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Undeniably, Talbot is one of the most famous Médoc wines. This fine reputation is no doubt due to a mysterious combination of factors, such as the size of its vineyard, nearly one hundred hectares, and the regularity of its wine. Nearly a century in the same family, the name Talbot is concise and hard-hitting, easy to pronounce in all languages and a part of our history… However, the first thing that makes Talbot popular is the wonderful nature of its wine.
‘For many, Talbot embodies the ideal Saint Julien, a generous bouquet, extremely stable and dependable during aging,’ emphasize Bettane and Desseauve in their Guide to French Wines.
It’s true. A champion of longevity, even when young Talbot is pleasant and rounded, ever distinguished by silky, mild and very civilized tannins. Talbot possesses an extraverted nature. It’s never withdrawn into itself, and has the courtesy of being in a good mood every day. It’s a racy wine, with complex marks of Havana and licorice, classically delicious without ever the slightest hint of austerity.
Legend relates that the name of this imposing estate originates with Connétable Talbot, a famous English warrior, defeated at the battle of Castillon 1453. Talbot is one of the Medoc’s oldest estates, its glory never tainted. Through the years it has been fortunate enough to remain in good hands. The owners are Nancy Bignon- Cordier and her family. They are the fourth generation of Cordiers to manage this Saint-Julien fourth classified growth.
On the shore of an ocean of vines among its park’s tall trees, one catches sight of Château Talbot in the distance from the plateau of Saint-Julien-Beychevelle.
The estate has a rich history. Its name originates with Connétable Talbot, a famous English warrior, governor of Guyenne, defeated at the battle of Castillon in 1453.
In 1855, at the time of the Médoc and Graves growth classifications ordered by Emperor Napoléon III, Château Talbot was ranked fourth classified growth of Saint-Julien. For several decades it belonged to the Marquis of Aux. In 1917 Désiré Cordier acquired it. His son Georges, then his grandson, Jean, followed him at the head of the estate. Under their guidance, Talbot became one of the most famous growths in the Bordeaux region.
Upon the death of Jean Cordier during the autumn of 1993 his daughters, Lorraine and Nancy, took over the reins of Talbot. Enriched with the still vivid memory of knowledge and experience of past generations, which preceded them, Lorraine and Nancy formed a team that for more than 15 years animated this Grand Cru with all the talent and respect that it merited.
Spring 2011 brought sad news – that of the untimely passing away of Lorraine Cordier. Today, Nancy Bignon Cordier and her husband, Jean-Paul Bignon, pursue the history of Talbot; a long history which has always united with passion the destiny of a family to that of a vineyard.
Where the 1945 represents sophistication, nuance and classic character, the 1947 stands for richness, robustness and succulence. Spring was delayed that year, which meant a late start to the growing season. The summer warmed up towards fall and the abundant sunshine caused the grapes to ripen very quickly. Daytime temperatures ranged between 35 and 38°C. The crop was finally harvested in almost tropical conditions, when a storm ravaged Bordeaux on September 19 and 20.
Fortunately, a large percentage of the grapes had already been harvested. The grapes were unusually hot during picking and the volatile acids caused problems for many vineyards during fermentation. The end result was an absolutely extraordinary vintage, which turned out magnificent, particularly on the Right Bank and in Sauternes. Even young, these reds were exceptionally drinkable. Their life cycle, on the other hand, has been surprisingly varied. The wines of Pomerol and Saint-Émilion proved superior to the Médocs and Graves. The supreme wine of this vintage is most certainly Château Cheval Blanc, which, in terms of mouthfeel, is perhaps the greatest wine of the entire 20th century. Why the White Horse was so successful that year is a mystery. Unlike what happened to so many others, the White Horse did not suffer from an excess of volatile acids.
Everything from vineyard microclimate to production have been offered as explanations. Because the weather was unusually warm, there were no humid morning mists in the vineyards, limiting conditions for the formation of natural yeasts that increase volatility. The heat also killed the natural yeasts and the amount was generally lower than normal. Fermentation was carried out in small concrete tanks, which provided effective insulation against external heat and maintained sufficiently low temperatures, thus preventing the formation of volatile acids. Another very interesting aspect of the production of Cheval Blanc was its maturation for 5 to 10 years in old barrels; This was because new oak barrels were not available after the depression and war years. In all its glory, the 1947 Cheval Blanc caricatures modern winemaking as an incredible example of the heights that can be reached without the aid of technology. In addition to the Cheval, the Pétrus and the Lafleur are vintage gems.