2021 Château Meyney, St Estèphe, Bordeaux
The 2021 Meyney has a lovely bouquet with floral-tinged red berry fruit, opening nicely with aeration. The palate is medium-bodied with fresh red berry fruit laced with oyster shell and spice. Fine build towards a menthol-tinged finish, winemaker Anne La Nour has conjured a very commendable Saint-Estèphe from a tricky growing season. If release prices match your wallet, I'd stick a case (or two) in the cellar.
Neal Martin, vinous.com, (May 2022)
Offering up aromas of cassis, blackberries, spices and creamy new oak, the 2021 Meyney is medium to full-bodied, ample and fleshy, with lively acids, powdery tannins and an impressively rich, textural profile for the vintage. It's a blend of 54% Cabernet Sauvignon, 34% Merlot and 12% Petit Verdot.
William Kelley, Wine Advocate (Apr 2022)
Cask sample. Excellent depth of flavour and ripeness. Sappy with no skinniness. Really no sign that this was a difficult vintage. Complete. Fresh with ripe tannins dominated by vibrant, ripe fruit. It even has some impressive persistence. It’s not super-ripe but is certainly ripe enough.
Drink 2027 - 2042
James Lawther, jancisrobinson.com (May 2022)
This has tannins, grip and plenty of character. Majors on blueberry and raspberry fruit, dips through the mid palate but enjoyable, one to look out for, with smoked caramel notes from the oak. Tasted twice. 44hl/h yield. Harvest September 24 to October 8. Anne la Naour technical director. Hubert de Bouard consultant.
Drink 2024 - 2034
Jane Anson, janeanson.com (May 2022)
A pretty wine with currant, cherry and some spices, such as nutmeg. Subtle this year. Medium body.
James Suckling, jamessuckling.com (May 2022)
About this WINE
Château Meyney occupies a prime position in St Estèphe, with a single 51-hectare parcel of vines on a sloping rise next to Ch. Montrose and overlooking the Gironde estuary.
Ch. Meyney also benefits from a distinctive array of soil types which together provide ideal conditions for Cabernet Sauvignon (55%), Merlot (30%) and a generous share of Petit Verdot (15%) – this latter giving the wines their attractive, spicy signature.
In her book Inside Bordeaux, Jane Anson writes that she considers Ch. Meyney to be worthy of fifth growth classification by today’s standards.
Vines were planted at the site of Ch. Meyney in 1662, making it one of the oldest vineyards in the Médoc. Originally part of a convent, it has had only three owners since then, the latest being CA Grands Crus, a subsidiary of the Crédit Agricole Group.
They purchased Meyney in 2004 along with Ch. Grand-Puy Ducasse and a number of others. Anne Le Naour came in as Technical Director, and valuable improvements were made in both the vineyard and the cellars.
Ch. Meyney produces a second wine, Prieur de Meyney.
Vines are planted on a favourable sloping rise composed of gravel, sand, limestone and a deep layer of blue clay, the latter principally planted with Merlot and Petit Verdot. Being near the estuary, the vineyard is largely protected from frosts. The average age of the vines is 35-40 years, with fruit from the younger vines typically used for the second wine.
Grapes are sorted twice, first in the vineyard and again in the winery, and then fermented in vats. Larger vats have been replaced with a range of smaller sizes to enable more individual plots to be vinified separately. The grand vin is aged for 15 months in 30% new French oak barrels; the second wine, made with fruit from younger vines, typically sees 10–15% new oak.
St Estèphe is the northernmost of the most important communes of the Médoc and borders Pauillac on its southernmost border, with only a gully and stream separates it from Ch. Lafite. To the north lies the Bas-Médoc.
St Estèphe is defined by the depth of its gravel, which is ubiquitous but of varying depths and occasionally very shallow, when clay predominates. This keeps the soil cooler and wetter than its counterparts so that the wines can appear fresh in lighter vintages, but superbly successful in hot, dry years.
The best châteaux in the south of the commune have the deepest soil and the thickest gravel. Cos d'Estournel has an exceptional terroir with its vineyards being located on a south-facing ridge of gravel with excellent drainage.
St Estèphe is the least gravelly of main Médoc communes and in the north of the commune the vineyards are heavier and more clay-based leading to a rustic style of wine being produced.
The wines can appear austere in youth with a discernable ferric note at some châteaux, but the best typically display good depth of colour, pronounced acidity an tannins in youth and are exceptionally long-lived. At their best, they are the equal of almost any Bordeaux. The well-regarded St Estèphe co-operative controls the production of about half the appellation.
Cos (Ch. Cos d'Estournel), Ch. Montrose, Ch. Calon-Ségur, Ch. Lafon-Rochet, Ch. Les Ormes de Pez, Ch. Beau-Site, Ch. Cos Labory, Ch. Phélan-Ségur
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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Cabernet Sauvignon 54%, Merlot 34%, Petit Verdot 12%
Although next door to Montrose, with the same proximity to the Gironde, Meyney’s soils are very different, notably a deep plug of clay. There’s a high proportion of Petit Verdot, planted on a poor-draining plot near the river. But this gives Meyney its signature. And it is to the fore in the bouquet of the 2021, with lots of juicy blue fruits and its characteristic sense of charred meat. The palate is sturdy and complete; it is honest and true to its roots. Drink 2024-2035.
Our score: 16/20
Berry Bros. & Rudd, April 2022
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