2019 Châteaux Le Tertre Rôteboeuf & Roc de CambesWednesday, May 27
Hot on the heels of Latour's release of their 2012 this morning comes another exceptional new wine from Bordeaux, the 2019 Château Le Tertre Rôteboeuf along with its sister property, Roc de Cambes.
The cask samples we tasted last week confirmed our feeling that Francois Mitjavile's wines are utterly unique within Bordeaux. Roc de Cambes was startling in how complex and immediate it was, with a rich texture and notes of earth and hummus. Le Tertre Rôteboeuf itself was taut and mineral, for all the world like a plot of the Clos de Vougeot transported to St-Émilion and planted with Bordeaux varieties.
The wines are not easy to describe. The usual juxtaposition of 'concentration' and 'elegance' fails to convey the intense, wildly aromatic Pinot Noir-like quality to the nose, versus the opulent blueberry and blackberry fruit concentration on the palate. Mitjavile's wines often beat some of the most famous names right bank names in blind tastings. It is a wonder that they do not routinely score more highly, but as Julia Harding MW points out in an article on Mitjavile:
"...with these wines more than any, the words are more important than the numbers." Jancis Robinson.com Oct 2017.
Our visit to Le Tertre Rôteboeuf last spring was sandwiched between visits to ultra-modern cellars at Beauregard and Pavie. By contrast, Le Tertre Rôteboeuf was like being transported to an ancient, mould-lined cellar in the Côte de Nuits. The estate has been in the family since the '60s but it was Francois who made its name, learning his trade at Figeac in the early '70s. His first vintage was in 1978 and by the '89 vintage the reputation of this 6 hectare estate was established alongside the best in St-Émilion.
Farmed organically, Le Tertre Rôteboeuf is geographically close to Troplong Mondot and Pavie, but a world away in style. The etymology of the name derives from the days when the land was used for cattle grazing, and broadly translates as 'the hill of the belching beef'.
The cool soils here slow the ripening process and this is usually one of the last estates to finish harvest. Training the Merlot and Cabernet Franc vines close to the ground (see picture above) maximises the warmth radiated from the soil at the end of the ripening season. This contributes to the silky, glycerin texture on the palate and aromatic complexity, particularly from the Cabernet Franc.
Roc de Cambes was acquired in 1988, in part because the terroir (clay and limestone) was so similar to Le Tertre Roteboeuf. The wines exhibit the same Mitjavile magic, with a unique texture and aromatic complexity. The 14 hectares of vines form a natural amphitheater overlooking the Gironde, on the slopes which form the best terroir in the Côtes de Bourg, 'les Croutes'. The fruit for Domaine des Combes comes from outside the estate (and outside the Cotes de Bourg AOC) but is vinified in the same way and with the same care and attention.
We are very fortunate to have been offered an allocation in 2019. We expect the wines to sell out almost immediately, so do please enquire as soon as possible.
Offered en primeur, landing Spring 2022.
2019 Château Le Tertre Rôteboeuf, St-Émilion Grand Cru
Closed on the nose but with inherent crushed-rock minerality hinting at what is to come. Fresh red fruits with chocolate and spices, a very broad note of oak which does not overwhelm the intensity of the fruit at all. Elegant rather than opulent (unlike the 2018 in that sense). RKL
"The 2019 Tertre-Rôteboeuf marks the first time that I taste a barrel sample from outside François Mitjavile’s cellar. It possesses a very classy bouquet with beautifully defined black fruit that feels maybe less flamboyant and more introspective than previous years. It is very finely tuned, almost Burgundy-like. The palate is medium-bodied with supple tannins: layers of black fruit laced with dark chocolate and a gorgeous, mineral-driven finish that fans out wonderfully. It will require several years to full absorb the oak, but it is a very impressive Tertre-Rôteboeuf. Chapeau François Mitjavile. 95-97 points." Neal Martin, Vinous.com
2019 Château Roc de Cambes, Côtes de Bourg
Rich earth and humus notes on the nose alongside powerful red and black cherry fruits, with additional notes of figs, black tea. Extraordinary glycerin-like texture on the palate, with obvious full alcochol but no sense of heat or imbalance. Despite a sweetness to the fruit flavours, the overall impression is entirely savoury, with tremendous length. A complete tour de force. RKL
"The 2019 Roc de Cambes is focused and intense on the nose with Japanese nori tinged black fruit, damp loamy soil and later, hints of violet and incense. The palate is very well balanced with supple tannins, supremely well judged acidity and an irresistible creamy texture that maintains tension on the finish. This is a sophisticated and very satisfying Roc de Cambes in the making. 92-94 points." Neal Martin, Vinous.com
2019 Domaine de Cambes, Bordeaux
(80% Merlot, 20% Cabernet Franc) | 100% new oak. Tremendous freshness to the red fruits on the nose with more black fruits on the palate. Velvet-textured, tasted after Le Tertre but not over-shadowed by it. Some very appealing toasted notes from the oak, but also some caramelised Maillard reaction notes, probably intentional, nevertheless all remarkably in balance. Quite unique. RKL