Château Balestard la Tonnelle, Saint-Émilion Grand Cru 2004

Bordeaux Blend|Saint-Émilion, Bordeaux

A lovely, classic Right Bank claret, perfectly aged and ready to go.

Owned and run by Jacques Capdemourlin, the latest in a multi-generational family heritage in Saint-Émilion reaching back to the mid-17th century. Château Balestard la Tonnelle is one of the original estates in Saint-Émilion – ancient records show the historic estate stretching back to the 1400s, likely overseen by Benedictine monks at that time. Indeed the historic tonnelle (tower) has its origins in the church. The tower sits right in the middle of the vineyards to this day, the oldest standing structure in Saint-Émilion!

The blend here is classic “right bank”: 70% Merlot, 25% Cabernet Franc and 5% Cabernet Sauvignon. The wine is fermented in a blend of cement tank and steel, then transferred to French oak hewn from the nearby forests and aged for 16-18 months. What you get in the glass is an absolute classic, perfectly aged, and splendid. Roasted game, raspberry cream, dried cherry compote, spent cigar, bunches of sweet herbs, and a hint of clove-cinnamon spice on the soft, velvety finish. Lovely!

The one and only Michel Rolland is consulting oenologist, the hot-commodity winemaker who imprints a masterful touch on all the wines he makes, from four-figure Napa Cabernets to small châteaux like this.

2004 was a “sleeper” vintage, long coveted by savvy collectors and restaurants for their outstanding value/quality ratio. Jancis Robinson calls 2004 Bordeaux “the last affordable vintage...the best really are that rare breed: classic claret.” Being overlooked has its advantage! Sandwiched between the equally-outstanding 2003 and 2005 vintages, the 2004 vintage slipped under the radar, and we’re passing the opportunity right along. We secured a sizable amount but you never know, so grab what you like now!

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