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The style of wine produced at Château Gloria has as much to do with the gregarious nature of its late proprietor as it does the patchwork of St. Julien vineyards from whence it comes. In fact, Martin's focus on charm, forward fruit and the classic tenderness of St. Julien helped revolutionize Bordeaux and how consumers view top red wines from the world's largest and most renowned wine region. At a time when many St. Julien producers were content to emulate the harder, longer lived wines of neighboring Pauillac, Martin chose instead to focus on the ebullient, gracious side of St. Julien and to fashion wines that both serious wine drinkers and neophytes alike could understand and enjoy young. Not surprising then, The 2004 Château Gloria St. Julien is classic Gloria. It is adorned with a wonderfully rich purple robe and endowed with the savory scent of black current, cassis, cedar, and just enough of the tender terroir of St. Julien to be intriguing. Soft, flavorful, generous, and round, the 2004 Château Gloria is an easy to drink claret from the moment the cork exits the bottle. Nevertheless, an hour or more of aeration reveals an even fuller, richer, more fulfilling red Bordeaux. Although always ready to please from a tender young age, Gloria does have the ability as well as the propensity to age. Consequently, allowing the 2004 Château Gloria to rest in the cellar for four or five years will only double the pleasure. The 2004 Château Gloria is a blend of four classic Bordeaux varieties: Cabernet Sauvignon (65%), Merlot (25%), Cabernet Franc (5%) and Petit Verdot (5%). Saluté!
The 2004 Château Gloria St. Julien is classic claret, which means it is exemplary red Bordeaux wine that has been made for the table and the delights of the cupboard. Indeed, Henri Martin would be proud. Many would even go so far as to say that the 2004 Château Gloria carries itself as the ultimate dinner party wine, as it embodies all the finest characteristics of mature St. Julien. The 2004 Château Gloria possesses charm, elegance, fruit, and plenty of flavors, with nary an edge. Duck, grouse, pheasant, quail, and other small game birds provide excellent choices with this wine. Chicken, veal, and fine cuts of beef offer equally fine accompaniments. Pot roast, beef stew, veal or pork-pot-pie, and even tender cuts of lamb will reward the gourmand. However, nearly any food or nothing at all will complement the supple, sophisticated 2004 Château Gloria. Enjoy.
Château Gloria owes its existence to the late Henri Martin, one of Bordeaux's leading post war personalities. A gregarious, enormously popular figure, Martin was not only one of Bordeaux's leading vignerons, he spent forty years as the mayor of St. Julien and was for years the President of the Conseil Interprofessionnel des Vins de Bordeaux, the premier trade and marketing organization of Bordeaux growers. Henri Martin also co-founded Commanderie de Bordeaux, another leading professional organization. However, Martin's greatest accomplishment was creating one of St. Julien and Bordeaux's leading château from scratch.
Bordeaux is a very traditional wine region, whose wines have been codified and classified for centuries. Major properties called châteaux have closely defined vineyards based upon tradition and terroir. This is especially true of the so called classified growths: these are the châteaux that were deemed in the last Bordeaux Classification of 1855 to be the finest in Bordeaux. Typically, these classified Bordeaux châteaux are passed down from one generation to the next or purchased intact and in their entirety by a single, very wealthy buyer. Consequently, it is extremely difficult to start a new property or château in Bordeaux. In Henri Martin's case, he never inherited property nor could he afford to buy a classified growth, but as the son of a Bordeaux cooper and old time Bordelais winemaking family he had a dream. He dreamed of owning a Bordeaux château and making his own classified St. Julien.
In 1942 during the darkest days of World War II, Henri Martin did the unthinkable. He purchased 6 hectares (roughly 13 acres) of a St. Julien vineyard that belonged to Château Beychevelle and began Château Gloria. After the war, he augmented Château Gloria, one parcel at a time, through purchases of vineyards from other St. Julien classified growths, most notably, Ducru-Beaucaillou, Gruaud-Larose, Lagrange, Léoville-Baron, and Leoville-Poyferré. Henri Martin, also, acquired a small parcel of the outstanding classified Pauillac château of Duhart-Milon that actually lay in St. Julien. Under the expert direction of Henri Martin, Château Gloria became one of the most widely admired and recognizable names in all Bordeaux. Although Château Gloria never achieved classified growth status because no new classification of Bordeaux was permitted, consumers, critics, and most Bordelais now agree that Château Gloria has for decades deserved to rank among the top Bordeaux châteaux. Moreover, Château Gloria has become one of the top selling château bottled Bordeaux wines of all time, a position it still enjoys today under the auspices of Henri Martin's family.
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