Château Damase Bordeaux Supérieur 2016, France

“The deeper ruby-colored 2016 Château Damase is 85% Merlot, 10% Cabernet Franc and the rest Petit Verdot and Carmenère. Aged 18 months in new and once-used barrels, it offers medium-bodied notes of red currants, wood smoke, tobacco, and earth. With a rounded, concentrated, balanced style and building tannin, drink it anytime over the coming 15 years.” – From the winery. Chateau Damase, a property owned by Gerard Milhade, is primarily planted to the Merlot grape variety. The reason for this is the soil is mainly composed of clay, and Merlot thrives in these conditions, while Cabernet prefers faster draining soils. Chateau Damase has also pioneered the re-introducution of “Bordeaux’s Lost Grape” – Carmenere. Carmenere makes up approximately 10% of the plantings at the chateau. Carmenere is a difficult grape to grow, and its yield vary dramatically depending on the conditions during flowering. The inclusion of Carmenere contriubtes a spicy, herbal freshness to the wine and gives it a unique Damase flavor. The viticultural techniques employed at Chateau Damase are done with the same care and attention to detail as those practiced at classified estates in Saint-Emilion, with small modifications made to suit the terroir of Chateau Damase. At harvest, the grapes are sorted again by quality. Following a selection of the best grapes, there is 100% destemming and a gentle crushing before transferring the berries to temperature controlled vats. A traditional Bordeaux fermentation takes place.