Mission Codename Needle in a haystack
Could we have uncovered the best-kept secret of St.-Émilion?!
An educated guess at the average per bottle price in this neighborhood for a double 97-point year (Wine Spectator & Vinous) such as 2015, would be somewhere near $100. How about the tip of the pyramid? Cheval Blanc is touching the $1,000 mark… So, what else can you get from St.-Émilion for $17? Not even a souvenir!
Now don’t get us wrong, this is by any means NOT at the Cheval Blanc level, yet it seriously over-delivers with glimpses of what makes this appellation so heralded shining right through its layers of deliciousness and pedigree…
Garnet and ruby in the core and a faded purple rim define the looks. The expressive aromatics are led by notes of cassis, crushed violets, spice, and a distinct minerality emerges, too. Medium to full-bodied on the palate, elegant, and seamless with fine, polished tannins. Blueberry and floral notes build up to rock-star levels of elegance and finesse. This is a thrilling, yet approachable Right Bank built for daring pairings with rich dishes.
Zero press on this totally under the radar gem, except for a glowing article in the Financial Times across the pond, by none other than Jancis Robinson MW, who named La Guérinière as one of her few “Lockdown Wines” picks, noting that “A bottle of good wine in the US is a rare thing indeed, and in certain quarters any bottle costing less than $100 is viewed as rather good value. While the upper ranks of Bordeaux are tying themselves in knots of dubious worth trying to launch their embryonic 2019s even in a pandemic, the vast amount of red Bordeaux made on thousands of less glamorous wine farms is one of the world’s best sources of value… but best value, I think, was Château La Guérinière… The Rambaud family’s Merlot and Cabernet Franc vines are grown in the far south-east of the St-Émilion appellation, obviously with great care, as this ripe, rich, velvety wine with a fresh top note tastes not unlike a lesser Pomerol.”
To our credit, we were blown away by this wine before spotting it in this article, but these words just could not be more accurate in explaining why so eloquently.
As with anything boutique, quantities are limited, grab what you can, while you can.
What the Winery Says
2015 St.-Émilion AOC
- Jacques Rambaud
- 90% Merlot, 10% Cabernet Franc
- St.-Émilion AOC, Libourne
- Limestone and marl
- Vineyard size
- 2.8 hectares
- Average vine age
- 35 years
- 18 months
- 25% new French oak