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Barton & Guestier St. Emilion 1999

Bordeaux Red Blends from St. Emilion, Bordeaux, France
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    Winemaker Notes

    The Saint-Emilion vineyard is situated on the Right Bank of the Dordogne river, near Libourne and Pomerol. This hilly region is dominated by calcium based soils in the form of limestone which are covered by clay, sand or gravel. The calcium in the soils enables the Merlot grape to develop great concentration, which it rarely achieves elsewhere. The Merlot provides mellow smoothness, the Cabernet Franc a more tannic aromatic base: a harmony, which gives to the wine richness, great fruit and a potential for improvement with age. VINTAGE 1999 is, once again, a winegrowers year! Early budburst at the end of March and flowering at the end of May which took place under favorable climatic conditions presupposed a very abundant crop. July was hot and stormy and gave rise to fears of mildew and necessitated vigilance on the part of the growers. From August 18th an ideal hot spell lasted for almost one month, which allowed the grapes to ripen under good conditions and to reach a good level of concentration, specifically in potential alcohol. The rain which fell between September 11th and 20th diluted this concentration somewhat except where conscientious growers had controlled the yields on the vines (green harvest) and had encouraged ripening (leaf pruning). In Saint-Emilion, a violent hailstorm on the 5th of September damaged 500 hectares (1200 acres) of the appellation, mainly in the zone of the Grands Crus Classés. WINEMAKING The aim of Barton & Guestier is to produce wines which are typical of the appellation: harmonious, with soft tannins and fruity flavors. While respecting the traditional winemaking techniques (de-stalking and crushing the grapes), alcoholic fermentation took place at 30-32°C, then daily pumping over and a two or three weeks maceration period were necessary. After malolactic fermentation, the wines were aged in oak barrels for a few months. WINEMAKER NOTES Purple with violet highlights. Fine and elegant with aromas of liquorice, spices and red fruit (raspberry). With a supple attack, it is structured and well balanced, with good fruity mouth aromas and a spicy finish.

    Critical Acclaim

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    Barton & Guestier

    Barton & Guestier

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    Barton & Guestier, St. Emilion, Bordeaux, France
    The company's founder, Thomas Barton, left his native Ireland and emigrated to Bordeaux when he was just 30 years old. He was a true adventurer, looking to make his fortune, and founded a shipping company in 1725. The first barrels of wine were naturally exported to Ireland, which, along with Holland, was the biggest market for Bordeaux in the early 18th century. Very quickly, his efforts brought an unbelievable level of prosperity. He was the first shipper to have his own wine estates. By 1747, Thomas Barton was considered Bordeaux’s number one shipper. His loyal clients nicknamed him "French Tom".

    His family, his associates and his successors followed his example. In 1802, his grandson, Hugh Barton, teamed up with his friend Daniel Guestier, a French shipowner, to create Barton & Guestier. Both men's children and grandchildren went into the business, until the mid-20th century. Today, a dedicated team and over a hundred distributors continue to develop the Barton & Guestier brand worldwide. Barton & Guestier wines are widely recognized throughout the world as wines of excellent quality and tremendous value. The list of wines has also grown to include a broad range of classics from the greatest wine regions of France.

    St. Emilion

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    Marked by its historic fortified village—perhaps the prettiest in all of Bordeaux, the St-Émilion appellation, along with its neighboring village of Pomerol, are leaders in quality on the Right Bank of Bordeaux. These Merlot-dominant red wines (complemented by various amounts of Cabernet Franc and/or Cabernet Sauvignon) remain some of the most admired and collected wines of the world.

    St-Émilion has the longest history in wine production in Bordeaux—longer than the Left Bank—dating back to an 8th century monk named Saint Émilion who became a hermit in one of the many limestone caves scattered throughout the area.

    Today St-Émilion is made up of hundreds of independent farmers dedicated to the same thing: growing Merlot and Cabernet Franc (and tiny amounts of Cabernet Sauvignon). While always roughly the same blend, the wines of St-Émilion vary considerably depending on the soil upon which they are grown—and the soils do vary considerably throughout the region.

    The chateaux with the highest classification (Premier Grand Cru Classés) are on gravel-rich soils or steep, clay-limestone hillsides. There are only four given the highest rank, called Premier Grand Cru Classés A (Chateau Cheval Blanc, Figeac, Angélus, Pavie) and 14 are Premier Grand Cru Classés B. Much of the rest of the vienyards in the appellation are on flatter land where the soils are a mix of gravel, sand and alluvial matter.

    Great wines from St-Émilion will be deep in color, and might have characteristics of blackberry liqueur, black raspberry, licorice, chocolate, grilled meat, earth or truffles. They will be bold, layered and lush.

    Bordeaux Blends

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    One of the world’s most classic and popular styles of red wine, Bordeaux-inspired blends have spread from their homeland in France to nearly every corner of the New World, especially in California, Washington, and Australia. Typically based on either Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot and supported by Cabernet Franc, Malbec, and/or Petit Verdot, these are sometimes referred to in the US as “Meritage” blends. In Bordeaux itself, Cabernet Sauvignon dominates in wines from the Left Bank of the Gironde river, while the Right Bank focuses on Merlot. Often, blends from outside the region are classified as being inspired by one or the other.

    In the Glass

    Cabernet-based, Left-Bank-styled wines are typically more tannic and structured, while Merlot-based wines modeled after the Right Bank are softer and suppler. Cabernet Franc can add herbal notes, while Malbec and Petit Verdot contribute color and structure. Wines from Bordeaux can be bold and fruit-forward or restrained and earthy, while New World facsimiles tend to emulate the former style. In general, Bordeaux red blends can have aromas and flavors of black currant, cedar, plum, graphite, and violet, with more red fruit flavors when Merlot makes up a high proportion of the blend.

    Perfect Pairings

    Since Bordeaux red blends are often quite structured and tannic, they pair best with hearty, flavorful, and fatty meat dishes. Any type of steak makes for a classic pairing. Equally welcome with these wines would be beef brisket, pot roast, braised lamb, or smoked duck.

    Sommelier Secret

    While the region of Bordeaux is limited to a select few approved grape varieties, the New World is free to experiment. Bordeaux blends in California may include Syrah, Petite Sirah, Zinfandel, or virtually any other grape deemed worthy by the winemaker. In Australia, Shiraz is a common component.

    SOU62331_1999 Item# 38321