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The 2010 Château Bellegrave is something serious. Not an outright meaty wine, it's savory in more of an alluring, herbaceous, mint-and-tobacco way. An hour open reveals a nose of red fruit, flavors of dark minerals and plum, and a bracing structure of lean edges and good acidity. The crucial stuffing, the attractive, semi-plump middle, forms after three hours or so of air. At this point, the wine's aromas and flavors have expanded, too. Dashes of extra-dark cocoa and dried cherries hum under more pungent and lasting aromas of black pepper, leather and smoke. A subtle, bitter kiss of ground espresso and an even subtler peck of mint give pleasurable nuance to a palate of dates, plum, and red currants. No cellaring needed, drink this today - just open it at 5 if your meal begins at 8. David Hatzopoulos
The second label to Chateau Fonroque, Chateau Cartier sees none of the estate's Cabernet Franc. The Merlot that goes into this wine comes from under the limestone plateau of St.-Emilion, picked from biodynamically farmed vines on the limestone-clay and silty clay soils of the slopes and bottom-slopes. All fruit is picked by hand. The wine was fermented naturally and aged in a mixture of 75% barrel and 25% concrete vats. A very impressive partner to Fonroque, mimicking the minerally character that the estate is known for. The nose delivers scents of dark flowers and rich baked fruit - strawberry, cherry, blueberry. The palate shows deep red and black cherry and plum, with accents of warm cedar and herbs. There is great minerality, which lends the wine a structure of supreme freshness, but a textural softness making the wine quite delicious now. The 2019 vintage was unusually hot in mid-summer so harvest was early - "the result was a rich, harmonious wine with a silky texture. Its classicism makes 2019 one of our best vintages" says the Fonroque/Cartier website.
Alice, Julien's daughter, is the inspiration for the name of this wine, which is a selection from six parcels on south facing clay/limestone slopes in the domaine, fermented and aged in used 500L barrels ("Barriques") for 16 months. A blend of 85% Merlot and 15% Cabernet Franc, the wine has fantastic balance and smooth integrated tannins, partly from the fruit and partly from the barrel aging, with nice subtle flavors of oak here. There's no reason not to open it now to have with a satisfying meal, but of the Chateau Brandeau wines, it is the most suited for aging over the next 5 years. As a fan of 2019 Bordeaux reds, I'll be putting some away to have when dinner calls for Bordeaux in a few years! -EL
A perfect treat for Thanksgiving - a Bordeaux that drinks like a Beaujolais! Banzai is a tasty, pure Merlot expression from clay and limestone soils in Castillon Cotes de Bordeaux. The grapes are carefully destemmed and see a short and light maceration for 7-8 days, in what is called 'infusion style,' meaning there is no pumping over or any kind of aggressive agitation of the skins and juice, which are allowed to ferment with less extraction (less grippy tannins). It's Merlot, so it's ripe enough and has plenty of material to maintain an ideal medium-bodied expression, but it's also light in a way, not in the glass necessarily but on the palate and in terms of drinkability. For $18 it's a no-brainer as a perfect medium bodied and silky red. No intervention during fermentation or aging, with small addition of SO2 at bottling.
Julien likes to dance, I learned this the night I met him. No wonder he has a wine with people dancing on the label, and also no wonder that it's a carbonic maceration "glou glou" style blend of Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon that you would never guess could taste this gulpable. If you want to have the stamina to dance all night while drinking wine, this is your bottle! The grapes come from sandy soils on top of clay, and Julien liked the idea of doing carbonic maceration with whole clusters to preserve all of the fresh fruit notes and come out with a very light-bodied red. What's nice is that because of the grape varieties employed here, the wine has lots of flavor and doesn't come across as thin or devoid of character. Quite the contrary, it stands out, maybe as the funky one, but would you rather listen to funk or classical when you're dancing? -EL
Château Fonroque is a superb certified biodynamic and organic estate near Saint-Émilion. Owned by the Moueix family since 1931, the estate is a proponent of traditional wine-making techniques with hand harvesting, spontaneous yeasts, and limited use of new oak. An elegant Bordeaux with precise minerality, the wine is a blend of Merlot (80%) and Cabernet Franc (20%) of 35-year-old vines planted on limestone soils with some portions of clay on the hillside of the vineyard. The wine is fermented with native yeast in concrete vats and then aged in oak (with 30% new), keeping the freshness of the vintage. The resulting wine is a Bordeaux with energy and tension, bright calcareous minerality, great acidity and grippy tannin. On the nose, the bouquet is complex and lively with crunchy cranberry and black cherry, tart dark berries, dried tobacco leaves, Moroccan spices, earth, purple flower and savory notes. Drinking beautifully now, pair this wine with classic fare, such a steak, roasted rack of lamb, duck breast and full-flavored cheese, or age it for an additional 15 years.
Chateau Micalet, with a few hectares in the commune of Lamarque was classified "Cru Artisan" by Feret in 1893. Acquired by the Fedieu family in 1972 the estate was enlarged slightly, never using herbicides, and with a new generation the conversion to organic agriculture was started in 2006. The estate now has 10 hectares on deep beds of gravel, planted at 8,000 pieds/hectare; the normal blend is 50% Cabernet Sauvignon, 43% Merlot - and 7% Petit Verdot, a grape the Fedieus feel is particularly important. The grapes are harvested by hand and undergo a 3 to 4 week fermentation, the wine ages in barrique, 30% new. The nose on the Haut Medoc has dark plummy cassis fruit, with hints of vanilla and baking spice. Young leather notes and dark gravel tones as well. A little floral with dark violets and roses. The palate has deep, lush black cherry. Graphite and iron on the tongue give an earthy glimmer. Medium acid and soft tannin, but great density at its core and terriic length. Drink up - this is a sensational value for a very good Haut-Medoc!
65% Merlot, 20% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Cabernet Franc, 5% Malbec. Harvest by hand, natural fermentation, and zero new oak. Château Cru Godard’s vines grow on southerly exposed hillsides adjacent to the Saint-Emilion appellation, geographically closer to Bergerac than to the city of Bordeaux. The wine is fermented by indigenous yeast in stainless steel tanks and is then matured 50% in tank and 50% in used barriques that have seen two passages. The 2019 has a dark ruby robe. The nose offers aromas of sweet black fruits, tobacco, and cocoa. The mid-weight palate has soft flavors of black cherry, cassis, blackberry, and coffee framed by savory earth notes and fine-grained tannins. A great value!
"Chateau Ferriere was certified organic in 2015 and biodynamic in 2018. It is one of the rare Classified Growths to be biodynamic certified, not only in its vineyard, but also in the cellar. Ferriere develops its own wild yeast starter culture, avoids any input during vinification and limits the addition of sulfur to the strict minimum. 20% of the wine is aged in small ovoid concrete vats, developed by the property in 2012, and the biggest part of the ageing takes place in oak barrels. Born of this approach are wines that are more mineral, fresh and vibrant that fully express the terroir, without embellishment nor artifice." - Ferriere website "The 2016 Ferriere is a dense, full-bodied wine that will need a few years in bottle to shed some of its tannins. Old vines imbue the 2016 with a palpable sense of power and resonance that comes through in the wine's dark, somber personality. Blackberry, smoke and gravel are some of the notes that build as the 2016 opens in the glass." - Vinous 2018 The wine is drinking beautifully in 2023, but a decant is advised, or cellar and enjoy until 2040+
This over-achieving but little known Saint-Emilion is situated southwest of the town of Saint-Emilion, just below Ch. Magdelaine, on the steep slope of limestone with clay and sandy soils that descends from the plateau. The vines are partly in a natural amphitheatre, facing south with great sun exposure and protection from north winds. The estate was purchased from the Moueix family in 2004 by Denise and Stephen Adams and is now certified organic and Biodynamic. The blend is roughly 95% merlot and 5% Cabernet Franc, aging is 50% in new barrels, 30% in one year-old barrels and 20% in concrete egg and anfora. This complex and elegant Bordeaux will be perfect with fall and winter meals, and it would be a great hoilday gift as well. "It has a beautiful nose, very pure and bright, showing limestone freshness with taut, tense, black-cherry fruit. The palate shows a minerally, defined, taut fruit expression, with black cherry stone, black plum and damson, wrapped in a keen texture and underpinned by nicely grained tannins. Fresh, reserved, very structured, with ripeness but also tense elegance. Pure, cool and very long. Well done." The Wine Doctor
Our biodynamic friends, the Hubert family, make this lovely Bordeaux with the best juice from Chateau La Grolet, coming from old vines of 85% Merlot, 10% Cabernet Sauvignon and 5% Malbec. The 2019 shows a dark garnet color and lovely aromas of ripe cassis and blackberry with floral, cedar, brown spice and stone, really quite pretty. The palate is elegant and well-structured with deep cassis and red fruits over firm acidity with earth and mineral flavors. The wine is powerful but nicely balanced, with terrific length. This is a real Bordeaux of terroir that is delicious now especially if decanted many hours in advance or opened the night before. Serve with a steak or griled pork - cellaring for ten to fifteen years will create a lovely mature wine. David Lillie
Chateau La Grolet has been certified organic and Biodynamic since 2000. Double Guyot pruning, spontaneous winter grass cover. Soil tillage during the spring, every other row ploughed. Treatments combining small quantities of Bordeaux mixture with herbal teas such as horsetail or nettle. The blend is 70% Merlot, 15% Cabernet-Sauvignon, 10% Cabernet-Franc, 5% Malbec. The Hubert family's great farming creates this sensational value Bordeaux which is truly a subtle, complex and profound wine. The 2021 shows a bright garnet color and very pretty aromas of wild berries, violet and rose petal. The palate is really lovely with pure black raspberry and cassis fruit in a light, elegant frame - at 12% alcohol the wine is quite pure and refreshing, a perfect Bordeaux for summer sipping or with lighter grilled foods. Serve a bit cool and enjoy!
One half of the vineyard of Château Haut-Bages Libéral is located on the historic plateau of Bages (gravelly soil), while the other half directly overlooks the Gironde on a limestone hill. The presence of limestone in the vineyard brings a touch of freshness and minerality to the style of the wine, making it unique within the Pauillac appellation. Since the 2000s, biodiversity has been at the heart of all the viticultural practices at Château Haut-Bages Libéral. The plots are surrounded by hedges and trees of various species, and they are gradually planted in the heart of the vines. The soils are covered by permanent grassing or by seedlings (rye, mustard, clover, broad beans, lupines, etc.). The estate is certified organic since 2019 and Biodynamic since 2021. The 2019 is a gorgeous wine, complex and powerful with a more fresh and mineral character than most "modern" Bordeaux. Decant if drinking now, or cellar and enjoy until 2040+
Claire Villars-Lurton (G & C Lurton of Ferriere, Haut-Bages Liberal and Durfort-Vivens) has dramatically elevated the quality of this unknown Margaux, achieving organic certification in 2016 and Biodynamic certification in 2018. The 2019 is 54% Cabernet-Sauvignon, 40% Merlot, 6% Petit-Verdot. 12 months ageing: 60% in barrels and 40% in ovoid tanks. The vintage is characterised by the elegance of the tannins, thanks to an exceptional late season where hot days alternated with cool nights. 2019 Château La Gurgue is marked by an exuberant nose of black fruits, the wine is ample with a beautiful finish and a lot of freshness. Perhaps the greatest value in Margaux!
The Chateau Micalet Haut-Medoc "Origine" is from Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and 20% Petit Verdot grown on deep beds of gravel in Lamarque. The Fedieu family created this wine to be a slightly lighter and more ready-to-drink version of their Haut-Medoc, with a shorter cuvaison and without aging in wood. The Origine has a beautiful nose, with ripe blackberries, dried blueberries and an elegant combo of orange peel and clove. On the palate, the wine is full and bold, with black pepper, dark cherry and a zesty accent of cassis and plum peel. Structurally, the wine shows just enough generous texture, a mineral zing, and medium acid. A fantastic buy at under $20! David Hatzopoulos
This year's Quintessence from the famille Hubert's estate in the Cotes de Bordeaux is composed of 70% Merlot and 30% Cabernet Sauvignon from beautiful biodynamically farmed vines on clay limestone soils. The nose is dense and ripe on opening, showing ripe cassis, blackberry and raspberry, with hints of warming spice. With time open, the wine shows increasingly complex aromatic qualities, with more tobacco and earth coming through by hour 4 or 5. On the palate, the fruit is again ripe and dense, with cassis liqueur, ripe blackberry, and black cherry balanced by bristly tannins and limestone minerality on the long finish. After some time open, the palate leans more towards cacao and earth, but the ripe fruit remains dominant. A pleasure now with butter basted rib eye steak or roast beef, it will certainly improve over the next 10 to 15 years...
Biodynamic farming, native yeasts, wild fermentations, great value – all phrases not typically associated with Bordeaux. Yet, each year the Hubert family provides us with just that in their staple cuvee from the Côte de Blaye. The Cru Bourgeois is a blend of mostly Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, and a bit of Malbec. The 2021 has just arrived in NY - we'll taste it this Saturday, Oct 21st at the store, from 4 till 7pm....