Deep colour but not black. Appetising dry red and black fruit with a soft, ripe appeal. Very easy, softly juicy palate. This is not tha last word in concentration, but perhaps as a result the tannins, which are scratchy on the finish, are pretty well matched by cushiony fruit. Dry all the same. Rating: 89-89 L&S (Apr 2012)
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The 2011 may turn out to be even better than the 2009 Sociando Maillet. Its opaque purple color is not unusual for a young Sociando Maillet, but the creme de cassis, graphite and floral characteristics impressively saturate the olfactory senses. Medium to full-bodied with excellent purity, texture and length as well as remarkably sweet tannins, this wine should drink nicely for 10-15 years. 2012 - 2017 Rating: 90-93 Robert Parker, The Wine Advocate, www.RobertParker.com (Apr 2012)
The Sociando Mallet has a pleasant , earthy bouquet that is natural and shows none of those green elements that can sometimes bridle young Sociando. The palate is medium-bodied with dusty tannins over a decent core of dry, earthy black fruit. Foursquare on the finish. Rating: 86-88 Neal Martin, www.robertparker.com (Apr 2012)
This barrel sample has a dark and savoury character, showing a really rich fruit substance, with a plum and cherry character to the fruit profile. It seems ripe, broad and yet pure. There is a lovely depth to it on the palate, surprisingly rich for the vintage, with an impressive finesse to the tannins, and delightfully fresh acidity. For a difficult year I find this very convincing. Destined to be a long-lived and very drinkable Sociando in time. Rating: 16-17 Chris Kissack, www.thewinedoctor.com (Apr 2012)
Good, Pauillac-style fruit, very good length and tannins. Drink 2016-2025. Rating: 16.5 www.decanter.com (Apr 2012)
Moves a bit too quickly, with cherry skin, plum pit and blueberry notes that soon give way to a lightly firm, woodsy edge on the finish. Rating: 85-88 James Molesworth, The Wine Spectator (Apr 2012)
Rating: 89 Tim Atkin MW, www.timatkin.com (Apr 2012)
Deep dark crimson. Creamy and dark fruited and a savoury freshness on the nose and some oak char and a touch of overripeness. Rich, full in the mouth. Pretty highly extracted and a bit tough. Finishes a little bitter. Disappointing at the end but maybe it will soften up in time. 2016-2021 Rating: 15.5 Julia Harding MW, www.JancisRobinson.com (Apr 2012)
Château Sociando Mallet
The first village as you travel north out of Saint Estèphe is Saint-Suerin-de-Cadourne, home to a small cluster of cru bourgeois, not the least of which is Château Sociando-Mallet commanding fine views over the River Gironde to the east of the village. In the early 17th Century it was the estate of a Basque family called Sossiondo, the other half of the name coming from naval captain Achille Mallet who married the owner in 1831. As with many Bordeaux estates, the late 19th and early 20th Centuries were not kind to Sociando-Mallet, so when local merchant Jean Gautreau happened upon it in 1969 it was in a sorry estate. Realising the potential, Jean bought the estate and owns it to this day. With only 5ha under vine, no cellar and the buildings in decay he had a lot to do. Vineyards were replanted, and plots were purchased from neighbours – today Sociando-Mallet, on various plots around the village spreads to 85ha – and the château and winery were refurbished and restored. The amount of Merlot in the blend has slowly risen over the years and now accounts for 47% of the vineyard alongside 48% Cabernet Sauvignon with a little Cabernet Franc; average vine age about 30 years. The wines of Sociando-Mallet were once relatively under-priced but demand for the wine has risen as more people have come to know it, although being from outside the famous Haut-Médoc villages and the 1855 classification keeps the price under some control. Quite robust wines.
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