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The Society's 150th Anniversary Saint-Emilion Grand Cru 2016

4.000000000 star rating 4 Reviews
We have worked with the Despagne family for many years and were delighted when they agreed to blend a wine for our 150th Anniversary celebrations, especially as the 2016 vintage in Bordeaux was amongst the best of the last 30 years. This is perfect for drinking now, although it has the capacity to age for several more years. Made from vines bordering Pomerol, the unique blend combines 80% merlot with 20% cabernet franc for freshness. Aged for 18 months, 50% was matured in French oak barrels and the balance in stainless steel. It reveals a bouquet of ripe damsons and a touch of lavender. On the palate it is fresh and vibrant, with suave tannins and plush merlot-fruit texture. For more on the story of this wine, please scroll down.
Price: £25.00 Bottle
Price: £300.00 Case of 12
In Stock
Code: CS11481

Wine characteristics

  • Red Wine
  • Medium-bodied
  • Merlot
  • 75cl
  • Now to 2031
  • 13.5% Alcohol
  • oak used but not v. noticeable
  • Cork, natural

More on the wine

François Despagne, with whom we worked to put together this unique blend, is one of the most highly respected vignerons of the Saint-Emilion appellation. His family has been making wine in the area since the 16th century and his knowledge of the different terroirs that carry his vines is the result of seven generations of winemaking experience.

This grand cru comes from a vineyard planted on the blue-clay terroir typical of the western plateau of Saint-Emilion, bordering Pomerol owned and managed by François. This is the only time he has ever done an ‘own-label’ wine for anybody. This bespoke blend comes from his younger vines (20 to 25 years old) and as a result the wine is more forward and ready to drink than his flagship Grand Corbin Despagne.

What we love about François’ wines is that, unlike many wines from Saint-Emilion, which can be overly alcoholic and extracted, his are the model of refinement and restraint.

Château Grand Corbin Despagne

The Despagne family has been making wine in Saint-Emilion for seven generations. François Despagne took the reins in 1996, and his passion and intelligence have made his family property – a grand cru since the original classification in 1955 – one very much to follow.

History
The Despagne family is one of the oldest in Saint-Emilion, and they have documents showing that their family roots go back to the 17th century. They have not always been owners, but down the years have undertaken all sorts of wine-growing jobs. For example, they were often vineyard workers, day-labourers and ploughmen.

In 2012, the family celebrated the 200th anniversary at the Grand Corbin terroir. The current owner’s  ancestor Louis Despagne (whose family were smallholders at Cheval Blanc), purchased the first family parcels in 1812 at a place named Grand Corbin. His son extended the vineyard taking it from just a handful of hectares to around twenty, a surface area which has remained largely unchanged ever since.

The wines
The estate is near Saint-Emilion’s border with Pomerol. There are 30 hectares of vines on a mix of clay and sandstone soils, but François painstakingly analysed the vineyards and has identified 53 individual plots. He now adapts his viticulture to suit the needs of each parcel.

Grapes are hand-picked and vinified in 27 separate stainless-steel and cement tanks. The blend is 75% merlot, 24% cabernet franc and 1% cabernet sauvignon, and the...

The Despagne family has been making wine in Saint-Emilion for seven generations. François Despagne took the reins in 1996, and his passion and intelligence have made his family property – a grand cru since the original classification in 1955 – one very much to follow.

History
The Despagne family is one of the oldest in Saint-Emilion, and they have documents showing that their family roots go back to the 17th century. They have not always been owners, but down the years have undertaken all sorts of wine-growing jobs. For example, they were often vineyard workers, day-labourers and ploughmen.

In 2012, the family celebrated the 200th anniversary at the Grand Corbin terroir. The current owner’s  ancestor Louis Despagne (whose family were smallholders at Cheval Blanc), purchased the first family parcels in 1812 at a place named Grand Corbin. His son extended the vineyard taking it from just a handful of hectares to around twenty, a surface area which has remained largely unchanged ever since.

The wines
The estate is near Saint-Emilion’s border with Pomerol. There are 30 hectares of vines on a mix of clay and sandstone soils, but François painstakingly analysed the vineyards and has identified 53 individual plots. He now adapts his viticulture to suit the needs of each parcel.

Grapes are hand-picked and vinified in 27 separate stainless-steel and cement tanks. The blend is 75% merlot, 24% cabernet franc and 1% cabernet sauvignon, and the wine is aged for 18 months in oak, around 35 to 50% of which is new.

The aim here is to make a wine with freshness, elegance and richness that ages well for between six and 20 years. Older vintages such as 1943 and 1961 show the vineyards’ considerable quality and, following something of a dip in the 1990s, the excellent 2001 vintage signalled a return to form. The property has continued well since then.

Environmental sustainability
Since 1996, the vines have been grown according to integrated and sustainable farming principles. They are also certified to a number of sustainability standards including the Terra Vitis charter and HVE3 (High Environmental Value Level 3) certification.

No herbicides have ever been used. In 2004, they conducted trials on a part of the vineyard following the principles of organic farming, before converting fully to organic farming in 2010, and in 2013 they acquired organic certification. Since 2018 they have trialled a number of plots using biodynamic practices.

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JancisRobinson.com

Pleasing level of maturity but not a standout wine in the range for me. Some dried herbs interspersed with dark-berry and plum fruit. Certainly not a heavyweight.

Andy Howard MW

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