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Flat front label of wine
Flat front label of wine

Chateau La Gaffeliere (Futures Pre-Sale) 2016

Bordeaux Red Blends from St. Emilion, Bordeaux, France
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  • D93
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Winemaker Notes

Critical Acclaim

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WE 97
Wine Enthusiast
This is a firmly structured wine, its tannins dominating the potential of the ripe fruit. It will take many years to develop into the impressive wine that it is sure to become.
Barrel Sample: 95–97 Points
JS 96
James Suckling
Dynamically and minerally young wine with blackberry and blueberry character. Full body. Firm tannins and a fresh finish. Shows structure and intensity. Focused and classy. Love the finish.
Barrel Sample:95-96
WS 95
Wine Spectator
Lively, with light savory and spearmint hints flecked throughout, while the core of currant and fig fruit sits atop some medium-weight brambly grip. A good juicy edge through the finish pulls it together. Very solid.
Barrel Sample: 92-95 Points
RP 94
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
The 2016 La Gaffeliere has a reserved bouquet at first, one that gradually unfurls with quite intense black cherry and sloes, yet there seems to be a welcome restraint, a Saint Emilion that knows how important it was to not "push" the fruit too much. The palate is medium-bodied with very smooth and rounded tannin. The acidity here is nicely judged, and it feels very cohesive, with dark berry fruit mixed with a little cola and plenty of black pepper towards the satisfying finish. Maybe it would benefit from more on the aftertaste, but otherwise this is an excellent La Gaffelière, a château that is now beginning to deliver the goods.
Barrel Sample: 92-94 Points
D 93
Decanter
The Malet-Roquefort family has produced an extremely lovely wine in 2016, with the playoff of intensity and juiciness very well handled. The clay-limestone terroir has held freshness, and the floating floral aspect is clear right through the mid-palate and through to the finish. Beautifully balanced. 75% Merlot and 25% Cabernet Franc aged for 15 months in 50% new oak.
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Chateau La Gaffeliere

Chateau La Gaffeliere

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Chateau La Gaffeliere, St. Emilion, Bordeaux, France
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The Château La Gaffelière vineyard sits on 25 hectares and has 22 hectares planted in vine, allon one parcel between the Ausone hill and the Pavie one. The vineyard is southwardly oriented, and receives an ideal amount of sunshine which benefits the 35 year old vines. The hillsides are clayey and calcareous, whereas hill bottoms are more siliceous.

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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