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Chateau d'Aiguilhe Cotes de Castillon 2003

  • WS91
  • RP90
750ML / 0% ABV
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Winemaker Notes

"This large (120+ acres) vineyard planted on limestone and clay soils is composed of 80% Merlot and 20% Cabernet Franc. Bottled unfined and unfiltered, the 2003 was produced from yields of 28 hectoliters per hectare. It exhibits a dense purple color as well as a big, sweet nose of scorched earth, blackberries, underbrush, cherries, and smoke. Layered, opulent, powerful, and rich, with its tannin character well-hidden by abundant fruit, it should drink well for 10-12 years. It is another example of this backwater appellation producing a wine that transcends its pedigree." - Robert Parker

Critical Acclaim

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WS 91
Wine Spectator
RP 90
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
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Chateau d'Aiguilhe

Chateau d'Aiguilhe

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Chateau d'Aiguilhe, France
Stephan von Neipperg's Saint-Emilion estates have received praise from around the world for their excellent quality. von Neipperg has also decided to leave his mark on Chateau d'Aiguilhe, one of the finest vineyards in the Côtes de Castillon. Chateau d'Aiguilhe has 65 hectares, of which 42 are devoted to producing wine. The vineyards are planted on the upper part of the slopes and thus have excellent natural drainage and sun exposure.

The estate is expertly managed by Jean-Patrick Meyrignac. It benefits from the tried and tested winegrowing methods used by Stephan von Neipperg at his Saint-Emilion estates: letting the terroir express itself fully, low yields and a very flexible approach to winemaking.

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Cotes de Castillon

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Though the region is larger than many of its Right Bank neighbors, it is one that consistently produces high quality, well-valued red wines. In fact, Cotes de Castillon can almost be considered a geographical eastern extension of St. Emilion, producing similarly-fashioned reds based on Merlot.

Vineyards in the region’s clay, limestone and sandstone soils produce sturdy red wines. On alluvial terraces, in vineyards closer to the Dordogne River, wines tend to be more supple and fruity. In either case, a great Cotes de Castillon red will be bursting with raspberry, plum and blueberry, have an enticing bouquet of dried flowers and a finish that is plush and opulent.

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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 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.

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 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.

WWH102177_2003 Item# 88130