Château Gueyrosse Saint-Emilion Grand Cru 2012

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GRAPE VARIETIES: Merlot 85%, Cabernet Franc 12%, Cabernet Sauvignon 3%

How it Tastes: The 2012 Chateau Geyrosse still has dark crimson color with the start of a youthful robe at the rim. Aromas of blackberry compote and a hint of welcome spice. The still adolescent flavors speak of black plums, melted dark chocolate, and a subtle welcome herbal nuance. this is a wine you want to enjoy slowly as it unfurls. Patiently savor it; you are drinking history.

Chateau Gueyrosse is in the southwestern corner of Saint Emilion and overlooks the meandering Dordogne river. The outskirts of Libourne have expanded so much that the back side of the vineyard is a “commercial” zone with big box stores and huge parking lots. Until 1973 this small area had a separate appellation called Sables-Saint Emilion. The vineyard has a soil of “graves rouge”, a soil type similar to that found in the southern sector of Pomerol which is iron-rich, sandy and with a deep layer of alluvial stones. The vineyard is planted to 85% Merlot, 12% Cabernet Franc and 3% Cabernet Sauvignon. A large parcel that was planted in 1939 had to be replanted in 2016 and now the average age of the vines is 25 years. Through severe pruning in the spring, yields are kept exceptionally low, 35 to 42hl/h, and no green harvesting is necessary. After vinification, the wine is aged in tank for 1 to 3 months for clarification and then in barrel (2 and 3-year-old barrels) for 12 months with racking every two months. The wine is then put back in tanks for a few months, fined with egg-whites and bottled in the spring un-filtered.

Saint-Emilion is one of the most beautiful wine producing villages in the world. It is nestled into the same limestone hills that provide the unique ground for the illustrious vineyards that surround it. The local architecture is built from the quarried limestone and features roofs of earth toned tiles giving the town an historic charm that is “postcard perfect.”

The Delol family has owned the Domaine Chante-Alouette-Cormeil since 1818 and Chateau Gueyrosse since 1862. Since 1995 the wine has been made by Samuelle Delol who took over from her father Yves. Perhaps it is the 200 years of farming or perhaps it is the personal philosophy of Samuelle and Yves, but the viticulture and winemaking practices are old enough to be new again, literally. The farming is organic and the wine making non-interventional. As a way of celebrating 200 years of organic farming, Samuelle has decided to apply for official certification. Recently, the vineyards were certified “Bee Friendly”. There is nothing flamboyant or out of balance with Samuelle’s wines. Grapes are hand harvested and then pressed in a traditional basket press from the 1940’s. The wines ferment with their indigenous yeasts and macerations last between 3 and 5 weeks. In their youth, the wines are discreet and Samuelle says that it is not until after 10 years that the wines start to reveal themselves. It is fortunate and rare to have families such as the Delol’s who are willing to keep stock in their cellar for more than a decade before releasing wines to the market. The Delols are admired by many of the old guard aristocracy of Saint-Emilion vignerons for their refined aesthetic and commitment to craft at the highest level but they have largely escaped the notice of the press. For the experienced Bordeaux drinker or someone interested in discovering the style of wine that made Bordeaux internationally recognized centuries ago, these wines are a rare treat.