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Chateau d'Armailhac 2009

Bordeaux Red Blends from Pauillac, Bordeaux, France
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Winemaker Notes

A deep red with violet highlights, Chateau d'Armailhac is a wine in the classic mould. The nose displays fruity morello cherry aromas lifted by delicate touches of roasted coffee and vanilla. From a forthright and elegant attack, the palate develops red fruit flavors underpinned by highly elegant, silky tannins. Round and full-bodied, the wine offers a long and lingering finish.

Critical Acclaim

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WE 93
Wine Enthusiast
Deliciously fruity, with chocolate notes and acidity. The wine has dense, but soft tannins that merge seamlessly into the black fruits. It is ripe, sweet, densely juicy.
WS 92
Wine Spectator
This has density, structure and drive, offering seriously dark baker's chocolate, plum, currant and fig flavors all wound up tightly by singed cedar, tar and dark tapenade notes, with a tight, mineral-driven finish. Needs a little time to unwind. Best from 2013 through 2023.
RP 91
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
The 2009 Château d'Armailhac has a lovely nose, the Cabernet Sauvignon component more expressive compared to my previous encounter, graphite infusing the generous black fruit that is in keeping with the style. The palate is medium-bodied with touches of cherry liqueur and spice on the entry, the Merlot in the driving seat with good acidity and a lively, spicy finish with tobacco, hickory and black pepper on the aftertaste. It is a delicious d'Armailhac that is just about ready to rock 'n roll. Tasted August 2016.
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Chateau d'Armailhac

Chateau d'Armailhac

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Chateau d'Armailhac, Pauillac, Bordeaux, France
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Château d'Armailhac, classified as a Fifth Growth in 1855, is a close neighbor of Château Mouton Rothschild. Its 123 acres of vines, surrounding the beautiful grounds of the main house, are planted with the typical varieties of the region: 57% Cabernet Sauvignon, 21% Merlot, 20% Cabernet Franc and 2% Petit Verdot.

The estate, in the d'Armailhacq family since the 18th century and named Château Mouton d'Armailhacq after them, was acquired by Baron Philippe in 1933. Between 1956 and 1989, it was called successively Château Mouton Baron Phillipe then Château Mouton Baronne Phillipe. In 1989, Baroness Phillipine de Rothschild restored part of its original identity, renaming it Chateau d'Armailhac. The wine, aged in oak casks, combines finesse and elegance with powerful, well-structured tannins.

Pauillac

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The leader on the Left Bank in number of first growth classified producers within its boundaries, Pauillac has more than any of the other appellations, at three of the five. Chateau Lafite Rothschild and Mouton Rothschild border St. Estephe on its northern end and Chateau Latour is at Pauillac’s southern end, bordering St. Julien.

While the first growths are certainly some of the better producers of the Left Bank, today they often compete with some of the “lower ranked” producers (second, third, fourth, fifth growth) in quality and value. The Left Bank of Bordeaux subscribes to an arguably outdated method of classification that goes back to 1855. The finest chateaux in that year were judged on the basis of reputation and trading price; changes in rank since then have been miniscule at best. Today producers such as Chateau Pontet-Canet, Chateau Grand Puy-Lacoste, Chateau Lynch-Bages, among others (all fifth growth) offer some of the most outstanding wines in all of Bordeaux.

Defining characteristics of fine wines from Pauillac (i.e. Cabernet-based Bordeaux Blends) include inky and juicy blackcurrant, cedar or cigar box and plush or chalky tannins.

Layers of gravel in the Pauillac region are key to its wines’ character and quality. The layers offer excellent drainage in the relatively flat topography of the region allowing water to run off into “jalles” or streams, which subsequently flow off into the Gironde.

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.

CHOARMAILHAC_2009 Item# 114572