Chateau Barde Haut (Futures Pre-Sale) 2018
Critical AcclaimAll Vintages
Gorgeous purity of fruit in this wine with depth and beauty. Full-bodied. It really grows on the palate with a hyper fine tannin texture.
Barrel Sample: 95-96
Deeply colored, the 2018 Château Barde-Haut gives up a powerful, yet elegant profile that carries beautiful black cherry, chocolate, liquid violets, and hints of minerality. It's medium to full-bodied, has beautiful mid-palate depth, integrated acidity, and thrilling tannin quality, which isn’t a given in the vintage. Opening up with time in the glass, it shows more and more minerality and freshness, and is flawlessly balanced. In short, it’s beautiful Saint-Émilion readers will love to have in their cellar. Barrel Sample: 94-96+
Very juicy, with lots of blackberry and black currant compote flavors. The ample toast has yet to be fully soaked up, with notes of licorice root and singed apple wood jutting out. A bit chewy on the finish. Slightly unbridled today, but if this rounds into form it will be a real winner.
Barrel Sample: 91-94
This has an amazing richness to the nose, with fruit that's ripe but supple, displaying the silky tannins of the vintage. It's a truly luxurious wine, combining liquorice, freshly shaved cherry wood, a gourmet touch of dark chocolate and pencil lead, but everything remains very much in balance. A great job from owner Helene Garcin Leveque. Harvested between 21 September and 11 October. Drinking Window 2027 - 2040 Barrel Sample: 94
Barrel Sample: 92-94
There has been significant investment in renovating the cellar so that all work is completely done by gravity to ensure that the precious grapes of the Chateau are well respected. The cellar is equiped with wooden vats, stainless steel tanks and concrete vats of 50 to 70 hl. A strict policy of selection to ensure the quality is undertaken and individual steps including pigeage are all carried out by hand. It is the combination of exceptional soil and the introduction of natural wine producing and winegrowing technologies combining tradition and modernity that have made CHATEAU BARDE-HAUT one of the rising stars of Saint Emilion.
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, Ausone, Angélus, Pavie) and 14 are Premier Grand Cru Classés B. Much of the rest of the vineyards 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.
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 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 lean towards a highly structured and earthy style whereas New World areas (as in the ones named above) tend to produce bold and fruit-forward blends. Either way, Bordeaux red blends generally 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.
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.
While the region of Bordeaux is limited to a select few approved grape varieties in specified percentages, the New World is free to experiment. Bordeaux blends in California may include equal amounts of Cabernet Franc and Malbec, for example. Occassionally a winemaker might add a small percentage of a non-Bordeaux variety, such as Syrah or Petite Sirah for a desired result.