PRE-ARRIVAL Chateau Caronne Sainte Gemme Haut-Medoc 2018


Caronne Sainte Gemme borders St Julien. And in years like 2018, can make a decent wine. The style is old school claret. Great value.

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NOTE Caronne Sainte Gemme 2018 is due to arrive mid-late 2021.

Chateau Caronne Sainte Gemme is one of the older estates in the Medoc there is proof of their existence from the mid-1600’s. The Emily Borie takes ownership of Caronne Sainte Gemme in 1900. The Borie family own famous left bank Estates such as Chateau Ducru Beaucaillou, and Chateau Grand Puy Lacoste.

Caronne Sainte Gemme makes an old school claret style Bordeaux. Think acid, tannin, and savoury. The rest will build with time in the bottle.

The vineyard is 45ha at an average age of 30 years. The breakdown is 60% Cabernet Sauvignon, 37% Merlot and 3% Petit Verdot. Their 18 metre high ‘island’ resembles the gravel and sandstone based soils of St Julien which borders their property.


Situated near the Atlantic coast of France. The Gironde, Dordogne and Garonne rivers provide its shape. Cool conditions and frequent rainfall, including during harvest time, make Bordeaux quite a marginal region with vintages frequently ruined by rain or saved from the rain at the last-minute by timely sunshine.

Haut Medoc

A catch-all appellation that is about 60km long on the left bank of Bordeaux. There are few classified vineyards in this generic appellation and no discernible regional style. There are, however, a handful of wonderful wines that are often overlooked, great value, and ultimately are great Bordeaux.

Cabernet Sauvignon

The main grape of Bordeaux’s left bank. Cabernet is late ripening and full of acid and tannin. The great wines have structure but finessed with beautiful cassis, violets and it also transmits the flavours of the soil it is grown in really well. Cabernet isn’t a drink now variety, it really needs 10 or more years to show its best. But when you get there, WOW! Often blended with Merlot, Cabernet Franc or in Australia Shiraz to fill out its mid-palate referred to as the ‘Cabernet doughnut’.


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.


Quality Red Bordeaux in 2018 will be deeply coloured, aromatically complex, and opulent in the mouth. While it sounds like they will be ready to go from day one, most experts are predicting this is a vintage for long-term cellaring. Think 30 years or more!  It wasn’t the best start to the vintage so quality is not uniform. Look for Northern Medoc, Margaux, Pomerol and Saint-Emilion.

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