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Chateau Dalem 2016

  • JS94
  • V93
  • RP92
  • WS90
750ML / 0% ABV
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Winemaker Notes

Blend: 80% Merlot, 20% Cabernet Franc

Critical Acclaim

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JS 94
James Suckling
There’s purity and focus to this Fronsac with blackberry and blueberry aromas and flavors. Full body, firm and silky tannins and a flavorful finish. Precise and pretty. A blend of 90 per cent merlot and ten per cent cabernet franc. Drink from 2022.
V 93
Vinous
The 2016 Dalem is a flamboyant, unctuous wine. Super-ripe black cherry, chocolate, blackberry, grilled herbs, menthol, licorice and incense all run though this opulent, unapologetically full-throttle Fronsac. Dalem is one of the most overt, voluptuous wines of the year. I find it utterly irresistible. Tasted two times.
RP 92
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
Deep garnet-purple colored, the 2016 Dalem (blended of 90% Merlot and 10% Cabernet Franc) leaps from the glass with notions of warm black cherries, chocolate mint and baked black plums plus hints of star anise, garrigue and cedar chest. Full-bodied yet possessing fantastic freshness and harmony on the palate, it has wonderfully vibrant fruit and a ripe, grainy frame, finishing with a compelling lift.
Rating: 92+
WS 90
Wine Spectator
This has a good sappy feel to the kirsch and plum fruit flavors, which meld easily into a mix of licorice, fruitcake and tobacco notes on the well-toasted finish. Rather forward overall.
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Chateau Dalem

Chateau Dalem

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Chateau Dalem, France
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This magnificent 18th century chateau, overlooking the Isle valley, stands out proudly, facing Pomerol and the Saint-Emilion limestone hillsides.The property is at the heart of an estate that was itself established in 1610. It belonged to the same family for three centuries and Michel Rullier took it over in 1955. For over 40 years, Michel Rullier modernized the vinification techniques, with the aim to improve the quality of the wines and promote them internationally.

Having worked hand in hand with her father for several years, Brigitte took oveer the estate in 2002. While continuing to focus on international development, Brigitte Rullier-Loussert has also made her mark as a true professional; both her work of the vines and her vinification methods are acknowledged. Managing a very loyal team, Brigitte's expertise is recongnized by the most renowed international critics.

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Fronsac

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Home of the very first remarkable Right Bank wines, dating back to the 1730s, Fronsac and Canon-Fronsac actually retained more fame than Pomerol well into the 19th century. Today these wines represent some of Bordeaux’s best hidden gems.

Fronsac is a very small region at an unusually high elevation compared to other Bordeaux appellations. Its vineyards unroll along the oak-dotted hills bordering the river’s edge, making it perhaps Bordeaux’s prettiest and most majestic countryside.

Merlot covers 60% of the vineyard acreage; the rest of the vines are Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon. The Fronsac and Canon-Fronsac appellations are limited to the higher land where soils are predominantly limestone and sandstone. Lower vineyards along the Dordogne River mainly qualify for Bordeaux AOC status

The best Fronsac are deeply concentrated in ripe red and black berry; they have a solid mineral backbone and are rich and plush on the finish.

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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.

BTF202298_2016 Item# 202298