Chateau Lassegue 2011
The 2011 Lassègue has a brilliant glowing ruby color, and in a vintage considered austere, it is full, with notes of ripe blackberries and a lifted intricate aromatic bouquet of fresh violet, sage and mint. On display are classic Bordeaux aromas of leather, baking spices and graphite. A polished wine, it yet possesses a wild, herbal quality, almost a garrigue. It is reminiscent of herbs grown on the side of rocks, and a forest floor just after rain. Grown in limestone soils, the Cabernet Franc elevates the blend with surprising, soft notes of rose petals and wild strawberries. From the Merlot comes the expansive texture and rich but subtle mineral overtones, invoking the sandy clay soils in which the varietal achieves its most refined expression. There is a velvety softness to the wine, the silky tannins move in crescendo towards a pressingly long finish. The wine will age magnificently for decades to come.
Blend: 62% Merlot, 30% Cabernet Franc, 8% Cabernet Sauvignon
Located in the appellation of St. Émilion, Bordeaux, France and first built in 1738, the estate was purchased by the Jackson & Seillan families in 2003. The vineyards are southwest facing — bathed in sunlight from dawn to dusk and protected by cool northern winds — on the ‘côte’or elevated slope of St. Émilion, with an average vine age of 40 to 60 years. The côte benefits from exceptional hillside drainage, and unique soil promotes the growth of a deep root system and access to nutrients. Only 3%, or 400 acres, of all St. Émilion vineyards are located on the ‘côte’.
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.
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.