Michel Tesseron has now been joined full-time by his son Basile, who has recently spent time working for a leading Bordeaux négociant, and together they have completed detailed research into the physiognomy of their vineyard which will help them gradually to improve even further the quality of this modestly-priced Fourth Growth. Also, grapes have been harvested here by pickers from the same village of Chavez in Portugal for more than 40 years, and their knowledge of the vineyard and experience in grape selection enables them to make the most of the fruit. The 2006 is almost black, vibrant purple rim; red fruit on the nose, bramble and hedgerow berries, clean fruit on palate with good structure and purity, charcoal-smooth tannins. A blend of 50% merlot, 45% cabernet sauvignon and the remainder cabernet franc and petit verdot.
Basil Tesseron’s 4th growth Lafon Rochet, which neighbours Chateau Lafite, is undertaking several bold changes. Superstar consultant Denis Dubourdieu has been drafted in to join Lucus Leclercq, the new technical director, previously at Cheval Blanc and Domaine Romanee Conti. Half of the vineyards are now being farmed bio-dynamically.
A part of St-Estèphe is separated from Pauillac's Lafite only by a stream.Though St-Estèphe contains some gravel, it is largely renowned for the high clay content of its soils compared with other vineyards on the left bank. These wetter cooler soils favour the Merlot, hence the relatively large proportion of plantings compared neighbouring communes, though Cabernet Sauvignon dominates. The cool soils means the grapes are later ripeing and tend to have high acidities, archetypal St Estèphe is a strong-willed, tannic structured wine to be laid down. The stars of St-Estèphe are Montrose, Cos d’Estournel and Calon-Segur, whilst Haut Marbuzet and Lafon Rochet have been producing excellent value wines over the last few years.