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Flat front label of wine

Chateau La Commanderie 2010

Bordeaux Red Blends from St. Emilion, Bordeaux, France
  • WS91
  • JS91
0% ABV
  • WS89
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0% ABV

Winemaker Notes

Critical Acclaim

All Vintages
WS 91
Wine Spectator
Dense but restrained, with a charcoal frame holding the solid core of black currant and blackberry fruit at bay for now. There's a nice smoldering feel through the finish, with latent depth. Not super big, but has good character.
JS 91
James Suckling
Round and velvety, with chocolate, spice and coffee. Full body, and velvety.
Barrel Sample: 90-91 Points
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Chateau La Commanderie

Chateau La Commanderie

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Chateau La Commanderie, St. Emilion, Bordeaux, France
La Commanderie was built in the 12th century by Guillaume de Plaigne, a Cathar Lord, who took an active role in the Battle of Avignonet and afterwards joined the besieged stonghold at the famous siege of Montsegur. In the 16th century, Barthelemy de Plaigne extended the chateau by creating the Salle des Chevaliers. His daughter, Anne de Plaigne, who married the Count de Pibrac in 1642, sold Plaigne to François-Paul de Béon-Massès-Cazaux, head of the order of St Jonh in Toulouse, who, in 1685, established this domain as a Commanderie of the Knights of Malta. It remained in their ownership until the French Revolution. In the 19th century, the chateau belonged to Mr de Nicol, who modernized the building, and it remained in this family for a century, the last descent being Vilolette de Ferluc.

La Commanderie was bought in 1973 by Marie-France Gregory, mother of the present owner; it has been completely restored and furnished in period style by this family of artists and art lovers.

St. Emilion

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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, Figeac, Angélus, Pavie) and 14 are Premier Grand Cru Classés B. Much of the rest of the vienyards 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.

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.

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