Tuesday, 10 November 2015

HV Wines: Haut-Chaigneau Lalande de Pomerol 2010 France

I have recently written about a wine from this appellation, with great surprise. But Chateau Haut Chaigneau really jumps out with grace and splendour. For quite some time I am on the hunt for Bordeaux wines that hit the mark in all aspects technically and who are super affordable. This one here has just done that and better.

The down side of this is that once people will discover it and so do more critics, it will undoubtedly make the price change, so for those looking for a stunt this Christmas and stay well in budget here is your breakdown.
Lalande de Pomerol
Lalande de Pomerol finds itself to the north of Pomerol divided by the river Barbanne. Close to 200 Chateaux produce wine in Lalande de Pomerol but it was only from 1925 that they started to use their own labels, and it is only really from the 2000 vintage that there has been more attention drawn to this appellation, as all the time before it was living in the shadow of its bigger brother Pomerol.

Although on the matter of size, Lalande de Pomerol is much bigger than Pomerol itself, also the terroir has many similarities with Neac the prime spot in Lalande de Pomerol. Most top Chateaux from this appellation are set in Neac. The soils are clay, gravel and sand much found in Pomerol so the wines here have great similarities and even some of them do challenge bigger boys from Pomerol and Saint Emilion as Merlot is here as well the most used grape.

The best vintages from Lalande de Pomerol are: 2012 2010 2009 2008 2006 2005 2001 and 2000. There some exceptions in older years but it is truly from 2000 that these wines have been rising and shining. This is due to the change in vision and the realisation that here to  great wines can be made.
And that is where we come to Chateau Haut Chaigneau 2010.

Chateau Haut Chaigneau 2010
A Chateau with 20 hectares of vines with an average age of 40 years, with  sandy-clay terroir, within distance of Pomerol appellation (it actually literally annexed Pomerol appellation). The row of vines are very well maintained and have good drainage which permit the vine to go and hunt for food which makes the vine work and so produce better (they call it also stress hydrique). Two grape varieties are used here of which Merlot the main player, there is also Cabernet franc.

All harvest is done by hand to control a vigorous selection of the grape quality. Maturing in new and partly new oak (oak that is no older then 2 years) for about 12 to 14 months.
The house is under control of Pascal Chatonnet, a global consultant and a man that knows too well how to get the best out of any given terroir. Here he follows in the footsteps of his father and brings to the table a wine, challenging many of the well known names around.

The characteristics of the 2010 vintage have permitted to give the grapes a health factor above norm. Bringing all known characters the Merlot and the Cabernet grape give, that is plenty of beautiful dark and red fruits, vegetables characters and herbs....

Chaigneau's facts;

Size: 20 hectares

Exposure: North-south

Geological: A sandy-clay soil with traces of iron oxide, shaped and drained plots

Grapes: Merlot 90% Cabernet-Franc 10%

Average age of the vines:  40 years old

Porte-greffe (rootstock): 196/17, Riparia, 3309 C, 101-14

Viticulture: Traditional

Harvest: Only harvest when grapes are at their optimal for each plot and each grape.

Maturing: 12 months on oak (of which 1/3 new oak and 2/3 used oak one year old of one wine (either Merlot or Cabernet franc), all happening in an underground cellar, ideal for ageing.

Yields: 35 hectolitres per hectare for the first and second wine.

Production: 70,000 bottles in 2010

Alcohol: 14%

Price: €17 £12.35 $18.50

Visual:  Beautiful dark ruby colour, very masculine but with flair. perfect transparency, and strong legs, very elegant, imposing and brave. beautiful presentation.

Nose: a straight deep hit of black and red fruits, (blackberries, blackcurrants. cherries), deep spices and beautifully balanced oak. constant layers of fruits and spices appear each time you swirl and smell, rich and indicating great pleasure, very masculine and grown up.

Palate: the blow of fruits all over the palate is overwhelming but all done with control and professionalism, the tannins sit good even a slight tightness (indicating years to enjoy), the acid are very well balanced between the aromas. the mid-palate is superb and the wine last for a long time.

Conclusion: This is a discovery and a wine that gives joy and a smile, as for the price you pay, you get a wine in the calibre of any great Pomerol or Saint-Emilion for that matter. Here you get a wine that is superb value for money and that will give you full and plenty of pleasure. I have very few words to say on such a wonderful wine, just go and enjoy this little gem.

Score: I rate this wine 18.5/20 93/100

Until next time please do drink responsibly

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