2020 Château Cantemerle, Haut-Médoc, Bordeaux

2020 Château Cantemerle, Haut-Médoc, Bordeaux

Product: 20208004338
 
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2020 Château Cantemerle, Haut-Médoc, Bordeaux

Description

Cabernet Sauvignon 58%, Merlot 29%, Cabernet Franc 7%, Petit Verdot 6%

I recall tasting the 2000 vintage with Philippe Dambrine at the château. This is his final vintage here, but the comparison is resonant. Both vintages here have something in common (notwithstanding the rather larger yield in ’00): they are warm, dry and rounded, with a silky, sandy texture. Cantemerle is always a wine for pleasure, combining an elegant classic Bordeaux structure with succulence. The vivid purity of the vintage adds a gentle floral top-note. This is a delicious and worthy valedictory statement from Philippe.

Drink 2026-2040

Mark Pardoe MW, Wine Director, Berry Bros. & Rudd (May 2021)

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Critics reviews

Jane Anson93/100
Neal Martin, Vinous86-88/100
Wine Advocate88-90/100
Jancis Robinson MW16+/20
James Suckling93-94/100
Michael Schuster91-93/100
Jane Anson93/100
This has the tight tannins of the vintage with damson and an edge of bitter dark chocolate, but it is a success all the same - confident, succulent, elegant and classic. Philippe Dambrine retires as director of the estate as of this vintage, replaced by Laure Canu from Château Angélus. A yield of 45hl/ha, 40% new oak, 6% Petit Verdot completes the blend.

Drink 2028 - 2042

Jane Anson, Decanter.com (May 2021) Read more
Neal Martin, Vinous86-88/100
The 2020 Cantemerle is tightly wound on the nose, requiring a lot of coaxing to reveal the blackberry, cedar and tobacco scents; a touch of iodine emerges with aeration. The palate is medium-bodied with sappy black and red fruit, a light licorice touch on the back palate and a solid, slightly monochromatic finish. Hopefully this will develop more personality and race by the time of bottling, but given the potential of this fine estate, I was expecting more.

Drink from 2026 to 2040

Neal Martin, Vinous (May 2021) Read more
Wine Advocate88-90/100
Deep purple-black in color, the 2020 Cantemerle reveals a great intensity and purity of blackcurrant cordial, stewed plums and black raspberry scents, plus hints of dried Provence herbs, Indian spices and woodsmoke. The medium-bodied palate delivers approachable chewy tannins and just enough freshness to support the savory-laced black fruit flavors, finishing with an herbal lift.

Drink from 2024 to 2036

Lisa Perrotti-Brown MW, Wine Advocate (May 2021) Read more
Jancis Robinson MW16+/20
Cask sample taken 6 April. 58% Cabernet Sauvignon, 29% Merlot, 7% Cabernet Franc, 6% Petit Verdot. 40% new oak. Dark purple crimson with black core. Distinctive aroma that brings together not just cassis and damson but also the more lifted scent of Cab Franc and Petit Verdot. Gently leafy (not unripe) and with a light floral note like peony. Really pretty. On the palate, darker fruited but also with a marked dark-chocolate-like sweetness. Smooth, chewy tannins. Lots of flavour and a fruit and oak sweetness on the finish (though of course it is as dry wine), as well as the more savoury side from the dry tannins. Well integrated even now.

Dink 2025 - 2032

Julia Harding MW, JancisRobinson.com (April 2021) Read more
James Suckling93-94/100
Lots or richness and fruit for this winery, showing blackberry, blackcurrant and dark-chocolate character. It’s full and layered. Well done.

James Suckling (April 2021) Read more
Michael Schuster91-93/100
A red-fruit fresh, vivid, and minerally nose; elegantly balanced medium-full wine, lively, very finely tannic, a perfectly proportioned Médoc; sweetly red- and black-fruit ripe, clear in mineral aromas, with tannins so silky as to be almost imperceptible; a lovely, rich yet restained classic style, packed with flavor, long, graceful, effortless, refreshing, and with gorgeous black-fruit sweet persistence. You sense the richness conveyed by the now old vines, planted in the early 1980s when the property was the first to be purchased by an insurance company. A great success, and likely to be great value. What a wine on which to finish a career for Philippe Dambrine, director since those early days!

Drink 2026 - 2046

Michael Schuster, The World of Fine Wine (May 2021) Read more

About this WINE

Chateau Cantemerle

Chateau Cantemerle

Ch. Cantemerle's woodland setting is amongst the most beautiful of any château in the Médoc. It is located in the far south of the region, almost on the outskirts of the city of Bordeaux. It is the first major property on the Médoc Route des Châteaux, north of Bordeaux.

Cantemerle has 94 hectares of vineyards, planted with Cabernet Sauvignon (60%), Merlot (30%), Cabernet Franc (6%) and Petit Verdot (4%). The wines are made under the guidance of consultant oenologist, Eric Boissenot, undergoing 12 months' ageing in French oak, of which 40% is new.

Cantemerle is a Cinquième Cru Classé, with approximately 400,000 bottles produced each year and a further 160,000 bottles of the property’s second wine, Les Allées de Cantemerle.

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Haut-Medoc

Haut-Medoc

Despite being as visually unprepossessing as the rest of the Médoc (despite its grandiose châteaux) this large red-wine appellation of Haut-Médoc is home to some of the world’s greatest wines. Its 4,500 hectares of vineyards form a largely continuous strip that follows the Gironde from St Seurin-de-Cadourne, just north of St Estèphe, to Blanquefort in the northern suburbs of Bordeaux.

All the great communes of the Left Bank fall within its boundaries: Margaux, St Julien, Pauillac and St Estèphe, as well as the up and coming Moulis and Listrac. These are labelled under their own, more illustrious and expensive appellation names. Châteaux labelled simply as Haut-Médoc rarely reach such heights, but nevertheless offer consistently good quality and offer some of the best value in Bordeaux.

Haut-Médoc wines tend to be firm and fine with generous fruit and a nice minerality – what many would consider ‘classic Claret’. They come from loftier vineyards and offer higher quality and more complexity than those labelled simply as ‘Médoc’. Almost all wines are a blend of the principal varieties – Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Cabernet Franc – which helps producers hedge their bets if the slightly capricious climate causes one variety to fail. Small amounts of Petit Verdot, Malbec and even Carmenère are also used.

The higher proportion of sand and gravel to the south tends to produce finer wines, while the heavier clay and gravel north of Margaux yields sturdier examples. The best Haut-Médocs are found north of Ludon, a village just below Margaux. These include five classified Growths: Third Growth Ch. La Lagune, underperforming Fourth Growth Ch. la Tour Carnet and Fifth Growths Ch. Cantemerle, Ch. Camensac and Ch. Belgrave – as well as a number of fine Cru Bourgeois. Ageing ability varies but the lesser wines are usually delicious after three to four years, lasting around a decade, while the Cru Classés have a drinkability window of around six to 15 years.

Recommended Châteaux (labelled as Haut-Médoc): Ch. Beaumont, Ch. Belgrave, Ch. Cantemerle, Ch. Peyrabon

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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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