90 Points - Wine Enthusiast
Well, it had to happen sooner or later: WineHeist has sourced wine from outside the US. While we at WineHeist are, and due to our location in the heart of Sonoma County probably always will be, primarily focused on the wines of California, we are constantly looking for high quality wines that we can offer at significant savings, no matter where they are from. When we were presented with the opportunity to snag the last of the 2005 Chateau Cantinot and offer it at a great discount, we jumped at the chance.
Chateau Cantinot is located the Premieres Cotes de Blaye, in what is considered the finest sub-region of the fairly large Blaye region on the East, or Right Bank of Bordeaux. Blaye features clay soils similar to those found further south in St. Emilion, making it an ideal region for Merlot, and suitable for Cabernet Sauvignon and Franc as well. The vintage in 2005 was, of course, legendary in Bordeaux for the number and variety of brilliant wines that were produced, making it an ideal vintage for lesser-known regions like the Cotes de Blaye.
The 2005 Ch. Cantinot is a fairly typical blend for this region of 55% Merlot, 35% Cab Sauvignon, and 10% Cab Franc. Dark cherry in color, with a purple core, the nose shows classic Merlot plum and blackberry, along with cigar, black cherry, anise, and eucalyptus. The palate is rich and full bodied, with black cherry, blueberry, mint, and just a hint of bell pepper. This wine definitely has the balance you expect from a French wine, but is surprisingly lush and ripe, making it a nice change of pace yet still suitable for those who prefer California’s more fruit-driven wines. This seems to be in its prime now, but should hold on for many years to come, and may evolve more nuance with some time in the cellar. Don’t miss out on the chance to add some Bordeaux from the outstanding 2005 vintage to your collection!
Varietals: Merlot 55%, Cabernet Sauvignon 35%, Cabernet Franc 10%
Appellation: Premiere Cotes de Blaye, France
Vineyards: 12 hectares of vines on gravel-sandy-claylimestone soils, 25+ year old vines on sandygravel soils. There is cover planting between vines, soils are tested twice per year, if needed specific organic fertilizers are added; fallow parcels are used to attract diverse insects and create natural equilibrium in the vineyards. Grapes are harvested by hand in small containers; hand sorting; damaged grapes removed and a vibrating sorting table removes debris.
Winemaking: Only indigenous yeasts are used; there is cold maceration pre-fermentation, slow 15-20 day temperature controlled-fermentation with regular breaking of the cap and pumping over. Malo-lactic fermentation takes place in vats and barrels, followed by 12 month oak barrel aging, (60% new barrels), no fining or filtration.
Winemakers: Gault Millau 2009 Winemaker of the Year, Olivier Dauga is the consulting winemaker; the Cellar Master is Nicolas Bouscasse.