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Chateau d'Armailhac, Pauillac Grand VinBordeaux, France 2011 (750mL)

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Chateau d'Armailhac, Pauillac Grand Vin Bordeaux, France 2011 (750mL)

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“Since we all can’t afford First Growth Mouton Rothschild, how about an aged parcel of 2011 Château d’Armailhac? Not only are they owned by the Rothschilds, but they’re also literal next-door neighbors! This is a jackpot for savory Pauillac enthusiasts!”

Bordeaux, particularly the Left Bank, has a long history of fortunes gained, then lost, with new fortunes emerging again. The d’Armailhac (original spelling) family controlled the property for most of the 18th and 19th centuries and their bright shining moment was achieving Fifth Growth distinction in the famous 1855 Bordeaux classification. However, the family’s ultimate financial demise was punctuated by the period beginning with their phylloxera ravaged vineyards, the unbearable toll of WWI, and finally, the Great Depression. Enter First Growth magnate and next-door neighbor (literally) Baron Philippe de Rothschild of Mouton Rothschild, who exercised his pre-arranged, “first-rights” agreement to purchase the property in 1933. Under Philippe’s direction, the château was renovated, the vineyards were re-planted and the two-story chai got rebuilt. Today, the estate remains in the hands of the Rothschilds and is managed by the same team that looks after the Château Mouton-Rothschild vineyards and winery.

The 2011 is a blend of 57% Cabernet Sauvignon, 28% Merlot, 13% Cabernet Franc and 2% Petit Verdot. Abundant aromatics jump forward, highlighted by blackcurrant confit, sour red cherry, white chocolate, licorice, violets, and hints of tobacco, already melding together seamlessly. The palate is medium-bodied and silky-sweet on entry, showing peppery, dried black fruit, exotic spice, and dusty forest floor with savory dried herbs and quinine. The minor Cabernet Franc component seems clear and present, channeling a similar high-toned lift and mineral verve found in Loire Valley Chinon and Saumur-Champigny. A truly elegant and nimble Pauillac, this effort finishes vibrantly with an almost saline sappiness, laced with finely woven tannins. The wine stands beautifully composed as it enters its second decade with great promise.

  • CountryFrance
  • RegionBordeaux
  • Sub-RegionPauillac
  • SoilSand & Gravel
  • FarmingSustainable
  • BlendCabernet Sauvignon 57%, Merlot 28%, Cabernet Franc 13%, Petit Verdot 2%
  • Alcohol13.5%
  • OakFrench Barrels, 30% New
  • Temp.Serve at 65° F
  • GlasswareBordeaux Stem
  • DrinkingNow-2030+
  • Decanting60+ Minutes
  • PairingSteak au Poivre

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