|Grapes||Cab Franc, Merlot|
|Sub-district||Saint Emilion & Satellites|
The 2017 Les Astéries was picked on 3 October, was 13.25° alcohol, and is matured in 80% new oak. It has a perfumed bouquet, a mixture of red and black fruit – cranberry, crème de cassis and wilted violets, all nicely defined. The palate is medium-bodied with fairly succulent tannin, a fine bead of acidity, quite fresh in the mouth with a gentle grip towards the finish. This is a toned-down version of Les Astéries compared to previous vintages that it suits it well. Drinking range: 2023 - 2038 Rating: 91-93 Neal Martin, vinous.com (May 2018)
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Blueberries, crushed violets, spice, and crushed rock notions all emerge from the 2017 Les Astéries, which is a tiny cuvée under the helm of the talented Jonathan Maltus. Coming from hard, dense, limestone soils (called Astéries) and very old vines, it’s rich, textured, and medium to full-bodied, with a straight, elegant style on the palate. It’s going to need short-term cellaring and drink nicely for a decade. Rating: 91-94 Jeb Dunnuck, www.jebdunnuck.com(Apr 2018)
Another St.-Emilion with a nicely fleshy core of red fruit that’s buttressed by firm yet ripe tannins, pretty acidity and a mineral-driven finish. Rating: 91-92 James Suckling, www.jamessuckling.com(Apr 2018)
From deep limestone soils, Calcaire à Astéries of course, close to the top of the town. The Merlot and Cabernet Franc were both picked on October 3rd, the former 83% of the blend, the latter 17%. The alcohol is 13.25% and total acidity 3.26 g/l. I find tense black cherry fruit on the nose here, dry and concentrated, but still fresh and lifted, helped by that dusty, chalky, limestone frame. An elegantly reposed palate, cool, fresh, open, relaxed and generous, with a gentle seam of intertwined cherry, cocoa bean, nuts and grilled pips, wrapped up in a fine sinewy texture. A very different tannic structure here, a little more prominent, chalky and firm, leading into a long, tannin-infused finish. Very good. The élevage will be in 80% new oak. Rating: 93-95 Chris Kissack, www.thewinedoctor.com(Apr 2018)
Jonathan Maltus was the first Englishman to receive 100 points from Robert Parker for one of his wines. He arrived in Bordeaux in 1994, selling his project management company in order to buy the picturesque but otherwise unremarkable Château Teyssier. Hard work and serious investment established Château Teyssier as a remarkably successful St Emilion brand, but the sandy soils of Vignonet were never going to provide the terroir for true St Emilion greatness. So, Jonathan set out to find himself some good terroir.
First of all, in 1996, he purchased a 3.5ha plot from Vieux Château Mazerat when one of the two brothers who owned the estate died. This he christened Le Dôme. The plot sits next to Château Angélus on almost Pomerol-esque ground – sandy soil over a layer of crasse de fer (a rich iron oxide). The vines, planted in 1956 and 1970, are 80% Cabernet Franc and 20% Merlot, making Le Dôme the most Cabernet Franc dominant wine in St Emilion. In 1996, Le Dôme was at the forefront of the garagiste movement and went into exclusively new oak, although latterly the new oak proportion has dropped back to 80%.
In 2004 Jonathan took on a 1.2ha plot that had been part of Château Fonroque, that lay on a hard limestone called calcaire à astéries, so he named the wine Les Astéries. The 80 year old vines are 80% Merlot and 20% Cabernet Franc.
Next, in 2005, came Le Carré – a 1.1ha plot next to Clos Fourtet on more typically St Emilion clay over limestone soil. Le Carré is 80% Merlot and 20% Cabernet Franc.
And, in 2008, when the other brother at Vieux Château Mazerat died, Jonathan purchased the rest of the estate. The 3.5ha of vineyard also lie next to Château Angélus (and, also, Château Canon) but in a separate block from Le Dôme, on more usual clay/limestone soil, and with a different grape mix (65% Merlot, 35% Cabernet Franc), so the old estate was not re-united. But in a nod to their former joint status, the Vieux Château Mazerat has the same label as Le Dôme except the colours are reversed.
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