Chateau Coutet St. Emilion 2016
Varietal Composition: 60% Merlot, 30% Cabernet Franc, 3% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 7% Malbec
Critical AcclaimAll Vintages
In the same family for four centuries, this estate is now run organically. A combination of mainly Merlot and Cabernet Franc gives structure and perfumed black fruits that have combined into a dense while balanced wine. Acidity and freshness are developing within the structure.
There’s a very bright red-plum and boysenberry edge here with abundant red berries, following to the palate and delivering a punchy, assertive and crunchy young red. A blend of 60 per cent merlot, 30 per cent bouchet (cabernet franc), 7 per cent pressac (malbec) and three per cent cabernet sauvignon.
Château Coutet (not to be confused with the Coutet in Barsac) is located in the heart of Saint-Emilion, about half a kilometre away from the village. It has belonged to the David-Beaulieu family since 1601 (14 generations). However, the presence of old ruins, wild tulips and Eastern Gladiolus found in the vineyard suggest that the property has been making wines since the Roman times.
The vineyard is next to some of the most prestigious properties, including Château Angelus (1er Grand Cru Classé “A”), Château Canon , Beauséjour-Ducot or even Beauséjour-Dufau-Lagarosse (all 1er Grand Cru Classé “B”). In fact, Coutet used to be a Grand Cru Classé in 1955 (but it no longer is).
One of specificities of Coutet is that it has been practicing organic viticulture as long as they’ve been making wine. Although the estate has only been certified organic since 2013, it is one of the very few vineyards in France that can claim to always carry organic practices (there’s only 58 of them today).
The property is 16 hectares in size (40 acres) of which 12 hectares is planted with vines. It is split in three plots – the Saint-Martin Plateau (on top of the hill), the Côte de Franc (on the slope) and the foot of the slope. The remaining 4 hectares is covered in parcs and woods where a unique biodiversity lives, rare species of flowers, even orchids and the myriad of insects and birds that come with it.
The vineyard has no traces of pesticides, chemical fertilizers or herbicides and is thus naturally organic. Minimum intervention in the vineyard and cellar. Average age of the vines is 38 years old, but some of the oldest vines are a century old. Horses are used to plow some of the oldest plots in the vineyards All grapes are hand harvested. Use of indigenous yeast found naturally in the vineyard. After the natural alcoholic fermentation, the wine is aged in 20% new French oak barrels.
Estate grown and bottled. Certified Organic. 4,000 cases produced annually.
Marked by its historic fortified village—perhaps the prettiest in all of Bordeaux, the St-Émilion appellation, along with its neighboring village of Pomerol, are leaders in quality on the Right Bank of Bordeaux. These Merlot-dominant red wines (complemented by various amounts of Cabernet Franc and/or Cabernet Sauvignon) remain some of the most admired and collected wines of the world.
St-Émilion has the longest history in wine production in Bordeaux—longer than the Left Bank—dating back to an 8th century monk named Saint Émilion who became a hermit in one of the many limestone caves scattered throughout the area.
Today St-Émilion is made up of hundreds of independent farmers dedicated to the same thing: growing Merlot and Cabernet Franc (and tiny amounts of Cabernet Sauvignon). While always roughly the same blend, the wines of St-Émilion vary considerably depending on the soil upon which they are grown—and the soils do vary considerably throughout the region.
The chateaux with the highest classification (Premier Grand Cru Classés) are on gravel-rich soils or steep, clay-limestone hillsides. There are only four given the highest rank, called Premier Grand Cru Classés A (Chateau Cheval Blanc, Ausone, Angélus, Pavie) and 14 are Premier Grand Cru Classés B. Much of the rest of the vineyards in the appellation are on flatter land where the soils are a mix of gravel, sand and alluvial matter.
Great wines from St-Émilion will be deep in color, and might have characteristics of blackberry liqueur, black raspberry, licorice, chocolate, grilled meat, earth or truffles. They will be bold, layered and lush.
One of the world’s most classic and popular styles of red wine, Bordeaux-inspired blends have spread from their homeland in France to nearly every corner of the New World. Typically based on either Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot and supported by Cabernet Franc, Malbec and Petit Verdot, the best of these are densely hued, fragrant, full of fruit and boast a structure that begs for cellar time. Somm Secret—Blends from Bordeaux are generally earthier compared to those from the New World, which tend to be fruit-dominant.