2016 Château Teyssier, Montagne-St Emilion, Bordeaux
Roger Voss, www.winemag.com (January 2019)
About this WINE
Vines have been cultivated at Teyssier in the St Emilion satellite AOC of Montagne-St-Emilion since the 15th century. Today there are 50ha of vineyard surrounding a charming 18th-Century Chartreuse.
Antoine Darquey is the fourth generation of his family to take the reins at the property, arriving in 1993 when the estate was in perilous condition. Since 2008 he has been joined by his cousin Thomas Durand Teyssier who took on the role of technical director.
Teyssier’s terroir is very similar to that found in St Emilion itself, with rolling slopes of clay and limestone. Vineyards are planted with 90% merlot and 10% Cabernet Franc. The proportion of Cabernet Franc will be increased to 15% by the 2025 vintage as they value its elegance and contribution to complexity in the blend.
Initially working with renowned consultant Michel Rolland, they have invested and finessed their approach to deliver increasing success. Since 2014 Stephane Dereroncourt has taken over from Michel continuing the drive for quality and a move towards organic viticulture with HVE-3 certification (environmental farming).
Thomas vinifies parcel by parcel, taking account of soil type and age of vines. When it comes to the blending this ensures the flexibility to make the best wine they can. New oak is used modestly and judiciously, the objective being to show off the quality of the fruit rather than expensive casks.
These are excellent quality, great value wines with soul which put many similarly priced wines from neighbouring St. Emilion firmly in the shade.
Montagne-St Emilion is a red-wine appellation on the Right Bank of Bordeaux.
It is the largest of St Emilion’s so-called “satellite” appellations, the others being Lussac, Puisseguin and St Georges. The commune sits to the north of St Emilion proper; the vineyards of Pomerol lie to the west.
Among the leading producers here are Vieux Château Saint André – the home estate of the Berrouet family, best known for making the wine at Petrus – and Château Teyssier, led by straight-talking Antoine Darquey.
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.
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Ch. Teyssier is a true favourite among our customers, delivering huge quality at its price point; we’re very proud to have it in our range. The vineyard dates to the 15th century, lying on a clay-limestone hillside in the satellite appellation of Montagne-St Emilion, northeast of the medieval village of St Emilion. The 2016, a blend of Merlot and Cabernet Franc, is rich and ripe with violet, plum and tobacco notes. Enjoy it with a Sunday roast or grilled meats.
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