2020 Chateau Grand Village – Societé Civile du Chateau Lafleur, Bordeaux Superieur, France.
I was excited to try the Chateau Grand Village Bordeaux, made by Jacques Guinaudeau, his wife Sylvie, their son Baptiste Guinaudeau, who has taken on a large role in elevating this property, and his wife Julie, who have brought the same approach they use with their exceptional Chateau Lafleur to this estate in the Fronsac, and I was not let down, this 2020 vintage is a gem and a fabulous value! Aromatic, velvety and stylish with a rich full bodied palate that leans on the opulent Merlot component, showing off blackberry, currant, black cherry and mulberry coulis, along with hints of mineral, graphite, shaved vanilla, lilac florals, a bit of allspice and cedar. Very impressive for a quality Bordeaux under $30, the balance and underlying tannin add to the overall quality here, it is definitely an effort that merits case purchases. The grapes are all hand harvested with, as the winery notes, (a) double sorting in the vineyard and an extra sorting in the cellar, where the grapes are gently 100% de-stemmed and crushed. Fermentation happens in a combination stainless steel and concrete tanks with a soft maceration, lasting from 15 to 25 days, with careful tannin extraction. The mainly Merlot, about 80% and the rest Cab Franc, sees close to 12 months of barrel aging, with 30% new oak used, plus 40% one year old barrels and 30% two time filled old barrels, which seems just about perfect for its soft mouth feel, luxurious impression, without taking away from the natural fruit quality, transparency and terroir influence.
The 2020 Chateau Grand Village is a blend of 79% Merlot and 21% Cabernet Franc and pretty matches the overall estate planting of 81% Merlot and 19% Franc, sometimes called Bouchet by the locals here, and it was aged in about 30% new French oak, which has suited this vintage well, allowing for the opulence of the fruit to shine through more so than the wood, while still being velvety and luxurious. Again, nicely put together by an estate with a long family history in the region as well as having a top Pomerol, Chateau Lafleur, to draw inspiration from. Going back to the beginning I’m told Jacques Verdery, a remote ancestor of the Guinaudeau family, who make the wine here, founded the Château Grand Village back in 1650, it what has become a well known and respected Merlot terroir. This vineyard, as the story goes on, is in fact the birthplace of this family of vignerons and it is situated in the hamlet of Mouillac, which is a part of the canton of Fronsac, and includes about 50 hectares of land. The Guinaudeaus have 20 hectares of vineyards set on mainly clay based soils with some rock, that the Merlot favors, classified as Bordeaux Superieur, that are positioned on a plateau and gentle slopes, and 30 hectares of nature, including quiet woods and lush meadows. This Chateau Grand Village is not a second, third or fourth wine of Chateau Lafleur, it holds its on to its own sense of place, but you can see maybe a family resemblance if you want, and because it is not largely known, the price has stayed remarkably low, considering the rise in status this property has achieved under Baptiste in more recent years. This is a wine, no one, almost, would pass on if tasted blind and my first impression was one of pleasant surprise, I’ll certainly be enjoying more of this stuff!
($25 Est.) 92 Points, grapelive