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Château Caronne Sainte Gemme, Haut-Médoc 2012


Chateau Caronne Ste Gemme 2012 is a blend of 65% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot and 5% Petit Verdot, grown on deep gravelly soil close to Saint-Julien. It displays entrancing aromas of cherry, currant, mocha, tobacco and smoky underbrush, with a peppery nuance emerging with air. Its dark cherry, mineral and menthol flavours offer good intensity, with a sound vinous quality balancing the wine’s sweetness. This nicely intense, mid-weight wine will probably be even more satisfying with a couple of years of patience.

Country: France
Region: Bordeaux
Subregion: Haut-Médoc
Vintage: 2012
Colour: Red
Grape Variety: Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Petit Verdot
ABV: 13.5%
Bottle Size: 75cl
Closure: Natural cork
Style: Dark fruit and tannic structure
Drink With: Côte de boeuf rotie

Caronne Sainte Gemme's 45 hectares of Haut-Médoc vines sit on a gravel plateau typical of the area. The soils are an iron rich clay-sandstone base at the western end and a more sandy mix towards the Gironde. The mix of grape varieties planted is also fairly typical of the Médoc; there is a predominance of Cabernet Sauvignon (60%), with rather less Merlot (37%) and just a few Petit Verdot vines (3%). They are planted at a density of 10,000 vines per hectare and have an average age of 25 years. A recent innovation by François Nony is the introduction of a green harvest to improve the quality of fruit reaching the winery. After the September harvest, which is partly done by hand and partly by machine (another focal point for further improvements), the grapes are sorted and destemmed at the winery, followed by a light crush and fermentation of fruit from distinct plots in either stainless steel or epoxy-lined cement vats. There is a light pumping over and a maceration of up to three weeks before the wine is run into barriques for twelve months, of which 20% are new each year.

From Robert Parker's Wine Advocate:
Supple tannins and attractive camphor, mulberry, black currant and dusty, earthy notes are present in this full-bodied, legitimate sleeper of the vintage. The purity, texture, pure charm and depth of this wine are impressive. Drink it over the next 10-15 years. This beauty from proprietor Francois Nony is a two-thirds blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and the rest mostly Merlot with a touch of Petit Verdot. A member of the Alliance des Cru Bourgeois du Médoc.

From Wine Spectator:
Well-structured, with tobacco and cedar framing damson plum, cassis and black cherry fruit. The tobacco edge re-emerges on the finish, with savoury and dark olive notes. Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Petit Merlot. Best from 2016 through 2024.