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Château Cantemerle

Cantemerle label cu - Copy

Address: 33460 Macau

Telephone: +33 (0)5 57 97 02 82



Acquired in 1981 by a mutual insurance company [SMABTP] Château Cantemerle has made good value Bordeaux for thirty years.  Stylistically it resembles fine Margaux, the appellation to which the property borders. The 1983 tasted in the late 1980s was fantastic and the 1987 from memory was soft and reasonable from that rain affected year. The 2009 and 2010 are excellent and the 2012 is very good for the vintage. The 2005 Château Cantemerle promises to be a good wine but it’s currently going through a disjointed, ugly duckling phase. Philippe Dambrine is the estate’s director. Second wine Les Allées de Cantemerle, which is usually pretty good. Prices are always consistent here for the grand vin (at around the £220-260 [$330-390] a case of twelve) and the great vintages like 2005, 2009 & 2010 are wines to buy in spades if you want to enjoy excellent Bordeaux at a reasonable price.

Vineyard/Terrior: 87 hectares under vine on quaternary silicious gravel, planted with 58% Cabernet Sauvignon, 33% Merlot, 6% Petit Verdot and 3% Cabernet Franc. Grapes hand picked and sorted

Winemaking/Elévage: Vineyard plots fermented separately. Aged in oak barrels for twelve to fourteen months, 40% of which are new.

Tasting notes:

  • 2015 Deep and arterial; saturated looking; very ripe and rich; succulence here but almost verging on the figgy; palate has purity and concentration; glossy; no hard edges to the ripe tannins; very ripe and full overall; joyful, lush and low acid style. [59% Cabernet Sauvignon, 27% Merlot, 8% Cabernet Franc, 6% petit Verdot, 40% new oak, 13.7% alc]. Drink 2022-2032. Tasted UGCB 5/4/16. 91-93
  • 2014 Deep colour; vibrant edge; vivid; bright and perfumed fruit; freshness; some cream and blackcurrants; freshness; blackcurrant and cream tones on the palate; black fruits; lots of texture and material; nice grip on the finish. 47% Cabernet Sauvignon, 38% Merlot, 9% Cabernet Franc, 6% Petit Verdot. 13% alc. Drink 2019-2030. Tasted UGC 31 March, 2015. 90-92+
  • 2013 Mid depth; translucent at centre – vibrant at edge; sweet fruit on the nose; some plum and cream; nice Bordeaux nose – appetizing; palate has some material; elegance here; lacks power but better for not being forced to try and attain something false; simplicity here. Sap on the finish. Well judged. [55% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot, 10% Cabernet Franc, 5% Petit Verdot]. Drink 2018-2025. Tasted UGCB April 2014. 87-88+
  • 2012 Deep and healthy looking; attractive round nose with some elegance and polish; blackcurrant fruit and some cassis; nice fruit on the palate, elegant and nicely balanced. Good vibrancy too. Good effort. 65% Cabernet Sauvignon, 36% Merlot, 6& Petit Verdot and 2% Cabernet Franc, 40% new oak. UGC Tuesday April 9, 2013 89-91+ Drink 2018-2025+
  • 2011 Deep and healthy looking; blackcurrant aromas; some cassis; grippy and chunky on the palate with a chewy finish. Acid and tannin dominates. Needs time but will probably still be austere and clipped. Don’t hurry to buy this – especially over their lovely ’09 and ’10 [at not much greater cost]. Drink 2016 – 2026. 86 UGC Oct ’13 [Earlier note] Deep and attractive looking; earthy tones, some coffee, little vegetal note, mealy, earthy quality with beetroot tones; palate oak a little obvious and rather astringent palate. Dry, austere and quite disjointed at the moment. May come together but a disappointing showing. Long way off the potential of the excellent wines here in ‘09/’10. Tasted UGC. 85-86? 2018-2025
  • 2010 Deep; wonderfully open sexy aromatics; blackcurrants, spices, plums and that pain grillé note; hint of undergrowth too; lovely and open; fantastic partner to Cantemerle’s ravishing 2009. Similar tones on the palate; perfumed and very Bordeaux; with more astringency and tension than ’09. Structure and matter here; tightness too which is attractive. Drink 2016-2030. 93+ MW Institute Nov ’14 [Earlier note] Deep and saturated look; textured nose with layers; blackcurrants, some coffee tones; attractive; not ’09 but this is very good; grippy palate but with lots of blackcurrant fruit, extract and acid – a mouthful. Classic with freshness, chew and good length. 91+/100 UGC Oct ’12 [Earlier] Dense and arterial; ripe; some floral notes, roses, violet [Margaux like], cassis and blackcurrants – nice overall; some cream and depth to the palate; rich and concentrated, good blackcurrant flavours, concentrated and tannic with good acid too. Grippy and tannic finish. Good in time 88-90/100 Tasted 5 April 2011 at UGC. [Second tasting] Thick and deep, ripe and smoky nose; thick and rich; attractive nose; lots of cassis and blackcurrant; thick and ripe, rich; lovely palate, lots of fruit here, lashings in fact. This should be good Very impressive. 89-91/100 Tasted 7 April 2011 at UGC Drink 2018-2030+
  • 2009 Dense and dark; colour tight to the rim; ripe blackcurrants; seductive; plums; pretty jam packed aromatically; palate full with earthy, blackcurrants, sap with lots of extract; very nicely handled and is progressing really well. Lots of life and promise if slight less extravagant than last showing. Remains an excellent effort. Drink 2018-2030. 92+ MW Institute Nov ’13 [Earlier note] Saturated, deep colour; wow! Lovely plush sexy nose; seductive and deep and immediately appealing; fabulous nose with some coffee/mocha at the back; Margaux like, velvet palate with violets and blackcurrants and some mocha. This is excellent and tremendous value. Buy this in spades if you see it about. This is the best Cantemerle I’ve ever had. 94+/100 UGC Oct ’11 [Earlier] Very deep purple and inky up to edge; very attractive nose; deep and seductive; particularly supple but concentrated; very attractive and very easy but with lots of fruit. Ripe and very good. Some coffee and mocha tones at the back. 90-92+/100 Tasted 30th March 2010. Drink now-2030+
  • 2008 Mid depth; stone fruits, boiled sweet note; quite clean and pure if simple; blackcurrant tones open up with aeration; lots of grip on the palate; acids quite strong at present; fruit is here and certainly freshness. Ugly duckling stage here. 87-88 MW Institute Nov ’12 [Earlier] Mid red, some earthy tinge; some earthy reductive tinge, some smoke and blackcurrants, also savoury notes and lift; palate quite structured with stalky Cabernet influence. Not bad effort though and should settle. 87/100 48% Cabernet Sauvignon, 37% Merlot, 8% Petit Verdot and 7% Cabernet Franc. Drink 2018-2025 UGC Oct ’09.
  • 2007 Good depth and colour; blackcurrants, freshness, though it feels a bit angular; clean nevertheless; and some spice, tobacco and blackcurrants beneath; quite good, though some hardness to the tannins which needs to resolve but overall clean, fresh and direct. Will come good – and may be worth drinking sooner rather than later whilst the fruit is there. 86+/100 MW Institute Nov ’11 [Earlier] Mid-red; stalky, quite angular; some blackcurrants but a hint of greenness; palate relatively soft and quite attractive; but still some firm rather angular tannins at the back. 84?/100 UGC Oct ‘09 Drink now -2020
  • 2006 Mid red, some development; more lift and interest than La Lagune, gutsy nose; some geranium edge here but quite dense; some coffee and dark chocolate; palate OKish, ripe notes, some blackcurrants, mid weight, acid and tannin here too! Needs time, currently disjointed. 86-87/100 Drink 2016-2020 MW Institute Nov ’10
  • 2005 Dense colour; some minerals, quite dumb and closed, slightly reductive streak and backward; later with aeration plummy blackcurrant fruit emerged;  concentrated palate, feels a little disjointed at present; certainly quite dense and structured and not that supple – quite vin de garde style infact. All fruit, acid and tannin at present. Will be very good I’m sure but ugly duckling now. Score reflects future potential. 88-90/100 Tasted June 2010. Drink 2015-2025+
  • 1997 Mid red, quite translucent at edge; oaky smoky charred nose, light flavours – almost Islay-ish[the single malt], earthy palate not unattractive but lacks oomph. Lacking concentration, but light and fully mature. 82/100 Oct ‘03 Drink up!

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