Thursday, May 5, 2011

Chateau LaFleur Saint-Jean, Pomerol, Bordeaux

There was once a wise man I met who said "Never save your prized bottles of wine for too long..."
Chateau LaFleur Saint-Jean, Pomerol, Bordeaux
   His thinking, if I remember, was that one can in fact save those prized bottles of wine until they become prized bottles of vinegar. Hardly a fitting ending for a wine that one might cherish and hold dear, looking at fondly in the wine cellar for months or years thinking "One day it will be the right day - but not today"

   The wise man would say that a good episode of Castle might be cause enough for celebration with a great bottle of wine, and tonight was such a night.

   My mother-in-law and sister-in-law were at the house for dinner, we had my wife's birthday a week ago, the mother's birthday is also coming around the corner and Mother's Day soon to be celebrated for the first time in our house. Definitely time for some wine.

   Chateau LaFleur Saint-Jean is a modest vineyard of about 1.2 hectares in Pomerol, Bordeaux, France. The main varietal grown is Merlot, although there is a small amount of Cabernet Franc as well (about 10%). The wine is much sought after in Belgium and Germany, and has acquired a following in England as well... in North America it is rather unknown which is a shame considering the quality. If one could judge the quality of the wine only by the quality of the neighbours, one needs only learn that LaFleur Saint-Jean is almost cheek-to-cheek with Chateau Petrus to understand what lies beneath the surface.

2003 Chateau LaFleur Saint-Jean
Pomerol, Bordeaux, France
Francois Janoueix, owner
95% Merlot, 5% Cabernet Franc
$225 CAD (if you can find it)
          WORLD CLASS WINE 98 Points-
soil:   thin topsoil of silt, red gravel with rich iron content below
          the "high plateau" of Pomerol
vines: 50 years and older
maturation: 18 months in French oak
  • visual:   clean; light+ garnet core with substantial cherry/brick rim
  • nose:     clean; fully intense and still developing bouquet of leathery venison meat, red and black currants, dark red raspberries, dark red roses, wild thyme and bay leaf, rich ferric notes almost reminiscent of parts of Chateauneuf du Pape, long mellow cherry liquor finish with a hint of green peppercorn
  • palate:   clean; dry, moderate+ (vibrant red currant) acids, moderate+ (chewy) tannins, moderate+ to fully intense (and still developing) flavors much the same as the nose with the red berries much more prominent. Excellent balance, stunning structure and very very long length
  • conclusion:   this wine is still drinking as a young wine - it is said to be a very ageable Pomerol, and now I agree 100%... great concentration of flavors with racy acids and well structured tannins - drink 2015(18) to 2025
  • PAIRINGS:   pan seared venison tenderloin (in duck fat) with oven roast pearl onion and fresh thyme compound butter... the wild meat will play delightfully off the wildness of the Bordeaux flavors and will love the dark berries, a touch of duck fat will balance the acids and the slight saltiness of it enhances everything, the roast onions are sweet to contrast the tart currants in the wine and the thyme brings the slight garrigue back into focus
Chateau LaFleur Saint-Jean and neighbours

   Perhaps a small winery, but one worthy of notice. The wines invariably reach scores over 90, and Francois Janoueix is being hailed as the man who took a beautiful heritage house - modernized the wine facilities, and meshed them seamlessly together into one incredibly package.

    As always, I look forward to your questions and comments.
    CINCIN~!!!     SLAINTE~!!!     CHEERS~!!!

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