Log In Sign Up

Château les Roches Blanches, Saint-ÉmilionBordeaux, France 2017 (750mL)

The Daily Offer

Château les Roches Blanches, Saint-Émilion Bordeaux, France 2017 (750mL)

Fruit
Earth
Body
Tannin
Acid
Alcohol

On a simple “how much wine you get for your money” basis, Bordeaux cannot be beaten. There’s too much history, too many economies of scale, and lately, too much investment for many other regions to mount a real challenge. Bordeaux is back in style in a big way, thanks in part to an injection of new life from ambitious families like the Cuveliers. 


Philippe Cuvelier, cited on the label of today’s succulent Saint-Émilion, is a Parisian entrepreneur who made his first foray into wine in 2001, when he acquired the prestigious Clos Fourtet in Saint-Émilion. Subsequent acquisitions have included Château Poujeaux in Moulis-en-Médoc and other Saint-Emilion gems: Château Les Grandes Murailles; Clos St. Martin; and Château Côte de Baleau. Upon tasting this 2017 and eagerly arranging to import it directly for the SommSelect faithful, we dug deeper into it: It reads “Les Roches Blanches” but the château pictured is Côte de Baleau, from which the wine hails. It is a little confusing—this wine, called “Château Les Roches Blanches,” is in fact sourced from the vineyards/crafted in the cellar of Château Côte de Baleau (a Saint-Émilion Grand Cru Classé). It’s part of the portfolio of wines previously overseen by Sophie Fourcade, who ran the entire Murailles/St. Martin/Côte de Baleau triumvirate. Her consulting enologist? The legendary Michel Rolland. Enter the Cuveliers in 2012, meanwhile, and they bring along their own superstar consultant, Stéphane Derenoncourt, to oversee their portfolio. The result? Wines like this transcendent, slightly unbelievable 2017. This is ultra-serious Right Bank Bordeaux, sleek and polished yet brimming with soil character. It is a world-beating deal, and you’ll only find it here!



The Cuveliers, who were newcomers to the wine business when they bought Clos Fourtet in 2001, should not be confused with another Bordeaux family named Cuvelier, which owns Château Léoville-Poyferré in Saint-Julien (among others). When the Clos Fourtet Cuveliers branched out in Saint-Émilion, the 18-hectare Côte de Baleau (on which 15 of those hectares are classified as “Grand Cru Classé”) was the largest estate of the trio, but as Bordeaux lovers know, that’s still minuscule by regional standards. As I said above, this is the château depicted on the label; its vineyards are planted to a mix of 80% Merlot, 15% Cabernet Franc, and 5% Cabernet Sauvignon, with vine age averaging out at an impressive 35 years. The property sits on a clay/limestone plateau just outside Saint-Émilion proper, right in the heart of the appellation.


Following a four-day “cold soak,” this 2017 was fermented in temperature-controlled concrete tanks, with a 2-3 week maceration on skins, then aged for a little over 12 months in a mix of new and used barriques. In terms of style, it displays its Derenoncourt/Rolland precision-crafted pedigree. The Merlot component jumps to the fore, to the point where I might have pegged it as a Pomerol; there isn’t any old-school “greenness” here, but a very dark-fruited core framed by silty, cocoa-powder tannins. It’s a deep ruby-purple in the glass, with aromas/flavors of juicy black plum, violet, licorice, cedar, tobacco, and humus. It shows as much savor (ground coffee/turned earth) as it does sappy, concentrated fruit, and the tannins are, as you might expect, about as fine as they come. It is genuinely elegant and truly soulful, only improving with 30 minutes in a decanter. Serve it in big Bordeaux stems with a decadent winter meal and don’t mention the price to your guests—it tastes plenty expensive, so let them think it is! Cheers!




Château les Roches Blanches, Saint-Émilion Bordeaux, France 2017 - SommSelect

  • CountryFrance
  • RegionBordeaux
  • Sub-RegionSaint-Émilion
  • SoilClay, Limestone
  • BlendMerlot 80%, Cabernet Franc 20%
  • Alcohol14%
  • OakNew & Used French Barrels

  • CountryFrance
  • RegionBordeaux
  • Sub-RegionSaint-Émilion
  • SoilClay, Limestone
  • BlendMerlot 80%, Cabernet Franc 20%
  • Alcohol14%
  • OakNew & Used French Barrels
  • Temp.Serve at 60-65° F
  • GlasswareBordeaux Stem
  • DrinkingNow-2027+
  • Decanting30 Minutes
  • PairingFilet Mignon w/ Bordelaise Sauce