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Chateau Charmail 2005

Bordeaux Red Blends from Haut Medoc, Bordeaux, France
  • RP90
0% ABV
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  • JS92
  • JD92
  • WE91
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  • RP90
  • WE90
  • JS90
  • WE94
  • RP90
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Winemaker Notes

The wines in Charmail often have a gustatory profile which allows an early drinking thanks to the specificity of the vineyard's vines and the work done on the plants where our main concern has been the ripeness of the grapes and the wine-making technique (cold pre-fermentation maceration).The wines are generally fruity, with a generous substance and tight tannins. The fact that vintages can be drunk young is not contradictory with their ability to age owing to the richness of the tannins.

Critical Acclaim

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RP 90
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
Another fabulous sleeper of the vintage, the 2005 Charmail is a blend of 45% Merlot, 35% Cabernet Sauvignon, and the rest Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot. There are 10,000 cases of this exquisite, sexy, deep purple-hued effort. It displays plenty of creme de cassis notes intermixed with notions of licorice, charcoal, and cedar, sweet fruit, round, ripe tannins, an endearing opulence, and a long finish. Drink it over the next decade.
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Chateau Charmail

Chateau Charmail

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Chateau Charmail, Haut Medoc, Bordeaux, France
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Built in the middle of the 19th century, Château Charmail commands a charming estate overlooking the Gironde. Surrounding the château, the vineyard is all of a piece, situated on gravel crests and at present covers some twenty hectares. It is planted to Cabernet franc and Cabernet-Sauvignon, Merlot and Petit Verdot.

Winemaking is performed by the owner, Olivier Sèze, a trained agronomist, well-versed in the latest enological methods. Indeed, in tandem with the Pauillac-based enologist, Michel Couasnon, Sèze has be-come a veritable pioneer ("maverick" might be the more accurate term) in the Médoc. Since 1991, his successful development of the technique called, "pre-fermentation, cold maceration" has roused interest through-out the Médoc, in Saint-Emilion, and even at the Institute of Enology in Bordeaux. The technique is similar to that widely employed by the Burgundian enologist, Guy Accad, although much less sulfur dioxide is used at Charmail. It results in deeply colored, "fatter" wines with softer tannins than might otherwise be the case using traditional fermentation techniques.

Haut Medoc

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While it claims the same basic landscape as the Medoc—only every so slightly elevated above river level—the Haut Medoc is home to all of the magnificent chateaux of the Left Bank of Bordeaux, creating no lack of beautiful sites to see.

These chateaux, residing over the classed-growth cru in the villages of Margaux, Moulis, Listrac, St-Julien, Pauillac and St. Estephe are within the Haut Medoc appellation. Though within the confines of these villages, any classed-growth chateaux will most certainly claim village or cru status on their wine labels.

Interestingly, some classed-growth cru of the Haut Medoc fall outside of these more famous villages and can certainly be a source of some of the best values in Bordeaux. Deep in color, and concentrated in ripe fruit and tannins, these wines (typically Cabernet Sauvignon-based) often prove the same aging potential of the village classed-growths. Among these, the highest ranked chateaux are Chateau La Lagune and Chateau Cantemerle.

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.

VCJBWPII_1057_05_2005 Item# 101630