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Chateau Laroque 2016

  • RP94
  • WS93
  • JS93
  • JD93
  • D92
  • WE92
750ML / 0% ABV
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  • JD97
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Winemaker Notes

Today’s grape composition conforms to the traditional mix of grape varieties planted in Saint-Emilion: Merlot, which on limestone gives wines flesh, vivacity, chiselled contours and layers of flavour, and Cabernet Franc which brings length on the palate and a fresh, lean finish.
Blend: 95% Merlot, 4.5% Cabernet Franc, 0.5% Cabernet Sauvignon

Critical Acclaim

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RP 94
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
The 2016 Laroque is blended of 95% Merlot, 4.5% Cabernet Franc and 0.5% Cabernet Sauvignon from vines more than 50 years old and aged in 50% new French and Austrian oak. Medium to deep garnet-purple colored, it slowly unfurls to reveal a beautiful core of redcurrants, Morello cherries, wild blueberries and fresh plums with touches of lilacs, oolong tea, chargrill, bay leaves and yeast extract plus a hint of wet slate. Medium to full-bodied, taut and finely textured with ripe, grainy tannins, it has bold freshness cutting through the densely packed red and black fruit layers, finishing on a lingering mineral note.
WS 93
Wine Spectator
Features a dark plum and loganberry core, with steeped anise and mulled spice accents adding range and sparkle, while apple wood and tobacco hints score the finish. Shows juicy drive through the finish. Drink now through 2032.
JS 93
James Suckling
Very pure aromas of merlot with dark berries, violets and hints of dark chocolate. Medium-bodied, bright and focused with firm tannins and a fresh finish. Shows composure and finesse in the winemaking. A blend of 95 per cent merlot, 4.5 per cent cabernet franc and 0.5 per cent cabernet sauvignon. Drink from 2020.
JD 93
Jeb Dunnuck
The 2016 Château Laroque, a blend of 95% Merlot, 4.5% Cabernet Franc, and a tiny splash of Cabernet Sauvignon brought up in a mix of new and neutral oak, represents 47% of the production. It’s incredibly fine and elegant, with an essence of limestone-like bouquet of cassis, black raspberries, white truffle, flowers, and salty minerality. Medium to full-bodied, with high yet integrated acidity and ultra-fine tannins, it's a beautiful, seamless, elegant wine that will benefit from a good 5-7 years of bottle age and keep for more than two decades.
D 92
Decanter

Fleshy in texture, with sweet loganberry, damson and raspberry through the palate. Really starting to settle into itself, and has great potential. 50% new oak.

WE 92
Wine Enthusiast
While this wine is firm, it also has generous fruit. The tannins form a core around which the fruitiness revolves. The acidity and the solid structure will allow it to age; try after 2027.
Barrel Sample: 90-92 Points
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Chateau Laroque

Chateau Laroque

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Chateau Laroque, France
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Château Laroque, with its mighty 12th century tower, is an imposing feature in the Saint-Emilion area. Located to the south of the village of Saint-Christophe-des-Bardes, the estate appears as a defensive stronghold watching over Saint Emilion. Built on a plateau of limestone rock, from which the estate took its name, this outstanding location has been owned by several families, each one of them making their contribution and imparting an added touch of soul to the place.

The restoration of the cellars carried out in the 19th century was the work of Maurice Dufaure de Rochefort, a keen enthusiast of Saint-Emilion wines. Once the new cellars had been completed, he refocused the economic activity of Château Laroque solely on vine-growing.

After the phylloxera epidemic and the hard times that ensued, the estate and its wines were given a new lease of life in 1935 thanks to the unstinting work of its new owners: the Beaumartin family.

Over the decades that followed, with the appointment of estate manager Bruno Sainson, Château Laroque rediscovered its boldness and identity and emerged as one of the finest growths in Saint-Emilion, rising to the rank of Grand Cru Classé in 1996.

This fresh momentum was maintained by Xavier Beaumartin, at the helm of the property from 2004 and succeeded in 2018 by his nephew Stanislas Droin.

The Beaumartin family brought in David Suire in 2015 to take over the management of the wine estate from Bruno Sainson.

A new chapter has thus begun in the history of this majestic property.

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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.

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