Paul and Cedric Valade's Grande Maye is always a high quality offering from the hills of Castillon. A few big names have spotted the potential of this commune; most notably, Denis Durantou and Jacques Thienpont. The clay soils at Grande Maye are ideally suited to Merlot, and they coped admirably with the dry, hot conditions in 2015. Produced from 85% Merlot and 15% Cabernet Sauvignon, this offers up a really impressive bouquet of flowers, smoke, dark spice, loganberry and liquorice. The mid-palate has good depth, with plenty of dark fruit and hints of cranberry. There is a velvety plushness to the fruit and sleek, granular tannins. It is a mighty impressive example, possibly the finest we have ever tasted from this estate. It is also worth pointing out that we drank a magnum of the 1995 with Cedric, which is still drinking beautifully. His wines are keepers!
Situated in the Côtes de Castillon, where the terroir is similar to the higher vineyards of St Emilion, Château La Grande Maye reminds you that Bordeaux is not just about astronomically priced classed growths. The average age of vines on this 18 hectare Estate is 30 years and consist predominantly of Merlot and Cabernet Franc. The final blend spends a year in 1/3 new oak barrels and with its ripeness of fruit, grainy texture and complexity offers a value for money the rest of the world would be hard pushed to beat.
These are Merlot based wines, sometimes with Cabernet Franc, that betray a fleshiness and sturdiness that can be drunk 1-5 years after the vintage. The region is named after the town of Castillon-la-Bataille, the battle that brought an end to the hundred years war.