Maison-Blanche "Le Colombier de la Métairie" Montagne Saint-Émilion '16
Maison Blanche has been around since 1875 and is now run by the Despagne family, whose roots in Bordeaux date back three centuries. The Despagnes farm their 32 hectares of vines biodynamically, a challenging and rare pursuit in Bordeaux’s maritime climate, and received a biodynamic certification by Demeter in 2013. Le Colombier de la Métairie is Maison Blanche’s “second” label. Like the flagship Maison Blanche bottling, this wine is made from estate fruit, but whereas Maison Blanche is made of older vines only, Le Colombier is made of a combination older and younger vines.
Located on the Right Bank of Bordeaux, on the slopes of the plateau in Montagne, Saint-Émilion, Pomerol, and Libourne, the vineyards average 45 years in age, with clay-based soils that are ideal for Merlot (the Left Bank generally has more gravelly soils, which are better suited to Cabernet Sauvignon vines). Le Colombier is made of half Cabernet Franc and half Merlot, with the Cabernet Franc coming from younger vines and the Merlot from both older and younger vines. The grapes are harvested by hand, and fermentation is with native yeasts in tank. The wine is racked into a combination of cement vat and barrel, in which it rests for 15 months. Very little sulfur is added.
Fresh and supple, this is a wine that can be enjoyed in its youth but would also reward medium-term aging. The wine shows a beautiful balance of both red and dark fruit—cassis, black cherry, spiced purple plum—with hints of herbs, nutmeg, cacao nib, and a touch of lavender. On the palate, the silky yet slightly dusty tannic quality feels like classic right-bank Bordeaux.
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