In theory, an organic wine from 100% Merlot should not do well in 2021, and yet this has an enticing ruby colour with violet reflections and is delicate and nuanced wtihout being austere or diluted. Defintely a success, with raspberry and blackberry fruit, and a mouthwatering finish. Unlike most of the Francs appellation, the 12ha Marsau vienyard is made up of clay-gravel soils rather than limestone, giving a different more powerful flavour profile, and after losing 80% of the crop to frost in 2018 they rethought their growing method, now going for no-till with cover crops all year. Has helped keep soil temperatures manageable in the hot years, and increased competition this year, allowed water stress to develop by the end of August - a few weeks later than normal, but still having an impact on flavour concentration. Harvest 28 September to October 6, vinified with no added sulphur, natural yeasts, 3.6ph.
Drink 2024 - 2028
Jane Anson, janeanson.com (May 2022)
A pure merlot with black-olive and blackberry aromas and flavors with a medium body, creamy tannins and a juicy finish. All here.
James Suckling, jamessuckling.com (May 2022)
About this WINE
This excellent little property in the obscure Côtes de Francs is producing delicious wines.
Owned by the president of Bordeaux negociant, Dourthe, Jean-Marie Chadronnier, Chateau Marsau has been heralded by Robert Parker as "The Petrus of the Côtes de Francs".
Lying at the top of a hill, north-east of the village of Francs, the vineyards benefit from an excellent microclimate, with exceptional sunshine hours. The soils are predominantly clay which suits the Merlot grape variety, with which 85% of the vineyards are planted, very well.
The character of the wines is classic right-bank with soft, round, elegant fruit and fabulous balance.
Cotes de Francs
Francs-Côtes de Bordeaux, formerly known as the Côtes de Francs, is an appellation located on the Right Bank of Bordeaux. It is permitted to make red wines as well as dry and sweet white wines.
It forms part of the Côtes de Bordeaux network of appellations along with Blaye, Cadillac, Castillon and Sainte-Foy.
One of the leading producers in Francs-Côtes de Bordeaux is Château Marsau, the home estate of Anne-Laurence and Mathieu Chadronnier; Mathieu is the president of major négociant CVBG.
The most widely planted grape in Bordeaux and a grape that has been on a relentless expansion drive throughout the world in the last decade. Merlot is adaptable to most soils and is relatively simple to cultivate. It is a vigorous naturally high yielding grape that requires savage pruning - over-cropped Merlot-based wines are dilute and bland. It is also vital to pick at optimum ripeness as Merlot can quickly lose its varietal characteristics if harvested overripe.
In St.Emilion and Pomerol it withstands the moist clay rich soils far better than Cabernet grapes, and at it best produces opulently rich, plummy clarets with succulent fruitcake-like nuances. Le Pin, Pétrus and Clinet are examples of hedonistically rich Merlot wines at their very best. It also plays a key supporting role in filling out the middle palate of the Cabernet-dominated wines of the Médoc and Graves.