What We Say 2003 Cuvee Poncet-Deville
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Mission Codename: From Cradle to Graves
Operative: Agent White, Agent Red & Agent Terroir
Objective: Find a delicious and value oriented red Bordeaux.
Mission Status: Accomplished
Current Winery: Chateau Saint-Robert
Wine Subject: 2003 Cuvee Poncet-Deville Graves AOC
Winemaker: Michel Garat
The Graves AOC with its famous Chateau Haut-Brion stretches south and west from the city of Bordeaux along the right bank of the Gironde. Despite of the fact that most of Bordeaux’s superstars lie north in the Medoc, Graves has a high number of very nice quality wines that are often passed over for the much higher priced Cru-classes.
Two-thirds of the wines from Graves AOC are red. Graves also surrounds the Sauternes where the famous desert white wine from Bordeaux.
Wine Spies Tasting Profile:
Look – Deep and dark purple with an almost black core and a nearly inky quality (not quite opaque) and a viscous look. Lots of evenly spaced thin legs immediately appear when swirled in the glass.
Smell – Bold with a dense earthy bouquet over ripe black and red fruit. Complex notes of tobacco, toasted oak, mocha and a hint of floral violets round out the aromas of this wine.
Feel – Smooth, rich and full-bodied with a little spice on the mid-palate, fine supple tannins, medium soft acidity and a slight mineral texture.
Taste – Flavors of blackberries, black cherries that are balanced over a base of black pepper, earthy minerality. As you explore this wine flavors of toasted oak, tobacco and hints of dark chocolate also emerge.
Finish – This wine finishes as it starts with dense earthiness backed by its fruit and spice components that linger nicely.
Conclusion – The 2003 Cuvee Poncet-Deville – Graves AOC is a very nice and value oriented red Bordeaux. Its blend of 40% Merlot, 30% Cabernet France and 30% Cabernet Sauvignon is sure to please and is a delicious complement to your upcoming holiday meals. The solid structure of this wine ensures that it will continue to age gracefully and having spent several years in the bottle already, it is drinking very well right now.
Agent Red had gotten a taste for French wine after his last trip and had requested to ‘ride shotgun’ on the next mission to France. The problem, as anyone who works in France is getting three full-sized adults into small European cars.
No worries, Agent Terroir’s Citroen 2CV had plenty of room. The question was could it make the journey from Paris’ Charles de Gaulle airport to village of Preignac, just south of the town of Bordeaux. It was touch and go, but the P.O.S. (I’ll let you figure out what spy acronym that stands for) made it.
If you’ve visited Bordeaux recently, its become quite the sprawl and you have to head further and further out to hit the vineyards. On this trip, we would be heading to the south to the Graves AOC and visiting the Chateau Saint-Robert. This house had a history that dates back to the late 1600s.
Upon arrival at the chateau, we were greeted by winemaker Michel Garat who provide a quick tour of the vineyards and facilities and then provided us with a tasting of his estate bottles Cuvee Poncet Deville, thusly named for Monsieur Poncet Deville, who purchased the estate in 1794.
I could tell that after just one sip, Agent Red was hooked. Nowhere in the world does wine hold such history and tradition. Now, the only question is, will Agent Terroir’s Citroen make it back to Paris for our flight back to the United States…
Wine Spies Vineyard Check:
The location of the the commune of Preignac in the Graces AOC can be seen in this satellite photo.
What the Winery Says
Saint Robert dates back to 1686. It once belonged to aristocrats and knights before Mr. Poncet-Deville bought and restored it in 1794. Today, the estate covers 30 hectares, 3/4 of which produce red Graves. The wines are full bodied and firm, with a delicate bouquet and the ability to age beautifully.
Awards & Accolades:
Gold Medal – 2006 Challenge Internation du Vin – “The wines are full, complex and have layers of fruit and charm. Their excellent tannic structure promises long aging. A lovely nose of red berry fruit, such as cherries, and a beautiful, deep ruby colour. A supple entry on the palate, fleshy, delicately spicy, almost peppery. Well structured overall, harmoniously balanced and full of charm.”
“A known quantity, the Cuvée Poncet-Deville du Château Saint-Robert is once again remarkable. From its brilliant ruby-red color, this 2001 vintage develops an extraordinarily complex bouquet. The roasted notes rest on a basis of fruit (stewed strawberries) and spices. The tannins are just as soft as the aromas. Round and flavorsome, the palate reveals the great skill that went into the choice of the well-ripened grape, the extraction of the tannins and the maturation. A superb wine to lay down for three or four years.” – The Hatchette Guide to French Wines 2004 – Commenting on the 2001 Vintage.
About This Wine:
The Cuvée Poncet Deville is named after one of the former owners. After temperature controlled fermentation in stainless steel tanks, the wine is aged in 100% new oak for 12 months. The wine is fined with egg whites, and sees one filtration prior to bottling.
About The Winery:
Finesse, elegance, breed— words that could be used to describe both the château of Saint Robert and the wines made there. The estate dates back to 1686, when it belonged to Jean Duroy, who had acquired it from his mother Dame Anne Robert, from whom the estate took its name. It was not until the 19th century that the estate of Saint Robert became a real wine-growing château. This transformation was the work of one of its owners, the younger Monsieur Poncet Deville, who was largely responsible for the improvements made in the vineyard, known at that time as Clos Saint Robert. Located at Pujols sur Ciron, adjacent to the Barsac appellation, the estate covers an area of 84 acres of vines, of which 69 are planted to red varietals. The soil is made up of sand and gravel over a deep layer of clay, with limestone subsoil.
For both Saint Robert red and white, two blends are made: the Château Saint Robert itself, and the Cuvée Poncet Deville, which is made from a selection of the best terroirs and the oldest vines. The fruit is harvested entirely by hand.
The white grapes are pressed in pneumatic presses, ensuring a gradual, gentle extraction from the musts. After settling the juice, the alcoholic fermentation is carried out in stainless steel tanks; the wine is then tank aged for six months prior to bottling. The red grapes are thoroughly sorted upon arrival at the winery, enabling the removal of any berries that are not of the highest quality.
The grapes are de-stemmed and fermented in temperature controlled stainless steel vats for approximately 3 weeks. The Cuvée Poncet Deville, made from the best terroirs and oldest vines, is then barrel aged for 18 months.
Area under production: 17.5 acres
Soil type: Sand and gravel
Grape varieties: 40% Merlot, 30% Cabernet Franc, 30% Cabernet Sauvignon
Yield: 50 hL/ha
Fermentation: Temperature controlled stainless steel tanks
Maturation: Barrel aged for 12 months, 100% new oak
Production: 2,000 cases