José Peñín’s Selection (94 Points)
I have always had a special interest in exploring those small neighbouring territories of Medoc lands of Grand Cru Classé (Margaux, St. Estèphe, Pauillac) with the quality of their soils that could live up to the level of the greatest wines and with a more decorous price, letting us save the fame toll. Chateau Belgrave is the best example, in addition, with historic advantage of being classified in Grand Cru Classé groups. The chateau is located in Saint Laurent-Medoc town, the borders of which are limited by Pauillac and Saint Julien. Its name already indicates the type of its soil: Belgrave, “beautiful gravels”, indisputable factor of its grapes guaranteed maturity.
Why have I chosen it?
Because of the values that I most appreciate in Medoc wines: its tannins elegance, due to its subtlety and power combination, Medoc well-known unmistakable features. Its history is also very typical of Bordeaux, the chateau of which was, as a large number of them, a hunting lodge before the hounds businessmen of XIX century convinced their noble owners to turn this property into vineyards and chateaux. The traditional Medoc red is austere, with marked tannins and a feeling of lack of maturity in the bottle. In contrast, Chateau Belgrave, despite its body and intense colour, the mixture of a greater Merlot proportion, in a territory where Cabernet Sauvignon reigns, provides fruit and tannic softness, which my Spanish readers will understand better.
Harvest: The unquestionable rule of selecting plots and homogeneous berries has been followed in order to obtain better identification of the varieties, with grape classification on manual selection tables.
Vinification: Grapes pre-maceration in cold is carried out for 5-6 days, depending on each plot characteristics. The fermentation takes place between 5 and 9 days with Pigeage (slow extraction of grape fruit and tannic expression) per day.
Ageing: 14 months in new barrels could produce certain wood notes excesses, however, the delicate use of fine lees during the process allows to extract the most positive features of ageing: creaminess and thin oak toasted nuances, as well as spice hints.
Advices: Medoc red wines are sometimes slightly hermetic while uncorking, which does not happen in all the bottles. However, if the wine seems closed when smelling, I suggest pouring it into a jug ten minutes before tasting.