2011 Ch. Fleur Cardinale, St Emilion

2011 Ch. Fleur Cardinale, St Emilion

Red, Ready, but will improve   Red | Ready, but will improve | Chateau Fleur Cardinale | Code: 25706 | 2011 | France > Bordeaux > St-Emilion | Cab.Sauvignon Blend | Medium-Full Bodied, Dry | 15.0 % alcohol

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Scores and Reviews

PARKER - This gorgeous 2011 continues the succession of impressive wines made by this estate since it was acquired by the Decoster family. Beautiful black raspberry, blueberry and black currant fruit notes intermixed with a touch of spring flowers emerge from a wine with excellent balance, nicely integrated acidity, tannin, alcohol and wood, and a healthy saturated ruby/purple color.

This full-bodied, long, captivating La Fleur Cardinale is already drinking well, and should continue to do so for 10-12 years. It is a sleeper of the vintage. This property has been on a qualitative hot streak since it was acquired by the Decoster family nearly a decade ago. Consultants are the impressive Jean-Philippe Fort (from Michel Rolland’s laboratory) and Jean-Luc Thunevin.
Robert Parker Wine Advocate #212 Apr 2014

The Story

Chateau Fleur Cardinale

Producer

Chateau Fleur Cardinale

Château Fleur Cardinale, a St-Emilion Grand Cru estate, has a long history, yet it was only after its purchase by Parisians Alain and Claude Asséo that it began estate bottling. Previously, virtually all the wine had been sold off in bulk to négociants. They replanted much of the vineyards, as well as totally renovating the winery and chai. They also engaged the services of the ubiquitous Michel Rolland.

Its 10-hectare vineyard is located east of St-Emilion on a plateau overlooking the small village of St-Etienne-de Lise. The soil is rich in limestone and the vineyard is superbly sited with a south-east aspect. The wine is a blend of 70% Merlot, 15% Cabernet Franc and 15% Cabernet Sauvignon. Vinification takes place in a mixture of temperature-controlled, cement and stainless steel tanks, and the wine is then matured in oak barriques (30-40% new) for 15 months. It is bottled unfiltered.

Grape

Cab.Sauvignon Blend

Cab.Sauvignon Blend

Cabernet Sauvignon lends itself particularly well in blends with Merlot. This is actually the archetypal Bordeaux blend, though in different proportions in the sub-regions and sometimes topped up with Cabernet Franc, Malbec, and Petit Verdot.

In the Médoc and Graves the percentage of Cabernet Sauvignon in the blend can range from 95% (Mouton-Rothschild) to as low as 40%. It is particularly suited to the dry, warm, free- draining, gravel-rich soils and is responsible for the redolent cassis characteristics as well as the depth of colour, tannic structure and pronounced acidity of Médoc wines. However 100% Cabernet Sauvignon wines can be slightly hollow-tasting in the middle palate and Merlot with its generous, fleshy fruit flavours acts as a perfect foil by filling in this cavity.

In St-Emilion and Pomerol, the blends are Merlot dominated as Cabernet Sauvignon can struggle to ripen there - when it is included, it adds structure and body to the wine. Sassicaia is the most famous Bordeaux blend in Italy and has spawned many imitations, whereby the blend is now firmly established in the New World and particularly in California and  Australia.

Region

St-Emilion

St Emilion is one of Bordeaux's largest producing appellations, producing more wine than Listrac, Moulis, St Estèphe, Pauillac, St Julien and Margaux put together. St Emilion has been producing wine for longer than the Médoc but its lack of accessibility to Bordeaux's port and market-restricted exports to mainland Europe meant the region initially did not enjoy the commercial success that funded the great châteaux of the Left Bank. 

St Emilion itself is the prettiest of Bordeaux's wine towns, perched on top of the steep limestone slopes upon which many of the region's finest vineyards are situated. However, more than half of the appellation's vineyards lie on the plain between the town and the Dordogne River on sandy, alluvial soils with a sprinkling of gravel. 

Further diversity is added by a small, complex gravel bed to the north-east of the region on the border with Pomerol.  Atypically for St Emilion, this allows Cabernet Franc and, to a lesser extent, Cabernet Sauvignon to prosper and defines the personality of the great wines such as Ch. Cheval Blanc.  

In the early 1990s there was an explosion of experimentation and evolution, leading to the rise of the garagistes, producers of deeply-concentrated wines made in very small quantities and offered at high prices.  The appellation is also surrounded by four satellite appellations, Montagne, Lussac, Puisseguin and St. Georges, which enjoy a family similarity but not the complexity of the best wines.

St Emilion was first officially classified in 1954, and is the most meritocratic classification system in Bordeaux, as it is regularly amended. The most recent revision of the classification was in 2012

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