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Jürade de Saint-Émilion: Singapore

February 21, 2019

IMG-20181128-WA0014.jpgThe Jürade de Saint-Émilion is the oldest wine brotherhood in the world, formed in 1199 to act as custodians of wine production in Saint-Émilion on behalf of the English crown. This commune, in turn, may trace its origins as far back as the second century when viticulture was first introduced by the Romans and, subsequently, in the eighth century when Émilion the Benedictine monk, famed for his feats of miracles, moved from Brittany to found a monastic town that eventually became Saint-Émilion, culminating in the construction of the Monolithic Church in the early twelfth century which still stands today. The function and tradition of the ancient Jürade continued until the French Revolution of 1789 when it was dissolved. It would not be until 1948 when several winegrowers came together to resurrect the Jürade as a band of global ambassadors for the wines of Saint-Émilion. In case you’re wondering why Saint-Émilion needs any further promotion, it would be worth remembering that this commune of 27 square kilometres houses more than 600 different winegrowers (plus another 500 if one includes its satellite regions of Puisseguin, Lussac, Montagne and Saint-Georges) across a multitude of differing microclimates, such that the usual names one encounters account for barely a fraction of the production available. The reality hit me when I discovered that, with the exception of Ch Angelus, I had never come across any of the wines at the inception of the Singapore Chapter of the Jürade de Saint-Émilion on 29 November 2018 at Marina Bay Sands, Singapore, led by our very own Chancellor Melvin Choo and graced by the Jürade’s Commandeur Hubert de Boüard de Laforest (famously of Ch Angelus) as well as the respective vignerons from each of the châteaux listed below. I found the wines to be very well crafted, layered with ripe fruit and possessing very fine minerality and acidity with great balance. It’s quite a wonder that they still remain “undiscovered”, a testament to the very stiff competition in the real world of wine business. Do look out for these labels from your local retailer.

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Champagne Forget-Brimont Brut NV Premier Cru. Quite minerally on the nose but shy. Good concentration of dried pears and gentle white fruits with an attractive depth of dark fruits, just a little short.

2016 Château Lanbersac Cuvée Or Rouge. Soy, dark plums and licorice dominate. Bold and minty with a slight vegetal tinge, showing good concentration and linearity. A blend of predominantly merlot and cabernet france with some malbec, vinified Madame Francoise Lannoye at its 22-ha estate in Puisseguin Saint-Émilion.

2015 Château La Rose Côtes Rol. Dryish tones of mushrooms and Chinese tea leaves. Ample presence of dark red fruits and mulberries, very well-integrated with lively acidity. Good finish. Made by Pierre Mirande.

2015 Château Mangot. Effusive bouquet of ripe raspberries and strawberries amid overtones of chocolate, enamel and vanilla, highly attractive. Lovely supple fullness with excellent concentration, layered with very fine acidity and intensity of fruit, all very well-integrated with subtle detail. Excellent. Made by brothers Karl and Yann Todeschini focusing on low yields that bring about smaller riper berries, Ch Mangot may trace its roots back to 1556. Impressive.

2014 Château Coutet. Some early evolution in colour with a lightly accented bouquet of fresh wild berries. Good agile presence with an abundance of mulberries amid transparent textures, structured with gentle sweet tannins, just a tad short. Highly elegant. Ch Coutet has been family-owned since 1601.

2014 Château Pindefleurs. Glow of warm ripe plums. Medium-bodied with a juicy succulence, highly supple with seamless subtle acidity. Great freshness and charm, finishing with good persistence. Lovely. Originally a Carthusian monastery that was acquired by Dominique Laurent in 2006, the winemaker is supervised by Stephane Derenoncourt.

2014 Château Moulin Gaihaud. Good lift of ripe raspberries and dark cherries. Soft and gentle on the palate, structured with seamless acidity and sweet tannins that offer gritty detail. Very fine. Founded in 1901, this estate is now run by its third generation owner Jean-Francois Gailhaud while Michel Rolland supervises the winemaking.

2012 Château De Pressac. Some early evolution is evident, exuding broad swathes of warm red fruits, rose petals and red currants with a sweet open expanse across the palate, displaying excellent ripeness and intensity of fruit, finishing with good linearity. As the name Pressac indicates, there is a dash of malbec in the blend. Located in Saint-Etienne-de-Lisse, east of Saint-Emilion, this very property is the exact place where the English surrendered in the Hundred Years’ War (1337-1453), now owned by Jean-Francois Quenin.

2011 Château Laroze. Rich vermillion hue. Good presence of red fruits and currants, highly supple, layered with subtle intensity and acidity. Quite seamlessly integrated. Founded in 1882, now managed by Guy Meslin.

2008 Château Guadet. Sophisticated bouquet of dark violets, blueberries and black fruit. Equally engaging on the palate, teasing the senses with lovely subtle intensity of fruit amid svelte detailed tannins, very fine in concentration and acidity. Superbly balanced. Excellent, all for a fraction of the cost of a premier grand cru classé A. Founded in 1844, this estate is managed by Vincent Lignac.

2011 Château Angelus. Expectations are high for any Angelus and this wine doesn’t disappoint, opening with a generous expanse of cool ripe fruits layered with mulberries, dark currants and blackberries, lifted with excellent concentration, fleshing out with fine open intensity within pliant supple tannin structures. Highly elegant and sophisticated.

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With Commandeur of the Jürade de Saint-Émilion Hubert de Boüard de Laforest

And, of course, we brought more of our own Saint-Émilion for dinner to accompany the excellent cuisine prepared by the team from Daniel Boulud…

2002 Château Pavie Macquin, courtesy of Vic. Faint evolution at the rim. The nose is simply quite bequiling, an attractive blend of ripe red fruits, blackberries and dark currants that carried well onto the palate with a cedary floor. Medium-full, fleshy and rounded, structured with supple pliant tannins as more of delicious dark currants emerge to the fore over time.

2001 Château Figeac, courtesy of Kieron. Generous expanse of delicious dark fruits, classically structured, very open and softly textured, imparting a mild gentle intensity.

2000 Château Figeac, courtesy of CHS. Showing some evolution in colour, this wine exudes an interesting light nose of morning dew, clear citrus and light red fruits matched by a medium-bodied presence of feminine grace, softness and gentle intensity, very well-integrated, finishing well. Lovely.

1995 Château Tertre Roteboeuf, courtesy of LF. Dusky red. Mild herbal medicinal tones and licorice dominate on the bouquet whilst the palate is softly rounded and highly supple, exuding quiet intensity with a lovely depth of ripe fruit amidst dusty textures. Excellent.

1995 Château Ausone, courtesy of LF. This wine opens with a greatly evolved hallowed glow of an aged claret, fleshing out with great definition and focus on the palate, amply layered with cool ripe fruit that exude sublime acidity with subtle intensity, very supple and elegantly structured. Excellent.

2018-11-29 22.51.59

 

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