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Bordeaux is preeminent among sources for the finest Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Merlot based wines.

 
Quick-links to featured wines:
2008 Château Magdelaine Saint-Émilion 1er Grand Cru Classé   2014 Château Carbonnieux Graves Pessac‑Léognan   2015 Château Marjosse Bordeaux Blanc   2012 Château Beauséjour Héritiers Duffau-Lagarosse Saint-Émilion 1er Grand Cru Classé   2012 Clos du Marquis Saint‑Julien   2012 Château Durfort-Vivens Margaux  
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2008 Château Magdelaine Saint-Émilion 1er Grand Cru Classé

The demise of Château Magdelaine in Saint-Émilion is now a sad fact. A victim of the excesses of the last thirty-plus years of paparazzi-style modern wine journalism or not, Magdelaine has been folded into a property now called Château Belair-Monange, a recent combination of the old Châteaux Belair and Magdelaine. While there is every reason to expect wine superstardom from the new property, the fine wine that was will live on for a good while longer and longer still in the hearts and minds, memories both sad and happy of those who so love such classics among fine Bordeaux wines.​

Produced through the 2011 vintage, sensitive and appreciative wine scribe John Gilman has noted the 2008 the most classic of the last cherished vintages of Château Magdelaine:

It is the intense base of limestone that the vineyards of Magdelaine tapped into that defined the wine, as it is one of the most soil-driven and profound terroirs to be found in all of Bordeaux. The distinctive chalky soils here produce a St. Émilion that is markedly higher in acidity than is the norm in Bordeaux these days, where so many wines are completely manipulated in the cellars and vineyards to produce fat, supple and fruit-forward wines, and Magdelaine was a fairly rare bottling in St. Émilion in its sleek, tightly-knit and youthfully structured profile. The Moueix family, since their arrival at Magdelaine in 1952, always vinified the wine in a quite traditional manner aimed to produce a long-lived and harmonious wine that demanded bottle age before it would blossom. Like the great clarets of yesteryear, this was a château where the wine did not really begin to sing until it has seen a minimum of twenty years worth of bottle age, and in top vintage, thirty years was clearly preferable...

The Moueix team had always allowed Magdelaine to take its time during fermentation, with the grapes picked on the earlier side to protect the inimitable acidity that the merlot and cabernet franc retained in these chalky soils, and no doubt the propensity to pick the fruit at Magdelaine a bit earlier than many of its neighbors was one of the reasons that Robert Parker was not as fond of this wine as others on the Right Bank. A percentage of the stems was also retained during the fermentation, which further added to the youthful austerity over the short-term, but added structural integrity for the long haul and allows extant bottles of Magdelaine to remain one of the longest-lived wines in St. Émilion.

The style of Magdelaine when the wine has blossomed and is approaching maturity is racy and glorious, with great depth of fruit coupled to lively acidity and a framing of chalky soil that adds a near-Burgundian like signature of terroir, and harkens back a bit to the glory days of Château Ausone. Young Magdelaine is not a particularly powerful wine by Bordeaux standards, but at the same time it offers absolutely stunning intensity of flavor and authority on the palate if one is careful enough to look for it behind its structural elements, which can be considerable. In many ways I think of it as very similarly structured to the top red Burgundies of Domaine Joseph Drouhin, which can often hide their inherent depth and intensity when young behind beautiful structures. Because the vinification techniques employed at Magdelaine emphasize long-term cellaring and eschewed early showiness, the wines were often very buttoned down when they are young, with much of the ultimate richness and depth well hidden behind the girdle of acidity and tannin that a young Magdelaine prominently displays. In early comparative tastings, Magdelaine is easily overlooked alongside all the various châteaux where early flashiness and "sex appeal" are emphasized in the winemaking style. However, much like the Joseph Drouhin wines, with extended bottle age, the intensity of Magdelaine emerges from behind its other structural elements, while at the same time, many of its more showy neighbors have lost much of their early puppy fat, so that Magdelaine so very often proves to be the deeper and richer wine at maturity.

As I noted back in the spring of 2013, when reviewing the 2012 vintage in Bordeaux, it was just sad that the last three vintages for Magdelaine, 2009, 2010 and 2011, were such buxom and atypical vintages on the Right Bank (the last two because of extreme drought conditions), as it would have been nice and fitting for the final vintages of Magdelaine to have been absolutely classic in style. However, all three wines are amongst the best to be found in St. Émilion in their respective vintages and the truly classic 2008 is still out there in the pipeline, for purists such as myself, who may wish to lock away in the cellar one more completely and certifiably "old school" Magdelaine for the coming decades.

- excerpted from John Gilman's The View From The Cellar Issue 56, March/April 2015 (Click here for subscription information; we give this fellow's work our highest recommendation)

This was my first bottle of 2008 Château Magdelaine out of my case, which I happily contributed to the March tasting, and I was perhaps the only attendee at the tasting not surprised that this was the finest of the flight that included the 2010 and 2009 vintages. The pure and utterly classic bouquet wafts from the glass in a mix of red and black cherries, menthol, chalky soil nuances, a bit of tobacco leaf, nutskin, vanillin oak and a smoky topnote. On the palate the wine is deep, full-bodied and quite tightly-knit today, with a great core, impeccable balance, tangy acids and a very, very long, ripely tannic and perfectly focused finish. It is still very early days for the 2008 Magdelaine, but this is a great young wine in the making and seems very likely to be the last great classic vintage at this property. Drink 2022-2075. Rated 95. - John Gilman, The View From The Cellar Issue 56, March/April 2015

$117.50 the bottle  $1198.56 the case

2014 Château Carbonnieux Graves Pessac‑Léognan Blanc

The Château Carbonnieux Blanc 2014 has a pretty nose in the making: precise apple blossom and blackcurrant leaf aromas that gently waft from the glass. The palate is crisp on the entry, the acidity not as shrill as some of its peers, thus rendering it a more "languid" Pessac-Léognan. There is already a very elegant, gravelly finish that lingers in the mouth–a very promising Carbonnieux Blanc that may merit a higher score after bottling. Drink 2018-2032. Rated (90-92).- Neil Martin, Wine Advocate, Issue 218 April, 2015.

$37.50 the bottle  $382.56 the case

2015 Château Marjosse Bordeaux Blanc

The 2015 Marjosse Blanc exhibits Green apple, pear, mint and expressive floral notes abound in the 2015 Marjosse. This light-weight, refreshing Sauvignon Blanc/Sémillon/Sauvignon Gris/Muscadelle from Pierre Lurton is an excellent aperitif-style dry white to drink young! Tasted April 2016. Rated 88. - Antonio Galloni, vinousmedia.com, April, 2016

$11.99 the bottle $122.28 the case

2012 Château Beauséjour Héritiers Duffau-Lagarosse Saint-Émilion Grand Cru Classé

The 2012 exhibits a black/purple color along with a striking nose of incense, spring flowers, blueberries, blackberries and hints of mulberries and crushed chalk. The sumptuous aromatics are followed by a full-bodied, super-concentrated, rich, layered wine that builds incrementally across the palate, finishing with an explosion of fruit, spice, tannin, glycerin and minerality. While neither as backward nor impenetrable as the 2009 and 2010, the 2012 should be approachable in 4-5 years and keep for 2-3 decades. A massive, concentrated effort from this great terroir, the 2012 Beausejour Duffau comes from a 16+-acre vineyard located on the clay and limestone southern slopes of St.-Emilion. It was cropped at 23 hectoliters per hectare, and the final blend was 75% Merlot and 25% Cabernet Franc. Only 66% of the production went into the top wine, which boasts 14.3% natural alcohol. Readers can usually count on this cuvee being one of the finest wines of the vintage given the talented team behind it, Nicolas Thienpont, Stephane Derenoncourt, David Suire and Julien Lavenu. Rated 93-95+. - Robert M. Parker, Jr., Wine Advocate, Issue 206, April, 2013.

$112.50 the bottle  $1147.56 the case

2012 Clos du Marquis Saint-Julien

A textbook St.-Julien, with a core of plum sauce and blackberry paste framed with roasted apple wood and backed by a solid graphite spine. Has the lightly chewy edge of the vintage, but offers good, pure fruit for balance. Best from 2016 through 2022. 9,000 cases made. Rated 90. - James Molesworth, Wine Spectator March 31, 2015.

$67.50 the bottle  $688.56 the case

2012 Château Durfort-Vivens Margaux

Purple-ruby; this is the darkest Durfort-Vivens I can recall. Blackcurrant, mocha, graphite, smoke and herbs on the complex, showy nose, nicely complemented by mellower oak tones. Then surprisingly round, lush and sweet for Durfort-Vivens, with sweet, spicy flavors of dark plum, cassis and mocha. Tightens up slightly with air, finishing with polished tannins and impressive length. This is an almost opulent wine for this chateau and a remarkable success for the vintage. I was not the only critic pleasantly surprised by Gonzague Lurton's wine this year. Tasted May, 2013. Rated 87-90. - Ian d'Agata, vinousmedia.com, May, 2013.

$50.00 the bottle  $510.00 the case

2011 Château Sénéjac Haut-Médoc

Produce of a blend of 48% Cabernet Sauvignon, 37% Merlot, 11% Cabernet Franc and 4% Petit Verdot, the 2011 vintage Sénéjac is just limpid ruby in color; classic claret aromas of spiced plum tempered with the telltale graphite (we used to say pencil shavings) and bitter chocolate; soft and smooth in texture with just ample astringency holding things together nicely.

$19.99 the bottle  $203.88 the case

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