Under the Chariol family’s guardianship, Château de Lescours has emerged as one of Saint-Émilion’s finest Grand Crus. The 2016 Château de Lescours Saint-Émilion Grand Cru (93 Points – Wine Enthusiast), a blend of 80% Merlot, 10% Cabernet Franc, and 10% Cabernet Sauvignon, embodies all the attributes that have made Saint-Émilion Bordeaux’s most popular red wine: an enticingly deep purple color, haunting aromatics, and an abundance of ripe berry and plum fruit all beautifully wrapped in healthy ripe tannins, which provide energy and structure without searing the mouth or throat. Complex, opulent, and focused, this full-bodied wine evolves slowly in the glass, revealing something new and interesting with every sip and for hours on end – that is if you can muster the discipline not to consume it straight away. For optimal enjoyment, we suggest affording the 2016 Château de Lescours Saint-Émilion Grand Cru 30 minutes or more of aeration before consuming at cool room temperature (58°-62° F). Anticipated maturity: 2021-2030. Enjoy!
: Concentrated, full-bodied Saint-Émilion Grand Cru wines such as the 2016 Château de Lescours Saint-Émilion Grand Cru provide superb companionship to simple, well prepared dishes as well as complex gourmet fare, which makes this wine the consummate choice to serve at an elegant dinner party. Prime Rib au jus or a perfectly grilled aged Ribeye á la Bordelaise affords Château de Lescours’ aromatic Saint-Émilion Grand Cru the ideal companion with which to shine. When served with mashed potatoes, fresh green beans, and braised pearl onions, a finer pairing would be hard to find. A bone-in veal chop prepared with a tasty brown sauce offers another delicious accompaniment. Plump roasted chickens and game hens served with wild rice or an onion and sage stuffing offer more palate-pleasing accompaniments. And for those who save the best for last and are disciplined enough to have bit of Château de Lescours’ traditional 2016 Saint-Émilion Grand Cru left in their glasses, we suggest they drain those glasses in the company of a selection of French cheeses that include Cantal and Port Salut. A votre santé!
Château de Lescours is one of the oldest and most renowned properties in the venerable appellation of Saint-Émilion. Château de Lescours was constructed in 1341 by a squire of King Edward III during the 100 Years War in which England and France fought for control of Bordeaux and the Duchy of Aquitaine. This gem of an estate is comprised of a veritable castle and is set in the midst of a 100-acre forest, which provides biodiversity and a special microclimate for the estate’s prestigious Saint-Émilion Grand Cru.
Château de Lescours’s Saint-Émilion Grand Cru is produced from a pristine 18-acre vineyard and is the only wine produced by the château. For four generations, the Chariol family have owned Château de Lescours and they are responsible for bringing the esteemed Château de Lescours Saint-Émilion Grand Cru to its present pinnacle of quality.
Saint-Émilion 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 Saint-Émilion is centered on wine; even the church in Saint-Émilion is a cellar. And lest you think that Saint-Émilion 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: Saint-Émilion was founded by the Romans, who used it as a viticultural bastion in the burgeoning area they named Burdigala.
Interestingly, there are two distinct districts of Saint-Émilion, each possessing a special terroir. Both districts produce compelling red wines, but of a different sort. Typically, the côtes or hills upon the escarpment yield the fullest, slowest to mature wines of Saint-Émilion. Here the soil is nearly all limestone and the resulting wine is more apt to act like a great Cabernet-based wine of the Médoc. The other distinct district of Saint-Émilion lies on the plateau adjoining Pomerol, where the soil is comprised of sand and gravel. Here the wines tend to be fleshier and quicker to mature. Each style is authentic Saint-Émilion, which allows the savvy consumer double the pleasure. Merlot is the predominant grape of Saint-Émilion, while Cabernet Franc and, to a lesser extent, Cabernet Sauvignon play important supporting roles. However, Saint-Émilion can be produced from Merlot alone or from any combination or percentage of the six traditional red Bordeaux grape varieties (Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Malbec, Petit Verdot, and Carmenère). No commercial white wine is made in Saint-Émilion or is permitted to be sold as Saint-Émilion. Many of Bordeaux’s most illustrious wines hail from here, including the legendary Château Cheval Blanc.
Since the last half of the 20th century, Merlot has lived in the shadow of its younger, more robust sibling, Cabernet Sauvignon. Both Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon are traditional French varietals whose origins are attributed to Bordeaux. However, after the 19th century phylloxera scourge in France, Merlot lost some of its prominence in Bordeaux and elsewhere in favor of the thicker-skinned, more age-worthy Cabernet Sauvignon. Merlot came to be viewed as the bridesmaid rather than the bride, and it found itself in a supporting role in many wine regions rather than as the star of the show. This phenomenon occurred in spite of the fact that many of Bordeaux’s greatest red wines have for centuries been produced primarily from Merlot, and they continue to be. The great Château Petrus remains Bordeaux’s most expensive wine and nearly all of the finest wines of Saint-Émilion are based essentially upon Merlot.
However, Bordeaux is not the only wine region today where Merlot thrives. From its native France, Merlot has traveled the world. It is now cultivated on six continents and has over the last three decades become a staple in California, Australia, South Africa, South America, and Tuscany, not to mention its recent proliferation in southern France and throughout Europe. Moreover, Merlot is a very prolific grape variety when left to its own devices. Consequently, nearly everywhere it is cultivated, severe pruning is the key to the quality quotient with this varietal. Merlot suffers from a susceptibility to spring frosts and a very thin skin, too, which leaves it open to rot. Nonetheless, where conditions are warm and dry and the soil is well drained, Merlot thrives. So, no more is the venerable Merlot vine the perennial bridesmaid.
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