The outstanding wine of its appellation, Roc de Cambes is made by the meticulous, eccentric and inspired François Mitjavile, who is perhaps more famous for Tertre Roteboeuf in Saint-Emilion.
He bought the latter in 1978, shortly after he first settled in Bordeaux, and acquired Roc de Cambes less than ten years later in 1987. It required a lot of work, so much so that François didn't celebrate his first vintage there until 1989.
The 12-hectare vineyard, which contains some very old vines (some up to 50 years old), lies on rock shelves with deep clay-limestone soils overlooking the Gironde. The terroir isn't dissimilar to Tertre Roteboeuf, but interestingly the grape varieties are more akin to the left bank, being a blend of 75% merlot, 20% cabernet sauvignon and 5% malbec.
The wine is vinified in concrete tanks before being transferred to barrels, half of them new oak, for 18 to 24 months. The flavour of the wine has the natural sweetness and silky flavour of late-picked, gently extracted grapes. Roc de Cambes is a wine that is lovely to drink at the start, middle and end of its five to 20-year drinking window.