Wine Words & Video Tape

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Château Charmail

charmail 2

Address: 33180 Saint-Seurin de Cadourne

Telephone: +33 (0)5 56 59 70 63



Charmail has to be one of the best wine values in Bordeaux. A wonderfully made Haut-Médoc; fresh, full of life and flavour which in certain vintages, like 2000, 2005 and 2009, Charmail operates at the level of the classed growths – quite remarkable for a relatively inexpensive wine. In 2008 Bernard D’Halluin bought the property from Olivier Sèze. 

Vineyard/Terrior: 34 hectares on a single plot on sloping terrain with a southerly aspect looking out to the Gironde estuary. Soils are clay gravel, sandy gravel and colluvium.

Winemaking/Elévage: Grapes following harvest are immediately cooled and given a pre-fermentation cold maceration, aimed at extracting softer tannins from the skins rather than the pips. Charmail pioneered this approach in Bordeaux, a technique which is also much used in Burgundy. Charmail is aged for twelve months in French oak barrels, approximately one third of which are new. The wine is racked only twice a year and is bottled unfined and unfiltered.

Tasting notes:

  • 2015 Deep colour; purple edge; nice, ripe fruit; some fig and prune; sweet ripe palate with some spice; concentration here but this property now doesn’t quite register the same excitement it used to. Goodish. Drink 2020-2025. Tasted Cru Bourgeois event at d’Arcins 7/4/16. 85-87
  • 2014 Deeply coloured; minerality; wet rock; depth; some plum and black cherry note; plum; nice palate; plenty of fruit and nice extraction; soft tannins; good stuff. Drink 2019-2028. Tasted 2 April, 15 Cru Bourgeois tasting at d’Arsac. 86-88+
  • 2013 Mid depth; earthy purple at edge; some wood; little reticent; light sour cherry tones; palate high toned and quite firm; feels a little hard on the finish. Drink 2017-2020. Tasted 3/4/14 at Cru Bourgeois tasting Chateau d’Arsac. 82-84
  • 2009 Deep black, arterial; cream, wet stone; ripe cassis too; chewy dense palate with good length. Very attractive, time will tell if it rivals the fantastic 2000. 88-90/100 May ‘10
  • 2005 Deep red/black; concentrated intense nose; cassis and nice oak; palate quite concentrated and tight. Very good but needs five years plus. Potentially excellent 88-90/100 Tasted April ‘10
  • 2004 Deep red/black; blackcurrants and oak on nose; palate little closed and tannic. Needs time. Less generous than ’03 and ’00 and drier less super ripe fruit. Given a  few years this should soften out. Drink from 2011-2018. 86+/100 June ‘09
  • 2003 Deep red/black; stony blackcurrant nose; dense palate; quite tannic and extracted though fruit ripe. Full and big. Not as complex as the 2000 at the same stage but with more oomph and body. Now to 2015 88+/100  Aug ‘09
  • 2000 Deep, earthy black red; dark at core; fabulously intense nose with earth, tobacco, meats and liquorice and a real savoury edge. Palate chewy and intense with coffee and mocha, olives and hints of espresso on the finish. Great. Easily Cru Classe quality, in fact poor man’s Chateau Lagrange in this vintage. Now to 2015. 90-92+/100 Mar ‘06
  • 1998 Deep red; smoky chary nose and tobacco development; mid weight wine, charming with some olives and blackcurrants on palate but lacks depth and richness; twist of tannins at end. Pleasant enough if lacking concentration. Now fully mature. 84-86/100 July ‘09

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