2020 Château d'Armailhac, Pauillac, Bordeaux

2020 Château d'Armailhac, Pauillac, Bordeaux

Product: 20201006090
 
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2020 Château d'Armailhac, Pauillac, Bordeaux

Description

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Cabernet Sauvignon 59%, Merlot 30%, Cabernet Franc 8%, Petit Verdot 3%

The sandier soils at d’Armailhac create a wine that is more linear than its sibling (and neighbour), Mouton Rothschild. There is a plot of old vines dating back to the 1890s; the Cabernet Franc for this blend comes from here. There’s an earthy and high-toned first impression, before a bright and brambly character kicks in on the palate. Its linear precision gives a lot of pleasure, and the gravelly tannins kick in on the finish. This is a very skilfully composed wine.

Drink 2025-2040

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Critics reviews

Jane Anson93/100
Antonio Galloni, Vinous89-91/100
Neal Martin, Vinous92-94/100
Wine Advocate90-92/100
Jeb Dunnuck92-94/100
Jane Anson93/100
A little austere on the opening beats. Carving out its place more clearly alongside its two Pauillac siblings, this has some excellent sappy dark fruits, plenty of tannins and power but also elegance and confidence. This Armailac is gorgeous, lovely mid palate dept, and plenty of juicy blueberry and bilberry fruit, with lift through the finish, 3% Petit Verdot completes the blend. 50% new oak. Harvest September 7 to 29. The new cellar with be finished for the 2021 harvest, but this one was made in the temporary cellar. I really like this, it has a floral edge, a juice and freshness and sense of elegance; a good two minutes after you have stopped tasting a wave of subtle smoke comes in - the after wash of a fine gravel terroir. 50% new oak, harvest from September 7 to 29 across the three estates.

Jane Anson, Decanter.com (May 2021) Read more
Antonio Galloni, Vinous89-91/100
The 2020 d'Armailhac is bold, assertive and full of character. Inky red fruit, red plum, iron, gravel and incense all hit the palate. The tannins are a bit severe, but then again, that's Armailhac. The Cabernets seem especially expressive, in both the aromatics and the tannin structure. One of the recent developments here has been a move toward slightly longer élevage to complement fruit that is a bit more structured than in the past because of changes in farming. Tasted two times.

Drink from 2026 to 2040

Antonio Galloni, Vinous (June 2021) Read more
Neal Martin, Vinous92-94/100
The 2020 d’Armailhac, raised in 50% new oak with a planned 17-month barrel maturation, is a little deeper in color compared to the Clerc Milon. I find more complexity on the nose of blackberry, briar, cedar and pencil box aromas, less extravagant than previous vintages and more terroir-driven, perhaps. The palate is medium-bodied with fine tannins that have a little more edge than the Clerc Milon, plus there is slightly more mineralité and depth. In particular, the finish is very harmonious and fans out wonderfully. This Château d’Armailhac is a splendid wine in the making, and one of the best examples from the estate that I have tasted out of barrel.

Drink from 2025 to 2045

Neal Martin, Vinous (May 2021) Read more
Wine Advocate90-92/100
Medium to deep garnet-purple colored, the 2020 D'Armailhac strides confidently out of the glass with classic scents of cassis, warm plums and cedar chest, plus wafts of pencil lead, bay leaves and kirsch. The medium-bodied palate has a sturdy frame of chewy tannins and plenty of freshness to support the crunchy black and red fruits, finishing savory. The blend this year is 59% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot, 8% Cabernet Franc and 3% Petit Verdot, with an alcohol of 13.3%.

Drink from 2024 to 2037

Lisa Perrotti-Brown MW, Wine Advocate (May 2021) Read more
Jeb Dunnuck92-94/100
A blend of 59% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot, the balance Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot, hitting 13.2% alcohol, the 2020 Château D'Armailhac sports a vivid purple hue to go with beautiful cassis and blackberry fruits intermixed with lots of chalky minerality, toasty oak, graphite, and tobacco. It has the round, supple style of the vintage yet still brings ample tannic grip, solid mid-palate depth, and a great finish. It's beautifully done and should be drinkable with just 2-4 years of bottle age yet age just fine.

Jeb Dunnuck, jebdunnuck.com (May 2021) Read more

About this WINE

Château d'Armailhac

Château d'Armailhac

Fifth-growth property Château d’Armailhac came under the ownership of the Baron Philippe de Rothschild family in the 1930s. It has enjoyed variable fortunes since its inception in the 17th century but grew to have an enviable reputation for the quality of its wine in the early 1800s.

Today, the 73-hectare estate is managed alongside stablemates Ch. Mouton Rothschild and Ch. Clerc Milon; expertise is shared across the properties.

The vineyard is located in the in the northern part of Pauillac, and is made up of deep, gravelly soil favoured by Cabernet Sauvignon. It’s no surprise, then, that this grape dominates the planting with the rest given over to Merlot (35%), Cabernet Franc (8%) and Petit Verdot (2%). A small proportion of the vines here date back to 1890.

Harvesting is done by hand, and the grapes are sorted and destemmed.

Major renovations of the estate are underway currently with new technical facilities to be completed in time for the 2021 harvest.

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Pauillac

Pauillac

Pauillac is the aristocrat of the Médoc boasting boasting 75 percent of the region’s First Growths and with Grand Cru Classés representing 84 percent of Pauillac's production.

For a small town, surrounded by so many familiar and regal names, Pauillac imparts a slightly seedy impression. There are no grand hotels or restaurants – with the honourable exception of the establishments owned by Jean-Michel Cazes – rather a small port and yacht harbour, and a dominant petrochemical plant.

Yet outside the town, , there is arguably the greatest concentration of fabulous vineyards throughout all Bordeaux, including three of the five First Growths. Bordering St Estèphe to the north and St Julien to the south, Pauillac has fine, deep gravel soils with important iron and marl deposits, and a subtle, softly-rolling landscape, cut by a series of small streams running into the Gironde. The vineyards are located on two gravel-rich plateaux, one to the northwest of the town of Pauillac and the other to the south, with the vines reaching a greater depth than anywhere else in the Médoc.

Pauillac's first growths each have their own unique characteristics; Lafite Rothschild, tucked in the northern part of Pauillac on the St Estèphe border, produces Pauillac's most aromatically complex and subtly-flavoured wine. Mouton Rothschild's vineyards lie on a well-drained gravel ridge and - with its high percentage of Cabernet Sauvignon - can produce (in its best years) Pauillac's most decadently rich, fleshy and exotic wine.

Latour, arguably Bordeaux's most consistent First Growth, is located in southern Pauillac next to St Julien. Its soil is gravel-rich with superb drainage, and Latour's vines penetrate as far as five metres into the soil. It produces perhaps the most long-lived wines of the Médoc.

Recommended Châteaux
Ch. Lafite-Rothschild, Ch. Latour, Ch. Mouton-Rothschild, Ch. Pichon-Longueville Baron, Ch. Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande, Ch. Lynch-Bages, Ch. Grand-Puy-Lacoste, Ch, Pontet-Canet, Les Forts de Latour, Ch. Haut-Batailley, Ch. Batailley, Ch. Haut-Bages Libéral.

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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.

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