“M-R”, Vin de France Rouge
“M-R” comes from a 1.5-ha parcel of sandy clay-limestone in the nearby commune of St-Christophe-des-Bardes, planted equally to Cabernet Franc and Merlot. Instead of folding it into their flagship Saint-Emilion—a viable option given the vineyard’s location within the appellation—they decided to produce something more youthfully accessible to complement their range. Thus, “M-R” undergoes a fermentation and aging in stainless steel, and is labeled simply as a Vin de France. Despite its gentler extraction and breezier personality, it still offers lifted, floral aromas, a depth of black, plummy fruit and a fresh mineral snap with finely rendered tannins that underline its origin in a great terroir.
“Clos Petit-Corbin”, Saint-Émilion Grand Cru
The estate’s second wine provides a supple, beguiling counterpoint to the flagship cuvée’s muscular classicism. Comprised entirely of Merlot—partly from a one-hectare plot in the dark-sand soils of Corbin, and partly from a hectare in Fortin—Clos Petit-Corbin displays the sheer elegance the variety can achieve in this appellation. Florent and Danielle employ no new wood here, and a small portion of the wine remains in tank during the élévage, thereby further emphasizing its purity and drinkability. What strikes the drinker about this wine is its sense of grace: this is not Merlot forced into some caricature of voluptuousness or gym-pumped into an awkward imitation of Cabernet; rather, it revels comfortably in its lip-smacking red-fruited prettiness. It’s the kind of wine that can only be produced here, and only by growers who are able to fully trust noble Merlot to be its truest self.
Saint-Émilion Grand Cru
Tradition reigns at Château Haut-Segottes. Harvest is manual; fermentation takes place in cuve; wines are rotated into barrel for an élevage of 18 months; approximately 20% of the barrels are new; wines are bottled unfiltered. Although the majority of the vineyards are planted to Merlot, the ultimate cuvée bottled as Saint-Émilion Grand Cru features a majority of Cabernet Franc. This dominance of Cabernet Franc, frequently on the order of 65%, produces a wine of considerable structure and is exceptionally age-worthy.
“La Dame”, Saint-Émilion Grand Cru
“La Dame” is made from a selection of their very best grapes from the excellently situated “lieu-dits” of Fortin (across from La Dominique and 300 meters from Cheval Blanc). Composed of their typical, roughly 50/50 blend of Cabernet Franc and Merlot, the wine is fermented and aged in barrel (100 % new) for 18 months before being bottled. This cuvée has an extra degree of concentration and richness compared to the more delicate style of their classic Saint-Émilion. This wine is formidable and structured, ideally built for some cellaring, and will reward those who have the patience to set some aside.