Throw this impressive, full-structured wine into a blind tasting of St.-Emilion Grand Cru, and don't be surprised if it beats out one or more of the big boys. It tastes considerably more expensive than its modest price would suggest. To the massive 2005 Côte Montpezat, which was one of our favorite petit chateaux of that great year, the 2009 adds an element of fruity succulence, which is the hallmark of the remarkable 2009 vintage. Deep ruby in color, with dark, roasted fruit, shaved cedar, and new oak prominent on the nose and on the palate, this concentrated wine begs for further cellaring, but is quite delicious now (decant 45 to 90 min. in advance).
Produced on a well-situated 30-acre vineyard located in a picturesque village near Pomerol, this 2010 petit chateau has a definite Right Bank character. Although Merlot (70%) dominates the blend percentage-wise, the 30% Cabernet component (19% Cabernet Franc and 11% Cabernet Sauvignon) informs this charming wine's sense of style, adding a distinctive cassis/blackcurrant/peppery note that reminded me just a bit of Château Figeac or Vieux Château Certan (high praise indeed for an $11 wine). Quite ready to drink now, the palate impression is of crisp red and black fruit, with the aforementioned notes of blackcurrant leading the charge, followed by hints of vanilla from barrel aging on the finish. Nice drink. -Ben Giliberti, CW Director of Wine Education
Bordeaux's heretofore obscure Côtes de Castillon region, the home of Château Pitray, appears to be poised for stardom. Recently, the region has attracted the attention of star winemakers from nearby Saint Emilion and Pomerol, These boutique level vignerons have been drawn by the region's outstanding clay-gravel soil, which is similar to that of Saint Emilion and Pomerol, and clearly capable of producing first-rate wine. Château Pitray has been one of Calvert Woodley's best-selling petit château since the legendary 1982 vintage, when we first discovered its outstanding quality and value. As good as the' 82 was, the 2009 is in a different class altogether. Raves Robert Parker, "the finest Pitray yet made. Its deep ruby/purple color is accompanied by copious aromas of crushed rocks, red and black currants, and a hint of kirsch. Medium-bodied and loaded with fruit with impressive glycerin and lushness, it offers a lot of flavor for its humble appellation and price point." -- Ben Giliberti
A blend of 80% Merlot and 20% Cabernet Franc, the 2010 Chãteau des Laurets opens with an utterly refined bouquet of fresh cedar, violets, and crushed berries. On the palate, the bold, pure fruit of 2010 asserts itself with remarkable verve, supported by firm, well-resolved tannins. While quite enjoyable now (decant 45 minutes in advance), the firm tannic structure, which is somewhat masked by the precocious fruit at this point, will provide excellent aging ability of 7 to 10 years, if not more. A tremendous value.
JADE JAGGER DESIGNS CROIX DE BEAUCAILLOU LABEL!Calvert Woodley is proud to be one of a handful of retailers in the US selected by Chateau Ducru Beaucaillou to offer the newest brainchild of its innovative, art-loving owner, Bruno Borie.Bruno commissioned noted designer Jade Jagger, daughter of Mick and Bianca, to create an elegant label for Croix de Beaucaillou, his superb "second wine." Bruno told Decanter magazine, "I really admired the work that Jade Jagger did … and we liked the idea of the daughter of a Rolling Stone working on Beaucaillou." Apropos when you realize that Beaucaillou means 'beautiful stones' in French.The re-design of the Croix de Beaucaillou label will commence with the 2010 vintage but as a pre-cursor, Bruno and Jade have made available extremely limited supplies, in large format bottles, of the sensational 2009 vintage with the new label.Quantities are limited!Bruno has made it a personal project to raise the level of quality of Croix de Beaucaillou and he wanted to re-design the label to showcase the uniqueness of the wine. Not your typical "second wine," Croix de Beaucaillou is sourced from its own dedicated vineyards to give it a more consistent quality. It undergoes the same rigorous selection as the grand vin but comes from younger vines than Ducru which makes it more approachable at a younger age. Having now tasted the wine at the chateau two years in a row we can say without hesitation, "Mission accomplished!"