Chateau Talbot (Futures Pre-Sale) 2017
Blend: 68% Cabernet Sauvignon, 26% Merlot, 6% Petit Verdot
Critical AcclaimAll Vintages
Barrel Sample: 92-94
Impressive depth of fruit and structure to this 2017 with currant, plum and light chocolate character, medium to full body and round, lightly chewy tannins. Flavorful and long. Dialed-in quality here. Drink after 2022.
Juicy and youthfully compact, with bramble-edged cassis, plum and blackberry flavors, lined with licorice snap and tar details. The grippy back end shows good energy, with latent acidity adding length. A buried bolt of iron adds range. Rock-solid. Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Petit Verdot. Best from 2022 through 2038. 25,000 cases made.
A balanced, structured wine, this has berry fruits, rich tannins and a dark core of dryness. Everything is in place for the wine to age well. Drink from 2024.
Delicate red fruits, showing lovely precision and balance, and soft but unmistakable concentration of menthol and crushed earth notes on the finish. No need to wait too long, there are plenty of tannins here but they are not overpowering the fruit even at this early stage. Slight pyrazine notes stop the fruit from fully expanding, but this is an enjoyable wine.
Talbot's vines grow in an ideal location bordering an estuary, on some of the region's most highly prized gravel rises which alone produce great wine. Talbot is one of the oldest estates in the Medoc, and its reputation has been in the hands of experienced managers, and always shown itself to be worthy of its inclusion in the 1855 classification.
Owners of Talbot since the early 20th century, the Cordier family have perpetuation the commitment to quality of their predecessors. At Talbot, wine is very much past, present, and future. Therefore, tradition and technical innovations both count a great deal.
An icon of balance and tradition, St. Julien boasts the highest proportion of classed growths in the Médoc. What it lacks in any first growths, it makes up in the rest: five amazing second growth chateaux, two superb third growths and four well-reputed fourth growths. While the actual class rankings set in 1855 (first, second, and so on the fifth) today do not necessarily indicate a score of quality, the classification system is important to understand in the context of Bordeaux history. Today rivalry among the classed chateaux only serves to elevate the appellation overall.
One of its best historically, the estate of Leoville, was the largest in the Médoc in the 18th century, before it was divided into the three second growths known today as Chateau Léoville-Las-Cases, Léoville-Poyferré and Léoville-Barton. Located in the north section, these are stone’s throw from Chateau Latour in Pauillac and share much in common with that well-esteemed estate.
The relatively homogeneous gravelly and rocky top soil on top of clay-limestone subsoil is broken only by a narrow strip of bank on either side of the “jalle,” or stream, that bisects the zone and flows into the Gironde.
St. Julien wines are for those wanting subtlety, balance and consistency in their Bordeaux. Rewarding and persistent, the best among these Bordeaux Blends are full of blueberry, blackberry, cassis, plum, tobacco and licorice. They are intense and complex and finish with fine, velvety tannins.
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.
Tasting Notes for Bordeaux Blends
Bordeaux Blends are dry, red wines and generally have aromas and flavors of black currant, black cherry plum, graphite, cedar and violet. 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.
Perfect Food Pairings for Bordeaux Blends
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 Secrets for Bordeaux Blends
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.