Domaine de Courteillac, Bx. Sup.

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.

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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.