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Château Coutelin-Merville, Saint-EstèpheBordeaux, France 2008 (750mL)

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Château Coutelin-Merville, Saint-Estèphe Bordeaux, France 2008 (750mL)

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Earth
Body
Tannin
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Alcohol

When it comes to fine Bordeaux, Saint-Estèphe, Margaux, Pauillac, and Saint-Julien are universally recognized as the Left Bank's “Big Four.” Tasting a red from one of these venerated terroirs is a truly singular, deeply evocative experience, and finding one that also leaves your bank account unscathed will make you a customer for life. Today’s 2008 Saint-Estèphe from Château Coutelin-Merville is one of those bottles.


Buy a case, savor it while impressing your luxury-label-collecting friends, and you’ll consider yourself the savviest collectors on whichever side of the Mississippi you reside. This nearly 13-year-old showpiece boasts muscular layers of dark, deep fruit and gravelly savor, and is only just beginning to strut the indelible secondary flavors of mature Saint-Estèphe. A sensory experience such as this cannot be replicated: Only from this terroir, and a château generations-deep in the intricacies of Merlot and Cabernet, can a Bordeaux of this magnitude be created—although it’s helpful when some of your vines are flirting with Second Growths Montrose and Cos d’Estournel, too! As if all this wasn’t already enticing enough, the provenance on today’s parcel is impeccable: cellared on site for 12 years, then a straight, temperature-controlled shot to our warehouse. Now that’s how you make $39 stretch! 

NOTE: Coutelin-Merville’s smoking ‘08 can only be found here, temporarily, and there’s no replenishment once that final bottle disappears!



A bit more on the 2008 vintage: When Jancis Robinson revisited these wines in 2012, she concluded that they were a savvy choice “if you wanted to put one case of very smart red Bordeaux in your cellar.” Wedged between the critically acclaimed wines of ‘05 and ’09, 2008 has long been overshadowed and has accordingly become a vintage loaded with affordable, perfectly evolving wines. For those seeking amazing value, these are the wines to jump on—they have not once failed me when I’ve flaunted their worth in a blind tasting. At 12, coming up on 13, years of age, they have entered a long-lasting sweet spot. 


In 1932, Bordeaux wine merchants came together with the backing of their local Chambers of Commerce and Agriculture to create a prestigious list of standout estates, the “Cru Bourgeois.” You’ll find a large number of châteaux—Coutelin-Merville among them—holding this quality designation throughout Haut-Médoc, but don’t mistake that for easy club access: Each member is reviewed annually by an overseeing board that puts them through a rigorous three-stage evaluation process. 


Owned and passed down by the Estager family since 1904, Chateau Coutelin-Merville is a humble estate that oversees 25 hectares of vines throughout Saint-Estèphe, with some parcels wedged between Montrose and Cos d’Estournel! One of Coutelin-Merville’s secrets to crafting delicious wines is a heavy proportion of Merlot (~50%) followed by roughly equal parts Cabernets Sauvignon and Franc. Another is a patient, delicate touch in the winery: a cool fermentation takes place over a three-week period in concrete vessels and then 18 months of aging is carried out in French barrels, 20% new. 


In the glass, Coutelin-Merville’s 2008 Grand Vin reveals all the hallmarks of exquisite, 10-15-year-old Saint-Estèphe. The core is a vibrant garnet moving out to a hazy, lighter-red rim and it only takes about 30 minutes in a decanter to unlock its savory aromatic portal: red plum, dried black cherry, dried rose petal, currant, dusty herbs, cedar, pencil lead, clove, tobacco, wet gravel, pepper, and vintage leather. Coming in at 12 years old, this superb Left Bank Bordeaux is in the prime of its life, flaunting a heavy proportion of lushly textured Merlot with the structured secondary flavors of Cabernets Sauvignon and Franc in the backdrop. It’s medium-plus in body, and still impressively firm with a tannic grip and savory mineral core propelling it into a supple finish. Intricate layers, refinement, savory grip—that’s what I want in maturing Bordeaux, and at this price, it’s worth making room for a case. It’ll keep over the next 5-10 years with ease!




Château Coutelin-Merville, Saint-Estèphe Bordeaux, France 2008 - SommSelect

  • CountryFrance
  • RegionBordeaux
  • Sub-RegionSaint-Estèphe
  • SoilCalcareous Clay & Gravel
  • FarmingSustainable
  • BlendMerlot w/ Cabernet Sauvignon & Franc
  • Alcohol14%
  • OakFrench Barrels, 20% New

  • CountryFrance
  • RegionBordeaux
  • Sub-RegionSaint-Estèphe
  • SoilCalcareous Clay & Gravel
  • FarmingSustainable
  • BlendMerlot w/ Cabernet Sauvignon & Franc
  • Alcohol14%
  • OakFrench Barrels, 20% New
  • Temp.Serve at 65° F
  • GlasswareBordeaux Stem
  • DrinkingNow-2030
  • Decanting30+ Minutes
  • PairingStrip Steaks with Green Peppercorn Sauce