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This is a pleasure-first vintage, less structured than some, but showing exceptional perfume and elegance; what’s more, it’s lovely to uncork and enjoy now! A blend of 90% merlot and 10% cabernet franc, this spent 20 months in barrel to produce a spicy, stylish claret with gorgeous fine-grained tannins.
Product Code: CS6571
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The vineyard of La Fleur-Pétrus was shrewdly purchased in 1950, an outstanding year for the property, by the négociant Jean-Pierre Moueix.Jean-Pierre Moueix came to Bordeaux with his family in 1929 and settled in Libourne, a town just west of Saint-Emilion and just south of Pomerol, where he founded his négociant business in 1937. Throughout the 1950s he bought several well-known properties nearby. As well as La Fleur-Pétrus, the family properties now include Trotanoy, Certan de May and Hosanna in Pomerol, and Bélair-Monange in Saint-Emilion.Jean-Pierre’s son, Christian – who is also responsible for the exquisite Bordeaux-blend reds at Dominus Estate in California’s Napa Valley – became president of the company in 1991, and from 2003 Christian has run the family properties with his own son, Edouard. La Fleur-Pétrus has undergone significant changes since it became part of the Moueix stable. The vines were almost totally destroyed by the devastating frost of 1956 so the whole vineyard was then replanted and needed time to gain maturity. In 1994 Christian Moueix was able to buy four hectares of the best plots of neighbouring Le Gay, which have added to the quality, and since 2011 the wine also benefits from a highly regarded 4.5-hectares plot from Guillot.This brings the total vineyard area to 18.7 hectares, situated on the Pomerol plateau, and planted in the deep gravel which gives its wine such elegance and distinction.The blend is 80% merlot and 20% cabernet franc, which spends 20 months in oak, 35% of which is new, and can age for between 10 and 30 years.
Saint-EmilionThere is an ancient history of wine making in the area of St Emilion, with Roman viticulture attested to in the poetry of Ausonius after whom the Première Grand Cru Château Ausone is named. The vineyards and much visited town have been awarded UNESCO world heritage List status as a cultural landscape and are enjoying a period of particular dynamism and prosperity.Merlot is the dominant grape here with cabernet franc in earnest support and some supporters of the more difficult to ripen cabernet sauvignon. The soils, damper and cooler than those of the Médoc, are responsible for this and merlot performs beautifully in the clay, limestone, gravel and other alluvial deposits that make up the vineyard soils. Much is made of the clay based soils of the area but the picture is a broader than that.If we ignore the areas down by the river and on its flood plain and the satellites that we discuss elsewhere, there remain two main areas where the quality of the wines speaks for the terroir.The first is up on the plateau that abuts the border with Pomerol. A continuation of the plateau of sand and gravel that defines the best wines of Pomerol, this area is home to the most sought after of all Saint-Emilions, Château Cheval Blanc. The second group of properties are to be found on an escarpment east of the town of Saint-Emilion, where a thin layer of topsoil overlays a bedrock of sandstone on south-facing slopes that end suddenly and precipitously. Though the best wines of the second group are less highly regarded than the best of the first group there are superb wines in both. Unlike its Pomerol next door, the wines of Saint-Emilion have access to a classification system akin to that of the 1855 Médoc version. Established in 1955, the Saint-Emilion classification is redrawn every ten years, which always causes a legal rumpus as demoted properties seek redress for the insult. Wines are assessed on several criteria such as soils, aspect and vine age and are tasted for typicity. Once accepted at one of the three levels the wines are required to adhere to stricter appellation rules than their supposedly lesser fellow estates with regard to yields and ageing. The levels of the classification begin with the Grand Cru Classé properties of which there are several hundred (there are 800 or so estates in Saint-Emilion in total). Above this is Première Grand Cru, with 18 member currently, and at the top the Premières Grands Crus (A) which consists of the Châteaux Cheval Blanc, Ausone, Angelus and Pavie, the latter two having been promoted in 2012.At its best Saint-Emilion should be should be rich, full-coloured, spicy and apparently sweet, and the best properties balance these qualities with finesse length. No white wines are made.PomerolDespite not having a classification system like the Médoc and Saint-Emilion, Pomerol has an enviable reputation for some of the very best Bordeaux wines that can fetch eye-watering prices. However, at its best Pomerol produces sublime wines with a rich, almost fleshy, velvety flavour. It's worth buying the best which are never cheap.The appellation is tiny, only 785 hectares, but within this flat but bijou acreage there are a great number of small estates with few of the grand châteaux that crop up throughout other Bordeaux districts. The land is effectively a great bank rising in gentle terraces from the Dordogne and Isle rivers, consisting of a good deal of clay leavened by gravel and sand in varying quantities depending on where you stand. The sandiest slopes, making the lightest wines, are on the lower slopes close to the Dordogne, and the best terroir is considered to be up in the north-eastern corner where the clay is at its thickest. Here you will find the big names of the appellation such Châteaux Pétrus, La Fleur Pétrus, Lafleur and Vieux Château Certan. Nowhere is more than 40 metres above sea level.Merlot is at least 80% of planting and is similarly represented in any blended wines, though many are pure merlot. Cabernet franc is runner up here, with cabernet sauvignon and malbec also permitted. The influential Moueix family have been incredibly important in the development of Pomerol’s reputation as a fine wine appellation, both as négociants and as owners of some of the finest properties. Pétrus, Lafleur Pétrus, Hosanna and Providence are all under their ownership.
2007 is a claret vintage for wine drinkers rather than wine investors and is an outstanding vintage for dry and sweet whites. There are some disappointing red wines but there are many fine wines of elegance and charm that are already giving pure uncomplicated pleasure. Tannins are gentle and mild, and the acidity levels are generally low making the wines rounded and easy to enjoy. They are mostly ready and good to drink now, though some of the great names may need more time. Undoubtedly, in a year when there was not enough summer sunshine for a ‘great’ vintage, 2007 succeeded best in the most favoured vineyards of Bordeaux. The outstanding châteaux were rigorous in coaxing the best from their vines with pruning and crop thinning, and then selection in the cellar. The year got off to a good start with a brilliant April, but then most of the summer was cool and disappointing and the vintage was saved by three beautiful weeks in September. It was no accident that our list was dominated by the great vineyards of Saint-Julien, Pauillac, Margaux, the gravel plateau of Pomerol and the heart of Pessac-Léognan, where the best exposure to sunshine and excellent drainage go hand in hand.The conditions that made life tricky for claret proved ideal for white wines, whose delicate aromas are blunted by too much sun, and for the great Sauternes and Barsacs, which enjoyed exceptional conditions in the autumn. Sauternes and Barsacs are a huge success in 2007, comparable to 2001. Dry white wines from the best estates will benefit from ageing.
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