Screaming Value From Bordeaux’s Côtes de Francs

Today’s Story: Château Marsau

Château Marsau is a family owned and operated wine estate located in Bordeaux’s Côtes de Francs, purchased by the Chadronnier family (who are principals in the large négociant CVGB) in 1994. Today the property consists of 14 hectares (34 acres) on red and grey clay soils, with the vineyards planted to Merlot which excels here. Anne-Laurence and Mathieu Chadronnier run the estate today, with Ann-Laurence spearheading winemaking and Mathieu overseeing sales. Meticulous attention to detail is the name of the game in both vineyards and cellar, with each vine and plot carefully managed individually throughout the growing season. In the cellar, each plot receives its own attention and ages in French oak separately, ensuring the identity of each unique plot is maintained. New oak percentage varies by vintage, though often hovers around the 25% mark, and a small percentage of the vintage matures in amphora for a year before bottling. The Château Marsau portfolio consists of three wines, the Grand Vin which I am reviewing today, their second wine named Prélude, and an additional bottling named Prairie.

Today’s Wine: 2018 Château Marsau

100% Merlot; 14.5% ABV

The 2018 Château Marsau is deep ruby in color. I decanted this for two hours and drank it over the following two hours or so. The aromas are of medium (+) intensity, offering up gorgeous notes of blackberry, redcurrant, cherry, red plum, blueberry, licorice, clay, charred green herbs, cedar spill, chocolate, and coffee beans. Meanwhile the flavors are also of medium (+) intensity, with the palate showcasing notes of black cherry, blackcurrant, blueberry, redcurrant, sweet tobacco, anise, fennel, iron, charred green peppercorn, mocha, and mild baking spice. This dry red is medium- to full-bodied with medium acidity, medium (+) and grippy tannins, high alcohol, and a medium (+) length finish. Very good quality and has the structure to age well for another five to ten years.

Price: $36. This is a great value for Bordeaux, particularly given its balance and complexity at such a young age. Château Marsau also only produced 20% of their normal yield during 2018, unfortunately due to disease as they shifted to organic farming.

If this wine seems like something you might enjoy, you may find this link helpful in locating it. If you’re lucky, you could even find this closer to $30.

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