François Mitjavile’s Côtes de Bourg property is always worth serious consideration if you like exotic, hedonistic Claret. The 2012 is less expressive than the Tertre Roteboeuf, but is still serious sexy stuff. As one has come to expect, it is packed with sloes, plum liqueur, blueberries, sweet earth and minerals. If anything, this is slightly more restrained than the wonderful 2011; it possesses a wonderfully svelte sweet fruit core, utterly seductive texture, freshness, purity, harmony and grace.
It is reported that when François Mitjavile first visited Roc de Cambes he put his finger in the ground and decided to buy the estate there and then. The soils are clay and limestone and are slow to warm up in the spring, which results in a naturally long growing season. François has transformed the fortunes of this property by bringing his wine-making philosophy and all his technical know-how from Tertre Roteboeuf and applying the same principles to this fabulous site. Key to the success has been controlling the vines' vigour. Yields here are low by Bordeaux standards (35hl/ha in 2009). Another of François' key principles is a late harvest. Allegedly, he instructed his vineyard manager Tayat Abderrahmane to delay the harvest of his first crop (the 1988 vintage) until François was satisfied that the grapes were fully ripe. Poor Tayat became the brunt of many a joke from neighbouring labourers who had long since finished bringing their grapes in before François and Tayat had even commenced. Their derision was unfounded; when the wines were tasted it was clear that Roc de Cambes had set a new standard in the Côtes de Bourg. And to this day it is unrivalled in this commune.
The Cote de Bourg is located 20 km north of Bordeaux at the confluence of the Dordogne and the Garrone. Vines were first planted here in the 2nd century AD by the Romans and in the middle ages the proximity to both rivers allowed Bourg to flourish as a wine trading port. The wines have a reputation for being sturdy, rather common offerings, however, there are a few notable exceptions. Francois Mitjavile’s Roc de Cambes proves just how successful wines from this commune can be given a bit of love and attention.