This morning Chateau Cantemerle 2017 has released, a perennial value proposition. In 2017 it has been awarded 89-91 points from the Wine Advocate, of it Lisa Perrotti-Brown states ‘2017 Cantemerle gives up lovely crushed black and red currants notes with hints of kirsch, underbrush and cinnamon stick plus a waft of roses…. it is elegantly expressed and finishes with beautiful harmony.’ James Suckling has awarded it an excellent 93-94 points, with Neal Martin awarding it 88-90 saying ‘The 2017 Cantemerle has quite a sultry bouquet with blackberry, damp earth and tobacco scents that reluctantly unfurl in the glass…There is a powdery texture to this Cantemerle, quite long on the finish even if it is missing the refinement of a top vintage.’ These scores place it among their finest ever vintages, exceeding the 2015 and a notch behind the 2016, to which it is released at a 5% reduction, which due to its consistent pricing structure is attractive. The release price today is £245 per case of 12, or £122.50 per case of six.
As can be seen from the table below, the 2005, which is lower scoring than the 2017, trades today at £350 per case of 12, while the similar scoring 2009 trades for £320. The only exception being the 2010, which has the fabled score from Robert Parker. As such the 2017 release today offers an opportunity to secure it on release, with the similar scoring 2005, 2009 and 2010 vintages trading at a 37.5% premium. As big fans of Cantemerle and its recurrent price vs quality ratio, the 2017 is another vintage worth buying and cellaring. With a Price Over Points Ratio of 24.5 and a bottle price of £20 there is a lot to like, particularly given its ability to be enjoyed young, yet age for decades.
Cantemerle’s history extends to the Middle Ages when it formed part of the fortifications defending the Medoc. Wine has been produced on this site since the 14th Century and in 1579 the Chateau was purchased by the Villeneuve-Durfort family. Today the Estate is in the stewardship of Le Groupe (Les Mutuelles d’Assurance du Bâtiment et des Travaux Public) who purchased it in 1981 and began investing heavily, rebuilding the cuvier, repairing the chai and embarking on a replanting scheme which results in an average vine age today of 30 years. The Estate boasts 87 hectares and is cultivated with 50% Cabernet Saugvignon, 40% Merlot and an additional 5% Cabernet Franc and 5% Petit Verdot. The wine is aged in 40-50% new French oak for 14 months and the Estate produces 25,000 cases a year.
Cantemerle is renowned for rich concentrated fruit flavours of blackberry and plum, with delicate brioche and toast, developing a lovely nose of forest floor and liquorice with age.
In addition, this morning Chateau Gazin has released, a chateau whose wine normally punches above its price point. Not this year sadly, choosing to release at £700 per case of 12. This represents a meagre 2.8% reduction on 2016, which to our mind is a vastly superior vintage for Gazin. As can be seen from the table below, the 2017 with its score of 89-91+ from the Wine Advocate won’t be blazing a path of glory in 2017. The 2015 can be bought for £630 and the brilliant 2010, £780. There is almost no incentive to buy it on release, other than to continue a vertical, or if you – as we do – love Gazin, love conquers all.
Further to Chateau Gazin, Chasse Spleen has released at £260 per case of 12, a 4% reduction to the 2016. With a score of 82-84 from the Wine Advocate and 89-90 for James Suckling, the price is ambitious, a trait that can often be admired.
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