See also Bordeaux primeurs 2013 - our plans
From €14.50, £14.59, 20.37 Swiss francs
I tasted this wine because an old friend Chris Dee, once of Fullers and now the buyer at Booths, the family-owned supermarkets in northern England, particularly recommended it. I tasted some others he was especially keen on and found them less exciting but I think this five-and-a-half-year-old red bordeaux is really excellent value at £14.59 - especially since I have just spent quite a while trying to find value among the 2010 bordeaux I spent so much time tasting in Southwold last week.
This was the debut vintage of a 10-hectare Castillon property on the clay-limestone plateau of Belves acquired in 2008 by ex-professional footballer Eric Prissette, the original owner of Ch Rol Valentin. (He sold the latter in 2009.) As at Rol Valentin, Stéphane Derenoncourt was the consultant oenologist (until the 2010 vintage) and this seems to have worked particularly well - perhaps because Derenoncourt's home farm, Domaine de l'A, is also in Castillon and presumably he has a real sensibility for an appellation he has known intimately for well over 20 years. I sometimes find a slightly heavy-handed, sweet, 'burgundian' signature on Derenoncourt wines but not on this one.
This is just the sort of right-bank wine I like, one that has lashings of ripe fruit but a great sense of place, freshness and vigour. It has none of the standard-issue sweetness-plus-drying oak recipe that dogs many a much more expensive right-bank red. The blend is hand-picked 70% Merlot, 20% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Cabernet Franc with an average vine age of 30 years and an average yield of 35 hl/ha after the triage (45 hl/ha before). The blend was aged in what was obviously a judicious mixture of wood and concrete. Prissette's website gives a mass of technical detail, including the fact that the wine is '13-13.5% alcohol'. The label states 14%.
But the main thing is how the wine tastes. My note: 'Deep crimson. Very clean, fresh and pampered on the nose. Impressive freshness and seductive elderberry perfume. Great zest but ripeness too. This is my sort of right-bank wine! Nothing heavy nor overdone. No drying tannins. No toasty oak. Just well-grown fruit and considerable persistence. Brisk, refreshing finish. GV ' I gave it 16.5 points, for what it's worth, and reckon its drinking window is 2013-2018 - not bad for under £15! In the UK Booths seems to be the sole retailer but it is also available from Mövenpick in Switzerland and from various retailers in France and Germany.
Those with good eyesight will see that the label illustrated is actually of the 2010 vintage, which Julia also favourably reviewed, along with the 2010 and 2012 vintages of the top cuvée Roc, Coup de Foudre that has been made at the property since 2010. Prissette, whose wife is Viennese, is based at Villa Symposia near Montpellier and so spends much of his time on the autoroute between there and Bordeaux. His logo is a dragonfly.