Chateau de Reignac Balthus 2005
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
Given traditional Burgundian-like treatments of malolactic in barrel and aging on its lees, the 2005 Balthus is an opaque purple-hued blockbuster offering up a sweet perfume of blueberry liqueur interwoven with notes of incense, camphor, spring flowers, and crushed rocks. Dense and full-bodied with stunning concentration, in a blind tasting it could easily beat out many classified growths. Drink it over the next 10-12 years.
Along with consultant Michel Rolland, Yves Vatelot, who has done such a sensational job at Reignac, as well as consulting at Margaux’s Chateau Lascombes, produces this luxury cuvee. Made from extremely low yields of 15 hectoliters per hectare, from a 7.5-acre vineyard with 39-year old vines, this 100% Merlot is the finest example of Balthus yet made.
A dense, full-bodied red, with lots of smoky oak coloring the black currant and notes of passion fruit, kumquat and violet. Long and flavorful, with a backbone of velvety tannins. A little brutish just now, but it's all there. Best after 2011. 500 cases made.
The original chateau was built by Seigneur Baude de Peyron in the 16th century. It was remodeled in the 18th and 19th centuries. In the late 1800s, a central courtyard was added that features his signature wrought iron railings and in 1868, a remarkable greenhouse was designed by Gustave Eiffel.
The present owners, Yves and Stephanie Vatelot, purchased Reignac in 1990 and have worked continuously ever since to restore the estate to its former glory while introducing numerous innovations. The world-renowned Michel Rolland is their consulting oenologist.
"Reignac is the standard bearer for what can be achieved by a passionate proprietor who cuts yields to a minimum, and does everything right in the cellar. Reignac is the leading candidate for the finest generic Bordeaux produced year in and year out. It can compete favorably with classified growths..."
- Robert Parker, The Wine Advocate
In most of France, wines are named by their place of origin and not by the type of grape (with the exception of Alsace). Just like a red Burgundy is by law, always made of Pinot noir, a red Bordeaux is a blended wine composed mainly of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. Depending on the laws of the village from which the grapes come, the conditions of the vintage and decisions of the winemaker, the blend can be further supported by Cabernet Franc, Malbec, Petit Verdot and in rare cases, Carmenere. So popular and repeated has this mix of grape varieties become worldwide, that the term, Bordeaux Blend, refers to a wine blended in this style, regardless of origin.