Attractive lifted nose. Palate too has lift and freshness as well as lots of black berry fruit, no excess of tannin, very harmonious, long and classy finish with mineral intensity. It seems a conscious effort has been made here to step back from the 'mini-Latour' style which made very long-lived sturdy wines in the '80s and '90s - this should be enjoyable relatively early. Drinking range: 2024 - 2035 Rating: 91-92 L&S (Apr 2017)
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The 2016 Sociando Mallet has an attractive bouquet of cranberry, wild strawberry, cedar and light loamy aromas. The palate is medium-bodied with grainy tannins, though it is well balanced with a fresh, quite mineral-driven finish that has grace and charm. This is a splendid Sociando-Mallet that I suspect will meliorate with cellaring. Tasted blind at the Southwold tasting. Drinking range: 2022 - 2040 Rating: 92 Neal Martin, www.vinous.com (Aug 2020)
The 2016 Sociando-Mallet has a refulgent purple/black color. It has a very intense and rich, you might say "ambitious" bouquet with layers of small black cherries, blueberry and a touch of sloes, less tertiary than previous vintages and certainly more opulent. The palate is medium-bodied with juicy ripe tannin that almost disguise the firm structure underneath. I admire the completeness of this Sociando-Mallet, the neatly embroidered new oak and the freshness on the finish. The 2015 Sociando-Mallet did not fire on all cylinders last year, but this 2016 is totally convincing. It comes highly recommended as one of the best wines produced at this estate in the northern Médoc. This is an outstanding wine from Mon. Gartreau. Drinking range: 2022 - 2045 Rating: 92-94 Neal Martin, www.vinous.com (Apr 2017)
Very dark glowing crimson. Great graphite nose. Some rich meatiness. Very much pushed up the ripeness scale. Seems richer than I remember it but it's clearly very ambitious. Thick and sweet. Not really my style but it will over-deliver to those who are still looking for a wine from the 1990s! Drying end. Drinking range: 2024 - 2040 Rating: 16.5 Jancis Robinson OBE MW - www.JancisRobinson.com (Apr 2017)
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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