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Château Caronne Sainte Gemme, Haut-Médoc 2015

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Chateau Caronne Ste Gemme 2015 is a blend of largely Cabernet Sauvignon with a healthy dollop of Merlot and a dash of  Petit Verdot, grown on deep gravelly soil close to Saint-Julien. The entrancing aromas of cherry, currant, mocha, tobacco and smoky underbrush, with a peppery nuance emerging with air. Its dark cherry, saline mineral and menthol flavours offer good intensity, with a sound vinous quality balancing the wine’s sweetness. When the barrel aromas and flavours are well integrated into the wine this promises to be an excellent claret.

  • Country: France
  • Region: Bordeaux
  • Subregion: Haut-Médoc
  • Vintage: 2015
  • 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.

About the grower

The vineyards of Caronne Ste Gemme are located in the central Médoc, near Saint-Laurent-Médoc, not very far from Château Camensac, Château Belgrave and Château La Tour Carnet to the north, or from Château Lanessan to the east. The estate derives its name from Carona, a nearby spring, with Sainte Gemme being a derivative of St James, a local parish just south of Saint-Julien, near Saint-Laurent. Modern maps do not show this parish as it was abolished around the time of the Revolution, but by then viticulture was already firmly established here.

Caronne Ste Gemme has a long history and is first mentioned in local records as long ago as 1648. These records indicate that the land was let out to a farmer by its landlord, Denis De Mullet, in exchange for some of the wine produced. The modern history of Caronne Ste Gemme, however, begins in 1900 when the estate was purchased Emile and Eugène Borie. Eugène's descendants went on to own Château Batailley and then Château Ducru-Beaucaillou, whereas Emile's continued managing Caronne Ste Gemme, and still do so today. In recent years the estate has been managed by Emile's grandson Jean Nony, and by his nephew François. In 1999 François and his brother took over the running in its entirety, with the help of cellarmaster Bruno Guyomar and oenologist Olivier Dauga.