2014 Franc Maillet Cuvee Montille
Tasting rich and refined Right Bank Bordeaux is a wonderful pleasure. But this pleasure often comes at a price. Often at a rather extreme price. That’s why it’s amazing to find this tiny gem of a winery, buried in the heart of the Right Bank – Pomerol – surrounded by the likes of Cheval Blanc, Le Pin, and Petrus but at a crazy affordable price point. In a land of four-digit-priced bottles, here’s a, yes, unheard of winery, but offering unheard of value: Chateau Franc Maillet.
The estate and winery date back four generations to when a young Jean-Baptiste Arpin returned from service in World War One with a bit of army pension in his pocket. He purchased one – yes, just one – hectare of vines in Pomerol and began farming. That one hectare, or about 2.2 acres, is what is still farmed today. Jean-Baptiste has passed, but his great-grandson Gael is now making the wine. And what a wine this is:
I simply love Pomerol. This fully concentrated beauty opens with powerful aromatics of black raspberry, black plum, and currants in waves. Adding complexity are Pomerol’s signature suggestions of tobacco leaf, cloves, crushed rocks and violets. It is only in Pomerol where such wines take on this much complexity and richness. The finish is utterly heaven-sent, with a plush, velvety mouthfeel that continues for minutes. Being nearly five years old, this wine is ready to drink now but have no doubt – another decade will certainly do it justice.
Why in this land of four-digit-priced bottles is Chateau Franc Maillet the price it is? I honestly dunno. When I heard the price, I was so astounded I almost had to spit the wine out— it represents such a value. But then, after safely getting this elixir into my tummy, I bought all that I could. I think you should, too.