Despite making lovely wine each year Malescot Saint Exupery does not achieve the fame, reviews or recognition that other wines from Margaux do. Probably because despite their modern winemaking facilities they still produce Bordeaux that is understated, refined and elegant. It has the perfume of Margaux and gravelly tannins but the focus isn’t on bold fruit and impact. These wines age very well.
A blend of 50% Cabernet Sauvignon, 35% Merlot, 10% Cabernet Franc and 5% Petit Verdot that combine to offer smoke, flint and toasty oak with a dry herbal undertone. Plenty of fleshy red berry fruit, silky mouthfeel and lovely perfume. A hint of bitterness is evident on the finish. A very nice example of lighter styled Margaux.
One of the largest appellations and therefore one of the most mixed in quality each year. The Margaux wines tend to be more restrained, mineral and aromatic than the Medoc wines but they don’t achieve the plushness of the Right Bank despite Merlot often being a major player in the wines.
The noble variety of Bordeaux’s left bank. Firm tannins, a streak of acidity and punctuated by flavours of cassis, violets, spice and leather. The best examples can age for the long term. Often blending with Merlot, Cabernet Franc or Shiraz will fix the hole Cabernet has in its middle palate.
It gets a tough time most of the places it is grown. But in Pomerol and Saint-Emilion Merlot not only dominates but makes some of the best wines in the world. Perfume, silky and plush. Cabernets Franc and Sauvignon season the wines with structure and acid but in some places, like Petrus they are almost not needed.
Is actually one of the parents of Cabernet Sauvignon… along with Sauvignon Blanc (oh! The name makes sense now!). It is most famous for being the third most important grape in quality Bordeaux but also excels in the Loire Valley (where it lived before it went to Bordeaux), especially Chinon and Saumur. The wines are bright red in colour, highlight aromatic with raspberries, rose petals, violets along with tobacco, cassis and some herbal elements. The best examples can live as long as any great wine.
Often the fifth wine on the depth chart of Bordeaux’s magical quintet. In the great years it is an amazing variety to work with, but often in the great years it is not needed. It can add body, structure and acidity but lacks some charm for a single variety wine. But in the hands of a skillful blender it can really lift a wine or in some cases, a particular site can make Petit Verdot sing a song like no other.
Great Bordeaux is still very much dependant on the vintage. The weather conditions in Bordeaux for the most part were agreeable albiet everything happened quite early. All the quality factors were there and the wines at the en-primeur tastings brought on a lot of excitement with some people comparing it to the 1998, 2005, 2009 and 2010 vintages for quality. The fairest comparisons seem to be 1985 and 2001 both of which have proved to be enjoyable vintages with good longevity. Prices are fair by Bordeaux standards.