Chateau Sociando Mallet, AOC Haut-Medoc, Bordeaux, France, 2012
The property is situated in the Haut-Medoc some 3.5 km north of the village of St-Estephe. It has a pedigree of high quality, in the same league as some cru classé, but has always been, by choice, outside the lesser cru bourgeois system, not even appearing in the earliest 1932 classification. The vineyard was expanded from 7ha in 1969 to 57ha by 2000 by the new owner Jean Gautreau. Plantings in order of importance are cabernet sauvignon, merlot, cabernet franc and petit verdot.
This wine: a blend of 55% cabernet sauvignon, 40% merlot, with cabernet franc; fermented in tank, matured in oak, long natural cork closure, 13% abv, en France, €25 (12/2016)
Consumer tasting note: a nose of lightly high-toned red and black berries coalescing into spicy blackcurrant, along with stewed plum, cedar, liquorice and smoke; medium bodied, tannins a bit strident, needing a couple of years to round, with a concentration of black berries, cedar and liquorice flavours to support this, mirrored in the long length. Decant for a couple of hours.
WSET style tasting note
Appearance: clear and bright, deep intensity ruby, showing tears.
Nose: clean, medium (+) intensity, developing, with aromas as they come, of slighty high-toned red and black berries with a creamy edge, cedar and spice, black berry, stewed red plum, ripe black currrant, touches of vanilla and sweet oak, hints develop into black liquorice with a touch of tar, touches of sweet smoke, toast and beeswax.
Palate: dry, medium (+) acidity, medium (+) fine-grained yet grippy tannins, medium (+) alcohol and medium body, medium (+) intensity, with flavours of ripe black currant, black berry, baked black berries, cedar and oak undertones, touch of liquorice. A long length, with a clean moderately grippy toasty-black berried finish.
Quality: very good quality, tannins need a little time to round out, well-integrated oak, better than decent intensity and flavour concentration, follow into a better length, showing a good level of complexity from time in wood and bottle.
Drinking readiness/ageing potential: can drink now, would benefit from another 1-2 years for the balance to improve vis-a-vis the tannins to resolve a little more, and could develop for another 2-3 years, so a beneficial cellaring potential of say 5 years.