The Holy Grail? Well, not quite, but finding the Bordeaux or Bordeaux Supérieur that knocks your socks off is a labor of love. I had heard that Domaine de Courteillac was worth investigating, so I gave the 2010 vintage a spin.
This 28-hectare estate located in Ruch, 14 km south of Castillon-la-Bataille, is owned by Dominique Meneret, former owner of Château Larmande, a Saint Emilion grand cru classé, and founder of the négociant firm of Ballande & Meneret, which he has since sold. The grape varieties are 70% Merlot, 20% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 10% Cabernet Franc. The wine is aged in oak: ½ in new barrels, and ½ in barrels used for one previous vintage. Stéphane Derenecourt is consulting enologist.
The 2010 is very dark and deep in color, more black than red.
The nose is soft and not very expressive, but features cherry-vanilla overtones. Still, it is a bit dumb, with some alcohol showing.
The wine starts out smooth and enveloping on the palate, but then goes into a dry, relatively short aftertaste. There’s a somewhat heavy mouthfeel and the 14.5% alc./vol. makes itself felt.
The grail will have to wait…
Will this wine improve markedly with age? I think not.
Don’t get me wrong: 2010 Domaine de Courteillac was a pleasure to drink with lunch midweek. But I had the impression that M. Meneret was trying a little too hard. The wine’s strength and oak influence are heavy-handed in light of the wine’s intrinsic flavor profile. I think the same wine made in a lighter, more easy-going style would have been more successful. I’ll be interested to tast future vintages of Domaine de Courteillac to see where it’s going.