Mission Codename Vin de salon
Once again esteemed Operatives, when it comes to the great wines of Bordeaux, and in particular the Right Bank where mythical cult wineries like this one hide within humble dwellings, Robert Parker masterfully guides us to the best of the best. So, when he says that Château Croix de Labrie is; “one of the tiniest production as well as most seductive, opulent wines in all of Bordeaux” we must pay attention. And we did. Look what that brought us. This 94-pointer with 40% savings AND shipping included on 4 bottles is a spectacular, not to be missed deal.
Saturated ruby-plum, with shades of crimson effortlessly wrapping the glass walls. Black currant, black cherry, white truffle, forest floor, and crushed rock minerality all boost the expressive nose to great heights. A medium-bodied yet powerful wine with a thrilling texture thanks to silky tannins that coat the palate with pure pleasure. Long and stacked on the sultry finish, with uncommon power at this level, with fabulous fruit and grip too. This stunner has the pedigree to accompany a candlelit filet mignon dinner with truffles and all.
When Robert Parker first discovered Château Croix de Labrie he had written; “This is the ultimate garage wine, or as the French call it, vin de salon, since the five-barrel production is kept in proprietor Puzio’s living room! This is great stuff, but nearly impossible to find. Does anybody out there have some to sell?” Talk about rare! Today they may make just a bit more wine but the flagship wine is still VERY HARD TO FIND. They don’t even let their extraordinary consulting winemaker Michel Rolland walk away with more than just a few bottles, no kidding.
Oh, and the 2016 vintage? Legendary indeed. Neal Martin’s latest report for Vinous sums it all up; “I shall always remember my first impression of the 2016s: their elegance, purity and poise, the intensity of fruit, the articulation of respective terroirs, and that oft-forgotten virtue, how bloomin’ delicious they tasted. My overriding feeling was that Bordeaux had been heading towards the 2016 vintage since the late 1990s. It was a year when everything just came together at the right moments… Let’s cut to the chase: 2016 is a fantastic, sublime and at times entrancing vintage. For once, the frothing hype that presaged en primeur was justified. The 2016 vintage already feels haloed. The promise that was so palpable in barrel remains, and many of these wines are destined to give immense pleasure, not only at the top of the hierarchy but on the lower rungs too – always the litmus test of a truly great growing season.” All that for $36? Wow. Just wow.
Here’s what the wine press has to say:
94 Points – James Suckling “ Château Croix de Labrie is certainly a “garage winery.” It makes three different wines in the small winery on the outskirts of the town of Saint Christophe des Bardes. Everything is done by hand here from tending the vines to topping the barrels. This is Burgundy in St.-Emilion, as the three wines all represent specific parcels of the winery’s vineyards, including Croix de Labrie, Chapelle de Labrie and Les Hauts de Croix de Labrie. The wines are distinctively different: the Croix de Labrie shows the most structure of the three, Chapelle de Labrie has the most minerally character, and Les Hauts de Croix de Labrie has the softest, most velvety texture. There’s a subtle and friendly nature that I always like in this wine. Hints of hazelnuts, chocolate and berries. Medium to full body, fine and polished tannins and a beautiful finish. A blend of 80 per cent merlot and 20 per cent cabernet franc. Hard not to drink now, but wait until after 2022.”
What the Winery Says
2016 'Les Hauts de Croix de Labrie' St-Émilion Grand Cru AOC
- Consulting winemaker
- Michel Rolland
- Axelle & Pierre Courdurié
- 80% Merlot, 20% Cabernet Franc
- St-Émilion Grand Cru, Libourne, Bordeaux
- Soil type
- Clay-limestone and sand over clay
- Planting density
- 6,000 plants per ha
- 3,400 liters per ha
- Average vine age
- 25 years
- 14 months
- 50% new French oak
- 20 barrels