Francois explained that he was initially very cautious with his extractions. He started off being gentle so as to not extract anything aggressive, however, he pressed harder and harder tasting each time. To his surprise, the fruit kept on giving and there were no ‘rude tannins'. As a result, the wine has terrific colour and is one of the densest and most profound wines of the vintage. The bouquet is a smorgasbord of fine herbs, beautiful perfumed fruit, decadent griotte liqueur, graphite, truffle and damp earth. The palate is sumptuous as ever with velvety crème de mûre fruit. Utterly hedonistic; yet another spectacular Tertre Roteboeuf which belies the challenges of the vintage.
Tertre Roteboeuf is situated in the commune of St.Laurent-des-Combes, a few kilometres south-east of Saint-Emilion. The 5.7 hectares of vineyards are located in a bowl shaped, southerly facing hillside. Many years ago, before vines were planted on this favourable spot, cattle would graze on the slopes; hence the `Roteboeuf`.
The vineyard is planted with 85% Merlot and 15% Cabernet Franc on complex clay and limestone soils and sub-soils. Francois Mitjavile, who took the reigns in 1978 is a pensive character with an unquestionable talent for producing great, thought provoking wines. He is quite happy to share many of his techniques. He unashamedly harvests late and there is often a hint of degradation to the fruit. His wines possess a real character and soul; they are intellectual wines that never fail to satisfy.
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.