Red, Ready, but will keep

2009 Ch. Gracia, St Emilion

2009 Ch. Gracia, St Emilion

Red | Ready, but will keep | Chateau Gracia | Code:  30275 | 2009 | France > Bordeaux > St-Emilion | Cab.Sauvignon Blend | Medium-Full Bodied, Dry | 15.0 % alcohol

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Scores and Reviews

The Wine Advocate

98/100

The Wine Advocate - The 2009 Gracia competes handsomely with the spectacular 2005 and 2000 vintages. A slightly more evolved and fleshy effort, the inky/purple-hued 2009 (75 % Merlot, 20% Cabernet Franc and 5% Cabernet Sauvignon) is a massive, thick powerhouse with 14.5% natural alcohol. Proprietor Michel Gracia often makes a wine that is similar to that of his friend, the proprietor of Ausone. Blueberry, blackberry, licorice, forest floor, smoke and graphite aromas jump from the glass of this unctuously textured, layered, multidimensional St.-Emilion. Displaying an inner core of extract (yields were only 19 hectoliters per hectare) and not a hard edge to be found, this youthful 2009 tastes more like a barrel sample than a finished wine. It will benefit from 5-10 years of cellaring and should last for 3-4 decades.
Robert M. Parker, Jr. - 29/02/2012

The Producer

Chateau Gracia

Chateau Gracia

Chateau Gracia is produces garage-style (aka vins de garage) St-Emilion wines from a 4.4-acre vineyard with microscopic yields of 18-22 hectoliters per hectare (400-550 cases)

The wines are aged in 100% new oak and bottled without fining or filtration The blend is 80-90% Merlot and the remainder, Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc.They exhibit massive fruit power and tannin as well as equally huge extract, intensity, and length.

Michel Gracia the propritor is good friends with Ausone’s Alain Vauthier, produces wines that have much in common with the lushness and concentration of Ausone.

The Grape

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.

The Region

St-Emilion

St-Emilion

St Emilion is one of Bordeaux's largest producing appellations, producing more wine than Listrac, Moulis, St Estèphe, Pauillac, St Julien and Margaux put together. St Emilion has been producing wine for longer than the Médoc but its lack of accessibility to Bordeaux's port and market-restricted exports to mainland Europe meant the region initially did not enjoy the commercial success that funded the great châteaux of the Left Bank. 

St Emilion itself is the prettiest of Bordeaux's wine towns, perched on top of the steep limestone slopes upon which many of the region's finest vineyards are situated. However, more than half of the appellation's vineyards lie on the plain between the town and the Dordogne River on sandy, alluvial soils with a sprinkling of gravel. 

Further diversity is added by a small, complex gravel bed to the north-east of the region on the border with Pomerol.  Atypically for St Emilion, this allows Cabernet Franc and, to a lesser extent, Cabernet Sauvignon to prosper and defines the personality of the great wines such as Ch. Cheval Blanc.  

In the early 1990s there was an explosion of experimentation and evolution, leading to the rise of the garagistes, producers of deeply-concentrated wines made in very small quantities and offered at high prices.  The appellation is also surrounded by four satellite appellations, Montagne, Lussac, Puisseguin and St. Georges, which enjoy a family similarity but not the complexity of the best wines.

St Emilion was first officially classified in 1954, and is the most meritocratic classification system in Bordeaux, as it is regularly amended. The most recent revision of the classification was in 2012

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