For ages the wines from the Medoc and Graves were the center of the world in Bordeaux. I recently had a chance to get some wines from the Fine Wine Source as one can now book a private tasting time from the region across the river in what is historically known as Saint-Emilion and Pomerol, but both have become well respected on the own. Saint-Emilion probably produces the same amount of wine as the entire Medoc region of Bordeaux and Pomerol probably produces about fifteen percent of Saint-Emilion. These were two districts that I immediately gravitated towards in my youth, because they were so affordable compared to the Medoc, and they were more supple and matured somewhat earlier. These two districts were referred to as the feminine side of Bordeaux, because the wines were softer and they tended to rely more on Merlot and Cabernet Franc, instead of Cabernet Sauvignon. They were some of my first loves and even back then, I was not ashamed to state that, though nowadays, I think that stigma has long been forgotten, as the prices commanded can be just as dear as the classified Medoc listings.
Couvent (Convent) des Jacobins Saint-Emilion Grand Cru 2010 is a delightful wine that took me back to my youth, with its full flavor and of course excellent pricing. The Convent has been celebrating seven centuries of winemaking, famed terroir and since 2020 they have been certified “organic farming.” A blend of eighty-five percent Merlot and fifteen percent Cabernet Franc from vines that are ten to fifty years old. The wine had twelve months of aging in a mix of forty-five percent new oak barrels and a production of about twenty-two-hundred cases. There was plenty of black fruit, some vanilla and silky tannins and probably another good ten to twenty years for cellaring. Just a charming wine. The Grand Cru designation began in 1954 and has been updated a couple of times. I have heard some people remark that there is more Grand Cru wine, then there is basic Saint-Emilion wine, but I have never seen it in print.
Chateau Les Cruzelles Lalande de Pomerol 2016 is owned by Denis Durantou who rebuilt Chateau L’Eglise-Clinet in Pomerol and his is a firm believer that terroir is a guiding influence in creating fine wine. Since taking over Chateau L’Eglise-Clinet he has also acquired another piece of property further up the “Right Bank” in Lalande de Pomerol and he calls it the “golden triangle” and he can actually see his original chateau from Chateau Les Cruzelles. This wine is ninety percent Merlot and ten percent Cabernet Franc and aged in oak, of which forty-five percent is new. I will estimate that the wine was aged for about a year, I can not find an actual report, but I have read that he thought the wine needed at least another month in the barrel, and he thought that it needed at least a couple of years in the bottle. I was clearly impressed with the wine and I wrote in my quick hieroglyphic notes “Cabernet Franc,” “licorice,” and “wonderful.” I was actually surprised to discover later that it only had ten percent Cabernet Franc, as it really caught my attention, even after tasting several other wines that day. It had all the black cherry and other black fruits one could wish for and the tannins were still feisty a couple years later after bottling. I was totally impressed with this wine and realize that it may be at its peak around 2030, which I think is remarkable as Lalande de Pomerol is not held as in high esteem as Pomerol, but it certainly passed my test.