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Flat front label of wine
Flat front label of wine

Chateau Dalem (Futures Pre-Sale) 2016

Bordeaux Red Blends from Fronsac, Bordeaux, France
  • JS93
  • WS93
  • RP93
0% ABV
  • JS93
  • WS92
  • V92
  • JD92
  • RP91
  • JS94
  • WS92
  • JD91
  • RP91
  • V90
  • WS91
  • JS91
  • JS91
  • WS90
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Winemaker Notes

Blend: 80% Merlot, 20% Cabernet Franc

Critical Acclaim

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JS 93
James Suckling
Crushed-stone and blackberry character. Full and dense. Fantastic depth and purity. Tightly wound, silky ball. Better than 2015?
Barrel Sample: 92-93 Points
WS 93
Wine Spectator
Shows ripe, almost lush flavors of plum and blackberry fruit that spill over the bay, tobacco and chalk notes. Pulls together nicely on the finish. Should be solid when finished.
Barrel Sample: 90-93 Points
RP 93
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
The 2016 Dalem, the Fronsac estate belonging to Brigitte Rullier-Loussert, is a blend of 80% Merlot and 20% Cabernet Franc cropped at 41 hectoliters per hectare. It has a well defined bouquet with blackberry and blueberry fruit, fine cedar and undergrowth aromas developing in the glass. The palate is medium-bodied with supple tannin, smooth and refined in the mouth with just a dash of black pepper on the silky finish. This may even surpass the impressive 2015 Dalem that I tasted last year.
Barrel Sample: 91-93 Points
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Chateau Dalem

Chateau Dalem

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Chateau Dalem, Fronsac, Bordeaux, 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.

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.

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.

BTRF202298_2016 Item# 202298