x
  • Country ranking ?

    195
  • Producer ranking ?

    1
  • Decanting time

    4h
  • When to drink

    2020-2035
  • Food Pairing

    Beef

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The Story

This single-vineyard of three hectares is situated next to Château Angelus and represents the highest manifestation of Cabernet Franc in a wine of this level from Bordeaux. Eighty per cent of the vineyard is dedicated to this variety – the rest is old-vine Merlot.

The vines were planted in the 1950’s on sandy soil over an extended ironstone layer (crasse de fer). The yield is reduced by up to three runs of green harvesting. Concentration and definition are therefore the watchwords for this benchmark wine.

The grapes are harvested at the precise moment of ripeness, handpicked into shallow trays, and after double-triage are transported by conveyors into pristine wooden vats. Vinification involves both rotational pumping and pigeage. Secondary fermentation in French oak barrels is followed by a traditional approach to ageing.

The production of LE DOME is not large at around 1,000 cases. What little exists, however is made with no expense spared in the pursuit of excellence.

VINEYARD

Location Côtes, Saint Emilion
Grid Ref 44°53'42.79"N 0°10'44.88"W
Size 3.20 hectares
Soil Sand over Crasse de Fer
Varieties Cabernet Franc: 75% Merlot 25%
Wines Le Dome

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Vintage 2019

BORDEAUX 2019 VINTAGE

When I was visiting Bordeaux early March, Corona was a threat on the horizon and France has been more concerned by a strike of the air traffic control. However, I was travelling to Bordeaux and had the chance to get some first insights to the 2019 vintage. I was very much looking forward to the “en primeur tastings” which were scheduled for March 26, 2020 but the tastings were cancelled mid-March. Immediately I contacted the different associations and wineries in Bordeaux and asked for samples.

The result was a small number of wines which arrived in Essen before the shutdown of France made shipments rather difficult. These first samples of the vintage 2019 were tasted under pristine conditions to assure a fair and equal assessment of all qualities. In fact, the samples proved right the opinion of some of Bordeaux’ leading figures. Bruno-Eugène Borie from Château Ducru-Beaucaillou sees 2019 in a line with the excellent vintages of 2016, 2010, 2009 und 2005.

Henri Lurton talks about his best vintage, along with 2016, he has ever vinified at Château Brane-Cantenac. Philippe Dhalluin from Château Mouton-Rothschild asses the vintage as rich and abundant in quality and also in quantity. After some smaller crops they came back to an average production.

Emmanuel Cruse from Château d’Issan sees that 2019 has a lot in common with 2016 yet preserving more freshness. It is a very good vintage but appearing at a very difficult time on the market. In fact, the start of this vintage was very positive. Enough precipitations during winter were retained by soils like chalk and clay. Vineyards on these water retaining soils had a huge advantage in the future growing period. With exception of a wet June, the vintage has taken advantage of a rather dry climatic condition, which prevented diseases in the vineyards to a huge extend. No chance for powdery or downy mildew. Even the heat waves were not really harming the vines as rain set in, always at the last moment but still early enough to prevent massive water stress and a slow-down of the maturity. The late physiological maturity brought a lot of alcohol, but the wines show more freshness as in the previous years.

Fabien Teitgen, Winemaker of Smith-Haut-Lafitte relates this freshness to the good acidity “due to cool night temperatures during the ripening period”. This fact is also good news for white wines. „They are the big surprise “, says Olivier Bernard of Domaine de Chevalier.

At Château Coutet in Barsac, Philippe and Aline Baly were harvesting in three passes with a total of 19 harvesting days. They judge the conditions as rather ideal: “These climatic conditions have generated a harvest whose quality is indisputably present.” Same samples made their way to Essen and I have tasted them. Some more samples are announced and will hopefully arrive during the current week. There will be a weekly update of my tasting notes, whenever samples will arrive.

Unfortunately, 2019 arrives in a difficult time, the Corona virus puts the world in fear and makes trade more and more difficult. Trade berries and new customs duties create a difficult frame for this vintage. However, we should not forget one thing: there are wonderful 2019s waiting for us, wines with ageing potential and charm which will survive every crisis.

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Latest Pro-tasting notes

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Written Notes

Medium to deep garnet-purple colored, the 2019 Le Dome is a little closed and broody to begin, unfurling to reveal a profound core of preserved plums, fruitcake, chocolate-covered cherries and mocha with nuances of star anise, Sichuan pepper and cardamom. The medium to full-bodied palate is beautifully perfumed with loads of floral notes emerging among the black fruits, framed by remarkably soft, velvety tannins and seamless freshness, finishing long and fragrant. Gorgeous wine! 96-98

  • 98p

The 2019 Le Dôme is a wine of pure and total sensuality. Far more restrained than it can be, the 2019 possesses tremendous nuance and plenty of intensity, but it is also less of a bruiser than it can be. There is so much going on. Striking Cabernet Franc inflections and structure reveal themselves with time in the glass. Vivid and wonderfully deep, Le Dôme has so much to offer for readers who can give it a few years in the cellar. 94-96p

Jonathan Maltus' 2019s are superb across the board. I imagine many readers will be drawn to the micro-cuvées, Le Carré, Le Dôme and Les Astéries, in particular, and right so. In my view, though the most impressive wine in the lineup is Teyssier because of its quality at a production level that is very hard to achieve. The growing season was hot, as it was everywhere, with rain episodes in July, August and September that helped balance things out. Frost was an issue in some of the lower-lying parcels that typically inform Teyssier and Laforge. More importantly, the decision to give the wines a bit more energy while retaining all of the richness readers have come to expect yields a range of wines that really stand out in 2019.

  • 96p

Le Dôme - this vineyard is split in different parcels situated on the right side of the slopes near Beausejour Becot and Canon, in the direction towards the village of Saint-Emilion. The first you notice when you "sniff" this barrel sample is a burst of Cabernet Franc, and there is 80% of it in the blend and 20% Merlot to support it. There is a sophisticated and very intense nose of creamy black-/blueberries with great depth, strong backbone provided by Cabernet Franc, silky texture on the palate yet high concentration and sweet, crunchy tannins. Remarkable complexity, depth and length. It's a beautiful piece of intelligent winemaking! Wow! 96-98p.

  • 98p
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Information

Origin

St Emilion, Bordeaux

Highlights

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