Our tasting of the Nicolas Thienpont wines with his son, Cyril at the beautifully situated Pavie Macquin was a real treat. Larcis Ducasse, Pavie Macquin and Beauséjour Duffau Lagarrosse all possess great terroir; sometimes we find the wines are a bit over the top and lack energy - this certainly wasn't the case in 2015. Larcis, based on the limestone and clay plateau and Cote next to Chateau Pavie is like opening up a box of chocolate liqueurs. Aromas of griotte, incense, hedgerow fruit and sloe all leap from the glass. There is also the tell-tale Larcis minerality; liquid minerals and graphite. The palate is crisp and fresh with lots of cassis and strawberry notes. There is tremendous energy, zip and finesse to balance the impressive fruit content. This is the smartest Larcis we've seen in many years. 87% Merlot and 13% Cabernet Franc.
Larcis-Ducasse has been re-born under the `dream team` of Nicolas Thienpont and Stephan Derenoncourt. Since 2004, the quality at this estate has lived up to its excellent position next to Pavie. Exceptional terroir and state of the art wine-making has transformed this and sister property Pavie Macquin into two of the `must have` wines from St Emilion.
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.