The wines of François Mitjavile 2017

Château le Tertre Roteboeuf ~ Roc de Cambes ~ Domaine de Cambes

Visits to Tertre Roteboeuf during the primeur week have become somewhat like a pilgrimage to Lourdes, with an ever-changing audience drawn from all over Europe, plus the occasional visitor from further afield, all shuffling forward to get ever closer to the waters, or in this case François Mitjavile. François’ succinct explanations of the vintage – as it appears to him, he is at pains to point out – often explains little quirks we have noticed elsewhere in our tastings but can’t quite put our fingers on, and his readiness to call a spade by its real name is always refreshing, if not entirely usable in writing. For François, 2017 was not a vintage of frost as his vineyards were essentially spared, but it was one of contradictions, with the earliest véraison (when the grapes start to turn red) in 21 years and a very early harvest, which usually indicates a hot year, yet the wines are fresh and pretty, classic indicators of a later, cool harvest. He described 2017 as being the opposite of 2009, which he called a ‘fruit cake vintage’, whilst 2017 is all about primary fresh fruits.

The winter of 2016 / 2017 was extremely dry and relatively cold, followed by an early warm, wet spring which brought the vines on some fortnight ahead of schedule, and the early budding Merlot in particular was showing significant growth by the time of the en primeur tastings last April (in comparison, this year virtually no buds had burst, Merlot or Cabernet). The famous frosts thankfully left the Mitjavile vineyards unscathed as St Emilion’s limestone plateau was spared and Roc de Cambes in Bourg was protected by its proximity to the river. The weather in May continued warm and dry, and very hot in June, at the end of which around 100mm of rain fell – not enough to replenish the water tables but sufficient to revive the vines. Flowering was early and uniformly successful, under perfect conditions, and the indicators were in place for an early harvest. July and August were sunny but cooler than average, and véraison was also a fortnight earlier than the average. Rain in mid-September provided welcome relief from the on-going drought and François harvested everything towards the end of September. The wines are, as always with François Mitjavile, bursting with character, rich yet linear, pure, mineral and intense, and never so forbidding that they become impenetrable. These are wines which will give immense pleasure in the medium term yet will also make relatively old bones too.

Nicola Arcedeckne-Butler MW, May 2018

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£ per case
in bond
Domaine de Cambes, Bordeaux 2017
80% Merlot, 20% Cabernet Franc
Gorgeously toasty rich nose, with notes of black and red fruits overlaid by cedar, crème pâtissière, mulberry and loganberry. Less lush than usual on the palate and although the rich fruits are there it is not as plump (yet) as the nose implies, toasty with a leafy green line down the middle from the Cabernet Franc, going to a long, spiced finish with really smooth, supple tannins behind. Drink 2021 - 2030


6 per case

Roc de Cambes, Côtes de Bourg 2017 - SOLD OUT
85% Merlot, 15% Cabernet Sauvignon; 100% new oak
Very deep in colour with a rich toasty nose with hints of coffee, dense and sweet, with mulberry and black cherry fruit behind. On the palate rich, dense and intense again, with a big fresh structure, racy acidity and very ripe, supple tannins behind, spiced and tarry notes contrasting with the vibrant fresh fruits, an unusual combination. A truly stunning wine with a massively long finish which grows and evolves. Drink 2024 - 2034


6 per case

Château le Tertre Roteboeuf, Grand Cru Classé St Emilion 2017 - SOLD OUT
80% Merlot, 20% Cabernet Franc
Tasted from barrel, as usual. Deep black in colour with a very tight nose initially, savoury and spiced on swirling with substantial black fruits behind. On the palate massive sweet black fruits, very fresh and pure, rich and intense, with huge, very supple tannins behind, overlaid by floral notes, really expressive, going to a long, rich yet fresh and cool finish, poised and mineral. Stunning. Drink 2026 - 2038


6 per case


These wines will be shipped in the Spring of 2020
E&OE Private Cellar’s Terms & Conditions for en primeur purchases apply

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