Wine Words & Video Tape

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Château Saint-Pierre

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Address: 33250 St Julien-Beychevelle

Telephone: +33 (0)5 56 59 08 18

E-mail: domainemartin@wanadoo.fr

Website: www.domaines-henri-martin.com

An estate that dates back to sixteenth century, Château Saint-Pierre it gained its name when in 1767 the vineyard came into the possession of Baron de Saint-Pierre. Classified as a fourth growth in the 1855 classification, in 1922 the estate was separated from the chateau when vineyards were acquired by Belgian wine merchants. The property was eventually reunited in 1982 by the late Henri Martin, who also established Château Gloria, and is now run by his daughter and son-in-law.

Château Saint-Pierre is slightly different in style to stablemate Château Gloria. It is more serious, structured and longer term and there’s a bit more Cabernet in the blend here. For me St Pierre is one of the appellations best wines, very homogeneous and usually released at a sensible price. 2009 and 2010 are splendid here but vintages like 2006 and 2008, very much cheaper, are really worth considering.

Vineyard/Terroir: 17 hectares on Garonne gravel planted with 75% Cabernet Sauvignon, 15% Merlot and 10% Cabernet Franc.

Winemaking/Elévage: Traditional winemaking followed by 14 months age in barrel, 60% new.

Tasting notes:

  • 2015 Deep and dark; fresh purple at edge; very seductive blackcurrant fruit and pain grillé notes on the nose; cassis and blackcurrant notes; plenty of fruit on the palate; real middle; enjoying the harmony here. Nice chew on the finish. The most impressive St Julien at the UGC tasting. [75% Cabernet Sauvignon, 19% Merlot, 6% Cabernet Franc, 50% new oak]. Drink 2022-2035. 93-95+
  • 2014 Deeply coloured; tight to the rim; vibrant at edge; beautiful Cabernet on the nose; cassis and blackcurrant notes; very pure and perfumed too; beautiful cabernet on the palate; really caressing and nicely judged; cool and layered with depth but great precision. Fabulous length and extract. Acidity balanced. 78% Cabernet Sauvignon, 16% Merlot, 6% Cabernet Franc. 50% new oak. Harvest dates 25-29/9 for Merlot, 6-10/10 for Cabernets. Drink 2022-2035. Tasted UGC 31 March, 2015. 93-95+
  • 2013 Deep and saturated look; bright at edge; blackcurrants; sweet toasty aromatics – nicely integrated and attractive; cool entry to the palate; fresh acids here [as at sibling Gloria]; perhaps a little compact but has nice chew if rather sappy. [74% Cabernet Sauvignon, 18% Merlot, 8% Cabernet Franc 50% new oak, 12.9%]. 87-89+
  • 2012 Deep colour; earthy, sexy Cabernet tones with tobacco and spices; really attractive aromatics with lovely blackcurrant fruit; similar ripe fruit tones on the palate in a mid-weight style. Some tannin to resolve at the back but this is very good wine. Drink 2017-2028. 92+ UGC Oct ’14 [Earlier note] Deep and saturated look; blackcurrants and black cherry; freshness; chewy palate; density and material; pretty classic with lots of fruit and extract but fruit is there. Good effort potentially. 90-92 Tasted UGC Thursday April 11, 2013 [Earlier note] Deep and dark; nice blackcurrant notes; depth; good purity; similarly pure blackcurrant tones on the palate; nice and clean and will fill out. Mid-weight and nicely done. 78% Cabernet Sauvignon, 22% Merlot 60% new oak. Tasted UGC Tuesday April 9, 2013. 89-91+
  • 2011 Mid depth; attractive blackcurrant fruit; some pencil and really rather full [one of the best St Juliens on the day]; clean blackcurrant fruit on the palate; very clean and pure. Complete. Good length. Drink 2018-2028. 90+ UGC Oct ’13 [Earlier note] Deep and saturated look; tight to the rim; wonderfully full nose with lots of blackcurrants, sweet lift and purity with layers; very good nose; palate sweet and ripe with loads of blackcurrants; some chew and angularity at the back and this feels a dense and structured effort. Tannin a little firm but loads of fruit here, good length and extract. Tasted twice at UGC. 90-92+ Apr ’12 UGC primeur tasting
  • 2010 Deep and saturated looking; lovely seductive blackcurrant aromatics; really perfumed and pure; aromas leap from the glass; terrific stuff; aromatically top notch; cool Cabernet texture to the palate; layers and purity; real class and depth here. Fabulous effort from Saint-Pierre. Terrific wine. For me ties with Léoville-Poyferré for top St Julien at this stage. Drink 2018-2035. 97+ MW Institute Nov ’14 [Earlier note] Deep and saturated looking; quite seductive nose; layers; nicely handled elévage; cassis and blackcurrant fruit here; palate intense, focused and fresh; acid here with the structure. Quite chewy and saturated with a grippy finish. Another that needs ten years. 93+ UGC Oct ’12 [Earlier] Dense core, saturated; layered and plush nose; satiny and silky note; cream and cassis’ attractive and very good; good palate, fresh but intense and creamy notes; good seam of flavour and positive tannin. Settled. Good depth and creamy. Nice. 92-94/100 Tasted 5 April 2011. [Second tasting] Deep and dark; ripe and attractive; quite layered nose; real ripeness here, lots of stuffing; palate some perfume and density; this should fill out further; little acid and some grip to. Chewy. Will settle. Pretty good. Often underrate this young. 92-94+/100 Tasted 7 April 2011 UGC
  • 2009 Deep, dense; lovely purity here; lovely Cabernet; this is right behind the Leovilles for my money; beautiful, pure St Julien; real depth to the palate and class; blackcurrants; tannin and pretty long-term. Wonderful stuff and still a great buy for the quality [half the price of Poyferre]. Drink now – 2030. 97/100 MW Institute Nov ’13 [Earlier] Deep, dark, plummy purple colour, tight to the rim; legs; really opulent cassis blackcurrant notes on the nose; deep and intense, wonderful ripeness and purity here; really this has put on weight since I first tasted it; real density and ripeness and class now; lots of layers and density. Deep and rich – almost cake-like with spices. This promises to be a tremendous wine. Knocking on the door of the Leovilles Barton and Poyferre in 2009 I reckon, though less overtly powerful. 94-96+/100 UGC Oct ’11 [Earlier] Mid depth and purple at edge; freshness; little unsettled quality to the nose; sturdy; less concentrated than the two Leovilles tasted; palate pretty and floral; slightly higher toned; lacks the depth of the great wines here but should fill out and knit together and deserve a higher score. 88+/100 Tasted 30th March & 1st April ’10 UGC primeur tasting
  • 2008 Pretty deep and serious looking; depth, cassis, blackcurrants – pretty serious. Some seductive qualities and pretty deep and layered nose; nice blackcurrant cassis; deep; feels quite fresh with a pretty dry finish. Plenty of guts here though to make it work. Drink now – 2028. 90+ MW Institute Nov ’12 [Earlier] Deep red, blacker at core; legs; some purple at edge; very classy nose, strong blackcurrants and cassis, very pretty, quite pent up and lots of layers and attractive too; some mocha at the back; real ripeness here on the palate, very layered and lots of flesh and material, very well done. Pretty big wine actually with lots of extract and tannin, but fine and not at all dry. Should develop well. Maybe a trifle short at the end but otherwise excellent and I think this will fill out in bottle. 90-92/100 Nov ’10 tasted Ch. Gloria [Earlier] Dense in colour; tight to rim, purple at edge; meaty looking; some stalky Cabernet on the nose, quite a strong wine; opens up well in the glass; good structure on the palate with intensity, blackcurrants; good length; strong and well made. 60% new oak but it’s been soaked up by the fruit.  [81% Cabernet Sauvignon, 19% Merlot].  90+/100
  • 2007 Mid red, slightly greater depth; blackcurrants, cassis, quite round, some tobacco, layered and good; more structured on the palate with some grip and more extract here. Pretty good. 88+/100 MW Institute Nov ’11 [Earlier] Mid red; some stalky notes on nose; sturdy; quite dry and stalky feel; will need time; feels backward; Palate dry and tannic. Some coffee and Italianate notes. Not bad but need 5-10 years to come together. 86/100 UGC London tasting Oct ‘09
  • 2006 Deep and dense; dark up to edge; fresh, red fruits, strawberries and impressive; intense and pent up with blackcurrants and cassis notes; good clean, classic blackcurrant flavours; well made wine, good and fresh; good extract here with intensity and chew; really very good mid palate punch here; an attractive wine with good length and grip. Strong wines being made here recently. 90-92/100 MW Institute Nov ’10.

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