The 2022 Saint-Pierre was picked on 12-26 September at around 35hL/ha and matured in 48% new oak. It has an intense bouquet with black cherries, iodine and touches of blood orange. Delineated and focused.
The palate is where the action is with gorgeous svelte tannins, perfectly judged acidity, harmonious, plush but not overbearing. Velvety toward the finish, yet there is real tenderness here. It is actually reminiscent of Las Cases at the moment.
Drink 2029 - 2065
Neal Martin, Vinous.com (April 2023)
The 2022 Saint-Pierre (Saint-Julien) is superb. Dark, sumptuous and beautifully layered, Saint-Pierre is a wine of mystery. Inky dark fruit, lavender, liquorice, plum, chocolate and gravel all build as the 2022 shows off its layered, somber personality. As always, Saint-Pierre packs a tremendous punch. It's all there in the 2022.
Drink 2027 - 2047
Antonio Galloni, Vinous.com (April 2023)
The 2022 Saint-Pierre is deep garnet-purple in colour. After a swirl or two, the nose erupts with gorgeous notions of blackcurrant jelly, raspberry preserves, and baked plums, leading to suggestions of iris, fragrant earth, and black olives.
The medium to full-bodied palate has a firm, grainy texture and oodles of freshness supporting the taut, muscular black fruits, finishing long with bags of grace and perfume. This is beautiful.
Drink 2029 - 2050
Lisa Perrotti-Brown, The Wine Independent (May 2023)
Beautifully intense, grippy tannins, slate and pumice stone, crushed rocks, inky, cassis, bilberry, excellent quality and very much estate signature, this is seriously impressive, with fig, baked plum, bitter chocolate, fresh pomegranate and mandarin peel acidities.
Drink 2030 - 2048
Jane Anson, JaneAnson.com (May 2023)
A particular success for this estate, the 2022 Saint-Pierre offers up aromas of cassis, liquorice and violets, followed by a medium to full-bodied, rich and fleshy palate that's lively and sapid, with powdery structuring tannins and a brilliant finish. Its tannic weight tempers the wine's sweetness of fruit to deliver a classy, nicely balanced result.
William Kelley, Wine Advocate (April 2023)
Dark and reserved. Palate generous but structured, the tannins firm but fine and long. Good persistence. Should make old bones.
Drink 2030 - 2045
James Lawther MW, JancisRobinson.com (April 2023)
Lovely aromatic profile; floral scents, blue and black fruits, charcoal and milk chocolate. Smooth and direct but with grip, bite and balancing acidity. This has a sense of soft seriousness, not trying too hard but still delivering an enjoyable, tasty, clean, fresh wine. Well structured with liquorice spice on the finish giving nuance.
5% whole bunch fermentation. Harvest 6 - 13 September (Merlot) and 17 September (Cabernet). Ageing 14 months; 50% new barrel (225 and 500L), 45% one wine, 5% amphora. Derenoncourt consultants.
Drink 2027 - 2045
Georgina Hindle, Decanter.com (April 2023)
A real "wow" wine in the making, the 2022 Château Saint-Pierre (Saint-Julien) checks in as 80% Cabernet Sauvignon, 12% Merlot, 6% Cabernet Franc, and the rest Petit Verdot. This darker, powerful wine offers up loads of pure cassis and black cherry-like fruits and much chocolate, graphite, and lead pencil nuances.
Full-bodied, concentrated, and structured, it stays pure, impeccably balanced, and shows a real sense of elegance. The alcohol here is 13.9%, and the élevage is in 48% new French oak. Tasted twice with consistent notes.
Jeb Dunnuck, JebDunnuck.com (May 2023)
About this WINE
Château Saint-Pierre is the smallest Classified Growth in St Julien. It was ranked a Fourth Growth in 1855, but over the next century it was broken up into smaller and smaller parts. It was restored to its original holdings in 1982 by then-owner Henri Martin, proprietor of nearby Château Gloria. Today, his legacy lives on through his son-in-law Jean-Louis Triaud, and Jean-Louis’s own children.
The elegant château building looks rather classic, but it belies a surprisingly modern approach behind the scenes. Infrared photography of the vineyard allows the team to carefully plan out harvesting schedules to the level of the individual plant. This 17-hectare estate is undergoing organic conversion and holds HVE-3 certification. Viticulture follows a bespoke mix of techniques picked up from organics and biodynamics, which Jean-Louis calls “our own system”.
There have been advances in the winery, too. Instead of pumping-over once in the morning and once in the afternoon, there are small pump-overs at hourly intervals, working around the clock. Amphorae are already a fixture of the cellar, and Jean-Louis hopes to reach a 50-50 balance between amphorae and the more traditional new French oak barriques.
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 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.