Critical AcclaimAll Vintages
Today the land of Château La Bridane, marked by the famed Garronese gravels of Saint-Julien, is a dense estate vineyard with a relatively high proportion of Merlot, Petit Verdot, and some Cabernet Franc for an appellation planted to 90% Cabernet Sauvignon across the board. These parcels of Château la Bridane are sandwiched between those of Châteaux Léoville-Poyferré and Léoville-Las Cases.
Brunot Saintout farms based on the principles of lutte raisonée and alternates the ground covering with partially plowed rows between the well-manicured vines. The modern cellar overlooks the Gironde from the heights of Saint-Julien. At harvest the fruit is sorted three times with progressively stricter standards to ensure only the best fruit makes it to the crusher. After maceration and pressing, the wine rests in two-thirds-new oak barrels for about a year and a half before bottling.
An icon of balance and tradition, St. Julien boasts the highest proportion of classed growths in the Médoc. What it lacks in any first growths, it makes up in the rest: five amazing second growth chateaux, two superb third growths and four well-reputed fourth growths. While the actual class rankings set in 1855 (first, second, and so on the fifth) today do not necessarily indicate a score of quality, the classification system is important to understand in the context of Bordeaux history. Today rivalry among the classed chateaux only serves to elevate the appellation overall.
One of its best historically, the estate of Leoville, was the largest in the Médoc in the 18th century, before it was divided into the three second growths known today as Chateau Léoville-Las-Cases, Léoville-Poyferré and Léoville-Barton. Located in the north section, these are stone’s throw from Chateau Latour in Pauillac and share much in common with that well-esteemed estate.
The relatively homogeneous gravelly and rocky top soil on top of clay-limestone subsoil is broken only by a narrow strip of bank on either side of the “jalle,” or stream, that bisects the zone and flows into the Gironde.
St. Julien wines are for those wanting subtlety, balance and consistency in their Bordeaux. Rewarding and persistent, the best among these Bordeaux Blends are full of blueberry, blackberry, cassis, plum, tobacco and licorice. They are intense and complex and finish with fine, velvety tannins.
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. Typically based on either Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot and supported by Cabernet Franc, Malbec and Petit Verdot, the best of these are densely hued, fragrant, full of fruit and boast a structure that begs for cellar time. Somm Secret—Blends from Bordeaux are generally earthier compared to those from the New World, which tend to be fruit-dominant.