Although the label says St Emilion Grand Cru, four of this property’s six hectares are now Grand Cru Classé, thanks to the purchase this year of a parcel of 70-year-old vines that have been en fermage to Château Fonroque for some time, a property noted for its fine terroir. There is very deep colour to this wine and a big, opulent nose of ripe berry fruit and mocha, laced with minerally elegance, while the palate is very classy, smooth and supple, with great finesse. Big fruit in the core is tempered by excellent ripe tannins, and the long, fresh finish hints at greater things to come A beautifully balanced and satisfying St Emilion.
Another small operation owned by Jonathan Maltus that finds its origins on the gravel plateau around St Sulpice, south-west of the town of St Emilion. Green harvests, hand picking and 50 year old vines ensure that only the healthiest, most balanced and concentrated grapes are at the winemaker’s disposal. Contrary to Le Dôme, most of the plantings are of Merlot with about 10% consisting of Cabernet Franc. The land extends over 5 hectares so higher quantities of wine are produced per annum - about 1000 cases which is still very small by Médoc standards! The Merlot is so deep and brooding after vinification that it needs just over a year in new oak before bottling.
St-Émilion is a very different region to those of the Médoc, dominated by small-holding farmers and estates rather than grand Châteaux. Merlot is widely planted as is Cabernet Franc in some parts. The wines are enormously variable in style depending on the terroir, the grape variety make-up and winemaking style. Loosely the region is divided between the limestone Côtes, Graves or gravelly limestone plateau or the sandy alluvial soils nearer the Dordogne. Traditionally Médoc wines were trade from Bordeaux and St Emilions from Libourne so they have their own classification system separate to that of 1855. The classification is revised every ten years and falls into four categories, St Emilion, St Emilion Grand Cru, St Emilion Grand Cru Classé and St Emilion Premier Grand Cru Classé
Most of the district's best properties are either on the steep, clay-limestone hillsides immediately below the town or on a gravelly section of the plateau west of St Emilion itself abutting Pomerol. There are several high profile estates in the region, including Cheval Blanc, Ausone, Figeac, Le Dôme, Valandraud and Pavie.