Château Cantemerle Grand Cru Classé Haut-Médoc 2016, Bordeaux, France

The origins of Chateau Cantemerle date back to the Middle Ages; documents from the year 1354 reveal that viticultural production was a major aspect of the estate almost from the very beginning. The soils of Cantemerle are a combination of silica and gravel which are the result of erosion of the Pyrenees by the Garonne 1,000 years ago. These soils have excellent filtration and good heat absorption; however, they are poor in nutrients, resulting in hardy vines that produce grapes of high concentration. Cantemerle is planted with vines on average about 30 years old; 60% are Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot, 6% Cabernet Franc, and 4% Petit Verdot. Since the vines have to send their roots down deep into the soil in order to obtain the nutrients they require, the resulting grapes and wine express the terroir on an intimate level. There is a green harvest, and leaf thinning is practiced, with eventual yields up to 55 hl/ha. Hand selection is done in the vineyard, using 4 sorting tables. On arriving at the winery, the grapes are 100% destemmed before up to 30 days maceration and fermentation in conical wooden vats for the best parcels, stainless steel for the rest. A practice unique to Cantemerle is selective devatting, by which only the middle section of the cap is pressed. The upper layer, which includes oxidized grape matter, and the lower layers of pips and other materials, are not included. The wine then sees a year or so in oak with 50% new barrels each year, and only a light fining-no filtration-before bottling. Tasting Notes: Clean and lively, with leather and prune notes. The structure is solid, with graceful tannins and volume on the palate.