Chateau La Vieille Cure 2006
Critical AcclaimAll Vintages
Château La Vieille Cure is a Bordeaux estate in the eastern Fronsac appellation. It makes a Merlot-dominant grand vin and second wine, blended with Cabernet Franc and small amounts of Cabernet Sauvignon. The château dates back to the 18th Century – it features on a prominent map of the region made in 1780. Wine production on the property has an even longer history with 17th Century parish records mentioning vineyards there.
The estate took its modern form when it was bought by Americans Peter Sachs and Colin Ferenbach in 1986. The duo built a new winery, replanted vines and enacted extensive renovations. La Vieille Cure stopped selling a portion of its wine in bulk to be sold under other labels and began exclusively estate bottling. Since the 1980s the wine went from being primarily sold regionally in Fronsac, to distribution in more than 25 countries.
The vineyard covers 20 hectares (50 acres) and, uncommonly for Bordeaux, is a single large plot. It is planted on a limestone plateau above the Dordogne river near Libourne. The landscape includes southwest exposed hills of chalk and clay sub-soils. The grapes are mechanically destemmed, hand-sorted, with maceration lasting three to four weeks. Fermentation takes place in temperature-controlled stainless steel tanks, while malolactic fermentation takes place in barrel.
Home of the very first remarkable Right Bank wines, dating back to the 1730s, Fronsac and Canon-Fronsac actually retained more fame than Pomerol well into the 19th century. Today these wines represent some of Bordeaux’s best hidden gems.
Fronsac is a very small region at an unusually high elevation compared to other Bordeaux appellations. Its vineyards unroll along the oak-dotted hills bordering the river’s edge, making it perhaps Bordeaux’s prettiest and most majestic countryside.
Merlot covers 60% of the vineyard acreage; the rest of the vines are Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon. The Fronsac and Canon-Fronsac appellations are limited to the higher land where soils are predominantly limestone and sandstone. Lower vineyards along the Dordogne River mainly qualify for Bordeaux AOC status
The best Fronsac are deeply concentrated in ripe red and black berry; they have a solid mineral backbone and are rich and plush on the finish.
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.