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"The ultimate dinner party wine," is how one panel member succinctly described the 1998 Château Plaisance St.Emilion Grand Cru. "Elegance in the bottle … quintessential St.Emilion" and "bottled poetry," are several other statements made in regard to this top notch Bordeaux – all of which sum up the consensus of the panel. The 1998 Château Plaisance St.Emilion Grand Cru is classic claret. A beguiling bouquet of ripe cassis fruit, toasted bread, and subtle earth tones, which epitomize all that is good in Grand Cru Bordeaux, complement the wine's dark ruby robe and seductive texture. Moreover, this comely wine brings to the palate all the flavor, breed, charm and elegance that epitomize the finest mature red wines of St. Emilion. Moreover, this charming Grand Cru adds further testimony to the greatness of the 1998 vintage in both St. Emilion and nearby Pomerol. With neither an edge nor a note out of place, the 1998 Château Plaisance St.Emilion Grand Cru creates a symphony out of Bordeaux's two arch rivals, Merlot and Cabernet. With all attributes in place, it is no wonder the 1998 Château Plaisance met with resounding approval and unanimous support from the panel. Vive Château Plaisance!
Mature, sexy wines, the likes of the 1998 Château Plaisance St. Emilion Grand Cru, provide exemplary accompaniments to both simple, well prepared dishes and grand cuisine. Nonetheless, our preference runs towards simple elegance. In our experience, a plump roasted chicken or game hen provides the ultimate accompaniment to the 1998 Château Plaisance or any other fine, mature red Bordeaux. Roast beef, especially Prime Rib, affords another opportunity to showcase this wonderful St. Emilion. When served with mashed potatoes, fresh green beans, and either creamed or pearl onions, the Château Plaisance and Prime Rib will form a bond that only emptying the bottle can break. A tray of French cheeses containing Cantal, Port Salut, or even a young Camembert offers another fine way to enjoy Château Plaisance. A votre santé!
Château Plaisance is located in the heart of St. Emilion, and since the late 1990s it has ranked with the finest wines of the great St. Emilion appellation. Château Plaisance is hardly a newcomer to this fashionable appellation: it was constructed in 1885. Its mere 38 acres of vineyard are comprised entirely of Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon, which grow in a mixture of sand and gravel that allow for perfect drainage. Since 1997, Château Plaisance has been owned by the Mareschal family who has brought this wonderful property to new heights, including well deserved Grand Cru status. The Mareschals also owns the great Château Destieux, which they completely refurbished and modernized just prior to purchasing Château Plaisance.
The Mareshals have invested a fortune in Château Plaisance. In addition, they have championed a strict selection for their Grand Cru wine and severely curtailed yields. They also practice sustainable agriculture and employ only natural fertilizers. The entire harvest is picked by hand, and in order to assure uniform high quality more than seventy people are hired at harvest to pick and sort each grape at this small vineyard. In keeping with its Grand Cru status, Château Plaisance is fermented in new temperature controlled stainless steel tanks and then aged in all new oak barrels for 18 months. Moreover, Château Plaisance utilizes a second label, Château La Fleur Plaisance, which insures the consumer that only the best of this estate's wine is bottled as Grand Cru.
St. Emilion is Bordeaux's most important wine town and the region's hottest attraction. This walled, medieval village, perched atop a series of hills and surrounded by vines, is unquestionably the most beautiful wine village in all Bordeaux. Indeed, it is arguably the most beautiful wine village in all France. Nearly everything about St. Emilion is centered on wine, even the church in St. Emilion is a cellar. And lest you think that St. Emilion has just recently succumbed to contemporary commercialism or sold itself to the modern mania for all that is Bacchanalian, rest assured that very little has changed in principle in this village since antiquity: St. Emilion was founded by the Romans, who used it as a viticultural bastion in the then burgeoning area know as Burdigala.
St. Emilion sits about twenty-five miles due east of the city of Bordeaux on a high escarpment above the Dordogne River. From the village of St. Emilion, one has a commanding view of the entire St. Emilion appellation, whose vines descend the slopes to the river and then occupy the nearby plateau that flows into Pomerol. It is from this great appellation that many of Bordeaux's finest wines flow, including the world's very best Merlot based wines. It is in St. Emilion that Merlot reaches its apogee. Here, Merlot is king, supported by varying amounts of Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc as noble vassals. The only notable exception to the dominance of Merlot in St. Emilion is the venerable wine of Cheval Blanc, which is largely comprised of Cabernet Franc. Otherwise, the result is the fleshiest, juiciest, roundest, and most popular wines of all Bordeaux – testament to just how great Merlot can be.
Interestingly, there are two distinct districts of St. Emilion, each possessing its own special terroir. Both produce compelling wines, but of a different sort. Typically, the côtes or hills upon the escarpment yield the fullest, slowest to mature wines of St. Emilion. Here the soil is nearly all limestone and the resulting wine is more apt to act like a great Cabernet based wine of the Medoc. The other area distinct district of St. Emilion lies on the plateau adjoining Pomerol, where the soil is comprised of sand and gravel. It is in this well-drained soil that the fleshiest, sexiest wines of the appellation are born. Each style is authentic St. Emilion, which allows for double the pleasure. Salut!
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