Comtesse Saint-Hilaire, AOC Montagne Saint-Emilion, Gironde, Nouvelle Aquitaine, France, 2015
On AOC Montagne Saint-Emilion (MSE)
The largest of the four red only and merlot heavy satellite appellations of Saint-Emilion, at a little over 1600ha , the others being Saint-George (which may also use MSE), Lussac and Puisseguin. They all lie to the north of the east-west flowing La Barbanne river, with the appellations of Pomerol and St-Emilion to its south.
The Saint-George Saint-Emilion (SGSE) satellite lies within the southern part of MSE. SGSE and MSE seem to be generally regarded as producing the best wines of the four satellites, and all four are capable of higher quality than some St-Emilion GCs, many of which are commonplace. The topography is of a gentle slope rising northwards from the Barbanne valley and gently rolling hills beyond, with a clay topsoil and sub-soil of calcaire asteries (limestone with starfish fossil inclusions) .
There are ~220 growers in MSE, with ~23 contributing to a co-operative . Plantings in order of hectares, are: merlot, cabernet franc, cabernet sauvignon and malbec.
This wine: lot No. L2538/2016 (on capsule), a blend of 60% merlot with 20% each of cabernet franc and cabernet sauvignon, coated natural cork closure, 13.5% abv, The Co-Operative, £10 (12/18)
Consumer tasting note: another good value wine from The Co-operative, I have always said that their buyers know a thing or two. A pleasant food wine, medium bodied, with better than average complexity and length, showing a profile of black cherry and black currant, black liquorice, and touches of toast, black pepper and cedar. Finishes medium-long.
Drink now – RTD, but will keep for a year or two – Wait. Decant for 30 minutes.
WSET style tasting note
Appearance: clear and bright, deep intensity ruby, showing tears [no sediment].
Nose: clean, medium intensity, youthful, with aromas as they come, of black cherry with a creamy lactic nuance, black currant jam, a waxy edge, merest touch of toast, black liquorice, whiff of black pepper, touch of cedar.
Palate: dry, medium (+) acidity, ripe medium tannins, medium (+) alcohol, medium body, medium intensity, a smooth texture, with flavours of black currant, a little spice, touch of raisin, touch of cedar, just a hint of tobacco. A medium (+) length with a clean finish of black berries edged with raisin.
Quality: good, well-balanced acidity and ripe tannins with alcohol; modest intensity and concentration, showing better complexity from time in well-integrated oak and a little in bottle; finishes medium-long.
Drinking readiness/ageing potential: drink now, unsuited to further ageing, but will keep for 1-2 years – a sound structure and balance, some complexity, otherwise lacking.
- Montagne Saint-Emilion [online] accessed 23/02/19.
- Wilson, J.E. Terroir, pp.209-210. (1998). Wine Appreciation Guild.