Chateau Talbot (Futures Pre-Sale) 2018
Undeniably, Talbot is one of the most famous Médoc wines. Having been in the same family for more than a century, this estate with more than one hundred hectares of vines produces wine that is recognized for the consistent quality of its vintages. ‘For many, Talbot embodies the ideal Saint Julien, a generous bouquet, extremely stable and dependable during aging,’ emphasize Bettane and Desseauve in their Guide to French Wines. It’s true, Talbot is a champion of longevity; even young Talbot is pleasant and rounded, always characterized by silky, mild and very civilized tannins. Talbot possesses an expansive character. It’s never withdrawn into itself and has the courtesy of being in a good mood every day. It’s a racy wine, with complex marks of Havana tobacco and licorice, classically delicious without ever the slightest hint of austerity.
Critical AcclaimAll Vintages
Barrel Sample: 93-96
Barrel Sample: 94-95
Barrel Sample: 93-95
This estate is on a roll and the 2018 Château Talbot might just be the best yet. A deep purple/blue color is followed by a mammoth-sized bouquet of crème de cassis, dark chocolate, tobacco, and lead pencil. Rich, full-bodied, and powerful, it nevertheless stays pure, balanced, and elegant, with a beautiful finish. Its tannins are ripe and integrated, it has balancing acidity, and this is unquestionably another beautiful vintage for this estate. Barrel Sample: 93-95.
A great St-Julien that reflects the estate more than the vintage - a definite compliment to the winemaking team as well as those 50-year-old (on average) vines that are less swayed by climatic changes. This is full of blackberry and bilberry, with a touch of tobacco on the nose. There's good sweetness to the fruit, and although it's not quite as punchy, deep or concentrated as some, this means that it has a beautifully balanced appellation signature. 45hl/ha yield. 60% new oak. Drinking Window 2027 - 2040. Barrel Sample: 94
Barrel Sample: 91-93
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.