WOTW: Chateau St Pierre, St Julien, 2011

Chateau St Pierre lies within the Left bank (Bordeaux) appellation of St Julien. Lying sandwiched in between the Pauillac and Margaux appelations, St Julien shares many of the characteristics often associated with its more well known neighbours, including the fragrant Margaux nose and the dense cassis palate of the Pauillac. St Julien is home to a number of classified estates, of which Chateau St Pierre is both the smallest (17 hectares of vines) and probably the least well known of them. Ch. St Pierre was classified as a 4th Growth in the 1855 classification and can trace its roots back to the 17th Century, though as a result of family disputes, the land has been carved up (even for a period existing as two separate vinyards) before being more or less brought back together in the 1980s by the legendary Henri Martin (holding the title of l’Ame du Médoc (The Soul of Medoc)). Due to its relative obscurity, many regard the wines of Ch. St Pierre to be very much undervalued, representing excellent value for money. Typically the wines of Ch. St Pierre consist of 70-75% Cabernet Sauvignion, 15-20% Merlot and 10% Cabernet Franc. Wines are aged in oak for 18 months.


Chateau St Pierre, St Julien 4er Cru, 2011

Bordeaux blend (Cab. Sauv, Merlot, Cab. Franc), Alcohol: 13.5%,
Price: £19.99 Aldi (Nov 2016)

In the glass the wine is a day bright claret with a really intense hue. No signs of browning at the edges or other obvious signs of aging. There was an intense nose of dried currants and spices, which after decanting for a couple of hours opened into more discernible black fruit. The wine has medium acidity and medium tannins, contributing to a really opulent and smooth mouth feel, with complex flavours of dried fruit rolling through to a delightfully long finish of dark chocolate verging even on coffee.

There is something distinctly classy about this wine. The craftsmanship is abundantly evident in the wine and for this price it really represents superb value for money, regardless of the fact that it is a classed Bordeaux wine. It would pair well with the usual suspects for Bordeaux, however I had a distinctly pleasurable time drinking this in front of the fireplace with a few pieces of dark chocolate. As far as Bordeaux wines go, 5 years is young to be drinking, though many believe (and certainly I’m convinced) that 2011 was a vintage to be drinking now, rather than for laying down.

Conclusion: This is good enough to deserve the title of Wine Of The Week.  I’ve picked up several bottles of the stuff, and so should you – if there is any left!

Score: 91/100 (MI)


2004 Bordeaux Showdown

These wines were tasted during my recent visit to The Sampler. OK so maybe 2 bottles isn’t quite a showdown but it was a good opportunity to see how the vintage is shaping up. 2004 is a middle of the road vintage but I was pleased with both of these classed growth contenders. As for maturity the answer is very much dependent on the wine as these were in a different place in their evolution.  I guess this tasting really demonstrates the use in being able to try a wine before you take home a bottle.  Check out the main article on my visit to The Sampler.


Château Langoa-Barton, 3ème Cru Classé, St-Julien, Bordeaux, 2004
Château d’Armailhac, 5ème Cru Classé, Paulliac, Bordeaux, 2004

Tasting these wines side by side was an interesting experience.  [Leoville-Barton 2001 rates among one of my favourite wines and this was my first opportunity to taste the sister wine Langoa-Barton.]  Langoa-Barton still felt quite fiery in youth at this point in time – it was tannic, lots of rich fruit, and was yet to fully integrate the different components. This was a very well made wine but has not yet reached an elegant plateau.  If you want to drink it now then I would recommend pairing with something like a rare steak.  The d’Armailhac in comparison was balanced, elegant and delicious with greater complexity at this point. There is no doubt that the d’Armailhac is more advanced in its maturity and will begin to fade far sooner than the Langoa-Barton, but for drinking now I would take the  d’Armailhac every time.