaromas of dried tobacco leaves, iron, and cocoa. With air and time (an hour or so), a heady profile developed, bringing rich violets, roses, stems and herbs - an enchanting group of scents. Initially, the wine was tight on the palate, but the structure was well-set, and I could predict that the mouthfeel would eventually fall into balance. It did, gaining a slight tannic chew, a plummy middle, and a vein of refreshing, medium-toned acidity. Flavors grew from black cherry and mint to hearty cassis, dates, eucalyptus, and warm cedar. Lip-smacking texture and flavor. Nothing cloying here.
Jean-Pierre Monnier's Château Sègue-Longue Monnier sits at the tip-top of the Médoc, in the commune of Jau-Dignac-et-Loirac, on the left bank of the Gironde. In fact, this area was an island in the Girdonde estuary, close to the river's outlet into the Atlantic, until the mid-17th century. Vines were planted on the estate's current slope with exposure to the south-east in 1979 by Jean-Pierre's father. The site's soil is rich with gravel, which is typical of vineyards in the Médoc. Though the operation remains a small, family business (Jean-Pierre's wife and son are also involved), it wasn't until Jean-Pierre started experiencing health problems in 2008 that he shifted his land towards organic production. He determined his health issues were the result of bad farming practices - a revelation many winemakers, before and after him, have had. This bottle of 2011 is the winery's first to be certified organic, and I have no doubt that Jean-Pierre's successful conversion is why the estate could deliver a fantastic wine despite the vintage being one of Bordeaux's most difficult of the last decade.
There is no denying that we're headed into prime Bordeaux-drinking season: chilly weather, food with family, and hanging out inside. I'm so sad to see this wine go, but I'll always remember it. If you missed out on grabbing a few bottles earlier this year, here's your chance - don't miss it!
And stay tuned... I'm on the lookout for the next great value! David Hatzopoulos
This has been one of my favorite wines so far in 2021. The Sègue-Longue Monnier estate is perched at the top of the Medoc, on land that used to be an island in the Gironde. The soil is heavy with gravel, just like most vineyards in the region, along with clay and limestone. Jean-Pierre Monnier began conversion to organic methods in 2008, and this 2011 bottling is the first to be certified. It is a blend of 60% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot, 7% Petit Verdot, and 3% Cabernet Franc. The wine ferments naturally and sees 18 months in oak barrels. What a nose - with iron, tobacco, dried roses, savory plums and cherries. There is espresso and cocoa aromas, as well. The palate has a lovely tannic structure and great acidity. Beach plum, cedar, mint, and gravel flavors play on the tongue. After two hours open, the wine sings. This is the bottle that you should have for dinner... tonight. It'll develop over the next 3 years, but it is beautiful now. An awesome price for such a developed and full wine. David Hatzopoulos