The 2021 Gloria is the first vintage where the vineyard farming has moved to organic viticulture (though there are no plans for certification.) It was picked from September 27 to October 9, stopping for 5 days between the Merlot and Cabernets, with a large percentage (14%) of Petit Verdot from a massal selection. It has a very pure and perfumed nose thanks to the contribution of the Petit Verdot. The palate is medium-bodied and quite dense for the vintage, displaying fine body and weight, gentle grip and a touch of graphite toward the finish. Very fine.
Drink 2027 - 2045
Neal Martin, vinous.com, (May 2022)
Cask sample. Lacks the density of top years but fruit present and tannins finely honed. A well-crafted, medium-bodied wine with attractive fruit and some persistence on the finish.
Drink 2026 - 2036
James Lawther, jancisrobinson.com (May 2022)
Charming and extroverted, the 2021 Gloria bursts with aromas of cassis, cherries, sweet berries, fresh mint and loamy soil. Medium to full-bodied, ample and fleshy, it's a lively, seamless wine that wears its heart on its sleeve. This blend of 61% Cabernet Sauvignon, 19% Merlot, 14% Petit Verdot and 6% Cabernet Franc seems likely to emerge as a sleeper of the vintage. Tasted four times.
William Kelley, Wine Advocate (Apr 2022)
I like the firmness and polish to this, with medium body, creamy tannins and a delicious finish. Racy and refined.
James Suckling, jamessuckling.com (May 2022)
Always a wine that manages to find itself on the right side of ripe, and the right side of exuberant and even in 2021 you will recognise those two skills here. This is bright, cheerful, carefully placed, enjoyable stuff with liqourice and bitter chocolate, First year organic, Jean Michel Comme consultant. Harvest September 27 to October 9.
Drink 2025 - 2036
Jane Anson, janeanson.com (May 2022)
About this WINE
Château Gloria is an unclassified St-Julien property that produces clarets that equal in quality those from the more prestigious classed growths. Henri Martin, a cooper by upbringing, took over the property in 1942 and began purchasing plots of vineyards from classed growth properties such as Gruaud-Larose, Talbot, Lagrange and Léoville-Barton. By the mid 1960s he had 50 hectares spread across the appellation. In 1982 he purchased Château St-Pierre and thus realised his lifetime ambition of owning a Grand Cru Classé property.
Henri Martin died in 1991 and Gloria is now run by his son-in-law Jean-Louis Triaud. The wine is a blend of 65% Cabernet Sauvignon, 25% Merlot, 5% Cabernet Franc and 5% Petit Verdot. It is aged in a combination of large oak foudres and small oak barrels (50% new).
Gloria produces a wine that is typically deep in colour and rich, cassis-laden and cedary on the palate. It normally needs 7-10 years of bottle age to show at its best.
St Julien is the smallest of the "Big Four" Médoc communes. Although, without any First Growths, St Julien is recognised to be the most consistent of the main communes, with several châteaux turning out impressive wines year after year.
St Julien itself is much more of a village than Pauillac and almost all of the notable properties lie to its south. Its most northerly château is Ch. Léoville Las Cases (whose vineyards actually adjoin those of Latour in Pauillac) but, further south, suitable vineyard land gives way to arable farming and livestock until the Margaux appellation is reached.
The soil is gravelly and finer than that of Pauillac, and without the iron content which gives Pauillac its stature. The homogeneous soils in the vineyards (which extend over a relatively small area of just over 700 hectares) give the commune a unified character.
The wines can be assessed as much by texture as flavour, and there is a sleek, wholesome character to the best. Elegance, harmony and perfect balance and weight, with hints of cassis and cedar, are what epitomise classic St Julien wines. At their very best they combine Margaux’s elegance and refinement with Pauillac’s power and substance.
Ch. Léoville Las Cases produces arguably the most sought-after St Julien, and in any reassessment of the 1855 Classification it would almost certainly warrant being elevated to First Growth status.
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.