Château Caronne Ste Gemme Haut Médoc AC 1999

Château Caronne Ste Gemme Haut Médoc AC 1999
£23.00 / bottle£262.20 / case (12 bottles)

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Country: France
Grape variety: Cabernet Sauvignon
Grape variety: Merlot
Grape variety: Petit Verdot
Wine region: Bordeaux
Wine style: Smooth Elegant Reds
Wine Type: Red Wines
Wine Type: New Wines
Drink: Now to 2024
Oaked
Cork
ABV: 12.5%

Tasting Notes

I was very excited in 2015 to get my hands on the 1998 vintage of this Left Bank Bordeaux, Château Caronne Sainte Gemme Haut Médoc AC, as it's rare to find such a developed wine, drinking beautifully now and at a reasonable price. This 1999 is as good and similarly was lying in the producer's cellars, ignored by buyers for a number of years because of the originally high tannins. Several years on and those previously grippy tannins have softened to a smooth texture.

The Château dates from 1648 and has been in the hands of the Nony family since the 19th century; it is right on the border of St Julien, the sub-region of Bordeaux that is home to eleven classed growth châteaux and known for its elegant and age-worthy wines. This wine, produced from 65% Cabernet Sauvignon and 35% Merlot (no Petit Verdot for this vintage), is classic Left Bank Bordeaux, i.e. Cabernet Sauvignon-dominant so with black fruits - blackcurrant and blackberries - on the nose with a hint of pencil shavings (St Julien wines are renowned for their pencil shavings/ cedar/ cigar-box aromas).

Despite the age of this wine, the black fruits continue through on the palate and there is some vanilla and spice from the oak ageing. Sufficient tannins remain to give the wine backbone and potential for a little further ageing but they are soft and balanced by the fruit and the relatively high acidity.

It is a shame that these days most Bordeaux red wines are consumed well before they are ready; this is a rare opportunity to get hold of a wine with a few years under its belt and showing the true colours of a Cabernet Sauvignon dominant Left Bank Bordeaux. Fabulous!

Food Pairing

This is a great match for beef, lamb, goose and game; also a good match for mushrooms, hard cheeses and mild blue cheeses. The tannins have softened sufficiently for this to pair with roast turkey.

Producer's Notes

2020 comments: "soft and mellowing with a good acidity and sweetness. Perfectly mature and ready to drink. Will hold more but why not drink it !”

Original comments: "The weather:  mild and dry winter lead to a cold month of April from which the Cabernets were to suffer. May is hot and the flowering starts quite soon early June. June and July are hot and sunny but August sees some heavy rains which ruin our hopes of an exceptionnal vintage. The harvest starts by the 18 of September and is lead through a hot and sunny weather with just a shower here and there. The difference of maturity between merlots and cabernets made us interrupt the harvest a few days to the benefit of the latter.

The wine: Medium full colour, complex and balanced. Good concentration and fruit. Rather long, elegant, it shows finesse and class more than sheer power. Good grip and freshness. Nicely oaky. Above all well balanced for what it is."

Awards

Clive Coates, The Vine     Jun 2000
"Medium-full colour. Plump, positive, ripe and stylish. Just a hint of new wood. This has good depth and grip. Rather more to it than most. Shows well. Very good."

Wine Magazine     Dec 2002
"A moderate peppery nose - quite a classic claret. Tannic with ripe, spicy black fruit and long thick tannins. Excellent."

It is a shame that these days most Bordeaux red wines are consumed well before they are ready; this is a rare opportunity to get hold of a wine with a few years under its belt and showing the true colours of a Cabernet Sauvignon dominant Left Bank Bordeaux. Fabulous!

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