Château Pindefleurs, St Emilion Grand Cru

Generous plum and cherry fruit, allied to a smoky, spicy note, hints of leather and tobacco and supple tannins.

Powerful yet delicate, deep yet refined, Château Pindefleurs can be enjoyed young, for the wine’s fresh, bright fruit, or cellared for a few years to reveal the length and elegance characteristic of the wines of Saint-Émilion.

Grape Variety: 90% Merlot 10% Cabernet Franc

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£23.95

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2014 Château Pindefleurs, St Emilion Grand Cru, France

Tasting Note

Generous plum and cherry fruit, allied to a smoky, spicy note, hints of leather and tobacco and supple tannins.

Powerful yet delicate, deep yet refined, Château Pindefleurs can be enjoyed young, for the wine’s fresh, bright fruit, or cellared for a few years to reveal the length and elegance characteristic of the wines of Saint-Émilion.

Grape Variety

Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon

Alcohol 13%

Food Pairing

Roast Sirloin of beef. Lamb cutlets.

The Vineyard

Dominique Laurent and Richard Mestreguilhem are the current owners and directors of Chateau Pindefleurs. Dominique Lauret and Richard Mestreguilhem also own Chateau Pipeau, another estate located in Saint Emilion. The chateau and vineyard are easy to find as they are located right off the major highway that leads into, or out of St. Emilion, bordering the Grand Cru and St. Emilion appellations. The 17 hectare Right Bank vineyard of Chateau Pindefleurs is planted to 90% Merlot and 10% Cabernet Franc.

Over the past 20 years, the estate has continued expanding their vineyards with additional purchases. At the same time, the owners of Chateau increased the percentage of Merlot in their vineyards, while the amount of Cabernet Franc vines has decreased. The terroir is clay, limestone, gravel and sandy soils. The vines are old, with an average age of 35 years. The vineyard is planted to a vine density of 7,000 vines per hectare. Stephane Derenoncourt and his team are the consultants for the vineyard management and wine making. The wine of Chateau Pindefleurs is vinified in temperature controlled, stainless steel tanks. The wine is aged in new and used, French oak barrels for an average of 12 months before bottling.

Regional Info

Saint-Émilion Grand Cru wines are produced under slightly tighter production restrictions than regular Saint- Émilion wines. As with other grand cru appellations, the intention behind this is to improve the quality, and to distinguish the area’s finer wines from the more everyday wines. However the designation is distinct from that of Saint-Émilion Grand Cru Classé; confusingly for the non-expert, the top-tier wines from Saint-Émilion are not marked out by their grand cru status, but by their appearance in the Saint-Émilion Wine Classification, which confers grand cru classé (64 Châteaux in 2012) and premier grand cru classé status (14 classés “B” and, at the very top, 4 classés “A”). This works in a similar way to the classifications of the Médoc, Graves and Sauternes, but with one significant difference: it is periodically reviewed to keep it up-to-date and relevant. It was first drawn up in 1955, and (after a controversial review in 2006) was most recently updated in 2012.

There are four key production differences between the production restrictions for standard Saint-Emilion wines, and those classified as Grand Cru wines. First, the vineyard yield is restricted to 8000 kilograms per hectare rather than 9000 (which translates to 5500 liters per hectare rather than 6500). Second, the grapes (with the significant exception of Merlot) must be harvested with a must weight of at least 189 grams of sugar per liter rather than 180. Third, the finished wine must reach a minimum alcohol level of 11.5 percent abv rather than 11 percent. Fourth, and finally the wine must be stored by the producer for an extra 14 months before being released for sale.

Since the introduction of the Saint-Émilion Grand Cru appellation in 1954, many have suggested that these conditions are too relaxed to warrant the term Grand Cru. The yield restriction is the same as that in force in Bordeaux’s other red-wine appellations (e.g. Pauillac and Graves), and the exception of Merlot from the second condition instantly excludes more than 65 percent of the total Saint-Émilion vineyard area. Further, the increase of the minimum alcohol level by 0.5 percent is effectively meaningless, as very few, if any, wines from Saint- Émilion ever contain less than 12 percent alcohol. The only condition which escapes this criticism is the extended élevage – the period which the wine spends (in tank, barrel or bottle) before general release.

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