Grapelive: Wine of the Day June 23, 2021

2000 Chateau Pipeau, Saint Emilion Grand Cru, Red Bordeaux, France.
Pretty, but fading, this Chateau Pipeau 2000 shows a lovely array of dried flowers, red fruits and light cedary notes and a delicate velvety mouth feel, best to drink these bottles up if you have them as I am comfortably certain it is at the edge of the mountain top looking into the abyss and ready for the long good night. The color is still bright garnet at first, though after twenty minutes you see a slight brown tone emerge and a sous bois and earthy truffle presence takes over and the fruit dies away in stages. Before that happens things are serene and joyous on the palate with dusty plum, red berries, cherry and strawberry fruits unfolding with sandalwood, bay leaf, chanterelle, porporri and loam in a pure and silken fashion. I have been unconvinced by 2000s, feeling they have never lived up to the hype, especially the top wines of the Medoc, though that said I have found the right bank wines to be much more pleasing with Saint Emilion my favorite in this vintage. I have long said I prefer 2001s overall when it was a choice between Bordeaux 2000 and 2001, and while this wine is very nice, I am staying with my views and holding tight on my own opinion and have started to put my money where my mouth is, buying up a few less fanciful 2001s to enjoy now, this one being an exception and one I was happy with, even with the short drinking window once the cork was pulled.

The Grand Cru Saint Emilion estate, Chateau Pipeau, is a large, 25 hectare, Right Bank vineyard and is planted to about 90% Merlot, 5% Cabernet Franc and 5% Cabernet Sauvignon with many different parcels within the region. The terroir here is a mix of sand, gravel and clay soils which is pretty classic here in Saint Emilion appellation, which also has areas of limestone that provides more structure and quality, while the deeper clay gives a deep sense of fruit and concentration. Pipeau does their fermentations in temperature controlled stainless steel tanks using selected yeasts with the the wine seeing both primary and malo-lactic fermentation in the stainless vats before barrel aging in about 70% new oak for an elevage of close to 14 months, depending on the vintage. In some years, especially ripe years, a portion of the Cabernet Sauvignon will be aged in just stainless to add freshness and raw tannin to create more balance, which could be the case in a year like 2000, and most certainly in years like 2003, 2005 and 2009. Since 2000, Chateau Pipeau has become a popular address for quality and fair priced wines, savvy buyers have stocked up on Pipeau, they have gained a reputation for soft and elegant, fruit forward wines for mid term aging, and you can see why when you drink these attractive Saint Emilions, just be mindful not to hold them too long, my feeling is they are best between 5 to 15 years old.
($55 Est.) 87 Points, grapelive