Wine Words & Video Tape

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Bordeaux 2020: Château Tertre Rôteboeuf

Written by JW. Posted in Bordeaux

François Mitjavile has been making some of the most remarkable St Emilion across the past three decades from his tiny 5.7 hectare vineyard at Château Tertre Rôteboeuf. He has also blazed a trail in the Côtes de Bourg with Roc de Cambes. The 2020 vintage was the earliest that François had encountered at Tertre Rôteboeuf, starting 21st September, and then approximately ten days later at Roc de Cambes. The wines have a wonderful texture and freshness and are both super impressive. I’m also including here notes on L’Aurage, the Castillon property run by Louis and Caroline Mitjavile. This is a huge success in this vintage too, alongside many wines I’ve tasted from Castillon in 2020. L’Aurage is a wonderfully layered and seductive wine.

According to François Mitjavile’s vintage report, after a wet spring, the summer was hot and dry, benefitting from some storms in mid-August, with severe hot spells in September which did cause some dehydration in the foliage and the berries. There was density to the fruit and concentration, although the rain showers and cooler temperatures that later prevailed until harvest, softened the tannins and acidity of this otherwise dense vintage here on the right bank. François sees 2020 as is a fine vintage, with long-term potential, but which will also show well in its youth.

The following wines were tasted in April 2020, from samples flown to the UK.

Domaine de Cambes, Côtes de Bourg, 2020

Dark and meaty looking; lush; super depth; black fruits; earthier; ripeness; lots going; real mouthful; marzipan; kirsch; black fruits; blueberries along with some rose hip; quite a zip of freshness to this. Real life on the palate; alcohol for sure; quite heady style but still has a fresh air feel to it. 2024-2030. 89-91+

Roc de Cambes, Côtes de Bourg, 2020

Deep earthy purple red; opaque at centre; legs; lovely lush, violet scented fruit; oak quite dominant; vanilla pods; plums; blueberries; layers of fruit; opens up on the nose; lots of black fruits; minerality behind; lovely lush fruit on the entry; soft tannins but plenty of extract; supple; some freshness again; zap and tingle on the palate; lovely wine. Plenty of style. Black cherry and chocolate notes on the finish. Lots going on here. Length on the end. Drink 2025-2035. 93-94+

L’Aurage, Castillon – Côtes de Bordeaux, 2020

Dark; red purple at edge; beautiful purity; wonderfully ripe fruit; creamy black plums; deep; layered; violet scented; lovely on the palate; creamy and ripe fruit; this is layered & seductive Castillon – bold too; lots of sweet extract on the finish. This has a lot going on and tremendous potential. Drink 2026-2038. 92-94+

Château Le Tetre Rôteboeuf, St Emilion Grand Cru, 2020

Deep earthy purple at edge; opaque at centre; wow – lovely aromatics – fresh black plums and black cherries; great freshness and life; super jolie; seductive yet really focused; lovely life and joy on the palate; really super and caressing; a beauty; lovely texture to the tannins and finesse on the palate; despite the concentration and the fruit; this remains nimble; some black chocolate notes on the finish. Epic and caressing, with a real brightness. Excellent length. Drink 2025-2040. 96-97+

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