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Chateau Fleur Cardinale (Futures Pre-Sale) 2018

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Winemaker Notes

A racy style and an unprecedented freshness of fruit flavor. The tasting of the first samples confirmed what the lab analyses had already indicated: well-controlled ripeness underpinned by unparalleled acidity levels. Château Fleur Cardinale 2018 is particularly notable for its magnificent Cabernets Francs, well adapted to the climatology of the vintage. They give a very beautiful structure to the wine, in a racy style, while perpetuating the signature of Château Fleur Cardinale thanks to velvety tannins.
Blend: 70% Merlot, 25% Cabernet Franc, 5% Cabernet Sauvignon

Critical Acclaim

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WS 96
Wine Spectator
Offers lovely fruit, with exotic plum and boysenberry notes gliding along, carried by a very velvety structure. The long finish has a nice flow, showing a latent anise echo. Seems to be holding back a bit, but there's some serious depth of fruit here.
Barrel Sample: 93-96
JS 95
James Suckling
This is really linear and tight for this winery and shows seriousness and polish. Medium-to full-bodied and a tight, compact palate. Very fresh and long, too. I can see a change to more linear and precise wines here.
Barrel Sample: 94-95
WE 94
Wine Enthusiast
Ripe and juicy, this is a delicious wine with its fine tannins and acidity already in harmony. The structure of the wine is powerful with a dry core that will broaden out as the wine matures.
Barrel Sample: 92-94
D 94
Decanter
After a tough 2017 in terms of frost, Fleur Cardinale returns to a more normal blend this year and has produced a very beautiful wine. This is, as ever with this cooler terroir over to the west of St-Emilion, a little bigger than some, with well defined tannins and a fairly masculine feel. Give it time in the glass and the rich, ripe brambly fruits come spilling over, full of juice and promise. The tannins are equally full of life and overall this is extremely appealing. It has settled in already at this early stage, and will age well.
Barrel Sample: 94
JD 94
Jeb Dunnuck
The 2018 Château Fleur Cardinale shows the subtle change in style at this estate, offering slightly more elegance and finesse while still packing plenty of fruit and texture. Coming from a 23.5-hectare vineyard consisting mostly of older vines, the 2018 is currently a tentative blend of 70% Merlot, 25% Cabernet Franc and the rest Cabernet Sauvignon that was harvested starting on September 27th, which is a record early date for this estate. It hit 14.5% alcohol and will spend 12-14 months in new French oak. Perfumed notes of cassis, black raspberries, violets, and spring flowers all emerge from the glass, and it hits the palate with full-bodied richness, a layered, elegant texture, terrific ripeness, and sweet tannins. It’s an elegant yet still sexy wine that shows the vintage beautifully.
Barrel Sample: 92-94+
RP 93
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
Deep garnet-purple colored, the 2018 Fleur Cardinale features pronounced baked blueberries, stewed black plums and blackberry preserves scents with touches of bay leaves, moss-covered bark and forest floor. Full-bodied and laden with black fruit preserves sparked by earth and dried herbs, it has a solid backbone of ripe, rounded tannins and just enough freshness, finishing long. Barrel aging is expected to be for 12-14 months in 100% new oak barrels. The tentative blend is 70% Merlot, 25% Cabernet Franc and 5% Cabernet Sauvignon.
Barrel Sample: 91-93
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Chateau Fleur Cardinale

Chateau Fleur Cardinale

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Chateau Fleur Cardinale, France
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The estate was bought in 2001 by Florence and Dominique Decoster, and it has benefited form major investments which have made Chateau Fleur Cardinale one of the top names of the appellation. It is located to the east of the village of Saint-Émilion, on one of the high points of the appellation and it extends over 20 hectares. The vineyard is planted in a clay-limestone soil in the middle of the plateau on a pleasant late producing terroir. The vines are mainly merlot (70%) and then a balance of 15% cabernet sauvignon and 15% cabernet franc.

With it's great value for money, and showing great consistancy in it's quality, Chateau Fleur Cardinale was promoted to "Saint-Emilion Grand cru classé" in 2006.

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St-Émilion

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Marked by its historic fortified village—perhaps the prettiest in all of Bordeaux, the St-Émilion appellation, along with its neighboring village of Pomerol, are leaders in quality on the Right Bank of Bordeaux. These Merlot-dominant red wines (complemented by various amounts of Cabernet Franc and/or Cabernet Sauvignon) remain some of the most admired and collected wines of the world.

St-Émilion has the longest history in wine production in Bordeaux—longer than the Left Bank—dating back to an 8th century monk named Saint Émilion who became a hermit in one of the many limestone caves scattered throughout the area.

Today St-Émilion is made up of hundreds of independent farmers dedicated to the same thing: growing Merlot and Cabernet Franc (and tiny amounts of Cabernet Sauvignon). While always roughly the same blend, the wines of St-Émilion vary considerably depending on the soil upon which they are grown—and the soils do vary considerably throughout the region.

The chateaux with the highest classification (Premier Grand Cru Classés) are on gravel-rich soils or steep, clay-limestone hillsides. There are only four given the highest rank, called Premier Grand Cru Classés A (Chateau Cheval Blanc, Ausone, Angélus, Pavie) and 14 are Premier Grand Cru Classés B. Much of the rest of the vineyards in the appellation are on flatter land where the soils are a mix of gravel, sand and alluvial matter.

Great wines from St-Émilion will be deep in color, and might have characteristics of blackberry liqueur, black raspberry, licorice, chocolate, grilled meat, earth or truffles. They will be bold, layered and lush.

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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.

BANF520489_2018 Item# 520489