There are many factors that go into producing a great wine. The French call this Terroir. From the soil to the vines, the vineyard management of when to prune and harvest, the know-how of the winemaker and the skill of the vineyard workers, the climatic conditions in each year, the ripeness of the grapes to the precise yeast strains used for fermentation. Man and Mother Nature both contribute to the term Terroir.
Chateau d’Armailhac is rated a lowly Fifth Growth in the 1855 classification of Bordeaux but is under the ownership and management of the First Growth estate of Mouton Rothschild. In addition, the liquid in this bottle is from a stella year in Bordeaux: 2010.
All of these factors – dry conditions without drought, an exceptional amount of sunshine, cool nights and rainfall that arrived at just the right time – give the 2010 vintage a remarkable identity. A splendid sequel to 2009, it is already an outstanding year in the long history of fine Bordeaux wine. Proving that Terroir is not something to be sniffed at but has a legitimate place in the wine world’s lexicon.
This is a classic Pauillac blend of 60% Cabernet Sauvignon, 23% Merlot, 15% Cabernet Franc and 2% Petit Verdot, matured in new and old French oak barriques for 12 months. It is made from some of the oldest vines in Pauillac. Nearly 20% of their entire 70 hectare vineyard consists of vines of 125+ years old!
The colour is dark and intense, almost black. With the nose opening on fruit aromas, especially black cherry, followed by toast and roasted coffee notes. The wine is immediately full and powerful on the attack, with well-rounded tannins and fruit flavours that develop notes of vanilla, smoked meat and toasted nuts. The long finish is sustained by slightly toasted, oaky flavours. This is a powerful Château d’Armailhac of considerable refinement. And a very fine testament to French Terrior!
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