The grape mix is 75% Merlot, 20% Cabernet Sauvignon with the all-important seasoning of 5% Malbec – a stunning wine and a perennial favourite. Fermentaton takes place in concrete vats before fifteen to eighteen months in oak, half of which is new. The wine tends to be dark and intense with a luscious cherried sweetness lifted by a stony minerality and a breezy freshness.
Bourg is richly steeped in history. Situated where the rivers Garonne and Dordogne meet, it was of particular strategic importance during the long and violent 100 Years War. It is believed that the cellars of Roc de Cambes, built in the 14th century, may well have played a role as a vantage point for an attack from the rear. The area is peppered with caves which have given up their military role in favour of more passive pursuits; mushroom growing and, in the case of Roc de Cambes, wine.
Once François Mitjaville had established Tertre Rôteboeuf, it was clear that its tiny production would always be a limiting factor in terms of any economies of scale. However, expansion within the great terroirs of St-Emilion would have been nigh on impossible – unavailable and, certainly, unaffordable. Through a mutual friend, François became aware of a possible property for sale in the Côtes de Bourg – an area whose reputation was largely blighted by failure to stifle naturally prolific production.
On seeing the property, the die was cast. Roc de Cambes has a wow factor in spades and despite a high price tag in appellation terms it still offers fabulous value for money. François was hooked.
Bordeaux Vintage Report 2005 is a truly fantastic vintage with great quality across the board on both the Left and Right Banks.
The 2005 vintage became the most expected since 2000. The en primeur market was heated, and prices skyrocketed. The cold winter delayed the bud break before the hot ans dunny spring broke up. Even vegetative growth and flowering gave a perfect start to the vintage. The summer turned out to be one of the driest ever which was avoiding disaster since the weather remained reasonably warm not excessively hot as in 2003. The soil is again becoming a decisive quality factor. Gravelly areas, such as Graves, were worst affected once more. In other words, top wines are to be expected.
For short term perspective, in the next couple of years, an excellent amount of mature red Bordeaux wines will be available in the market. The vintages 2004, 2002, 1999, 1994, 1992 and 1988 offer a wide selection of enjoyable wines to be consumed immediately or at most to be stored for a short period.
As investments, the best vintages from the past 35 years are 2003, 1996, 1989, 1986 and 1982. The most certain long-term investments are Latour, La Mission Haut-Brion, Haut-Brion, Le Pin and Pétrus.
In the last 35 years, Bordeaux has undergone a substantial change in winemaking. Modern equipment and developing know-how have guaranteed more even quality. It seems that the next challenge will be handling the extreme climates including slowly global warming, which has already given hints of its effects also in Bordeaux. It is impossible to say how the Bordeaux wines will change in the next 35 years. We can only hope that their most characteristic feature, elegant aristocratic nature highlighted by unique terroir, will never fade away.