2015 Chateau Cantemerle Les Allees de Cantemerle
This wine is exactly what Cabernet-based Bordeaux should be – classy.
Classy like a Rolls-Royce. It’s the feeling great Bordeaux gives from at least the moment you open it, if not the moment you purchase it. The wine says, “with my sustained power and refined elegance I am the perfect expression of a balanced Bordeaux which gives voice to a great terroir.”
Cantemerle is of the blue blood of Bordeaux’s Cru Classe system, being a fifth growth founded in the early 12th century – after Haut Brion, but before every other First Growth. For nearly 500 years, Cantemerle has been in continuous wine production.
Throughout its entire history, Cantemerle has remained a bastion. When prices spiked with the 2000 vintage, and then with ’05, and ’10, Cantemerle didn’t take aggressive price hikes. Further, when many Bordeaux properties turned to Michel Rolland and higher percentages of Merlot to make softer, more market-friendly wines, Cantemerle stayed classically Left Bank, with a higher percentage of Cabernet.
This is the Les Allees de Cantemerle, the chateau’s second wine, from a vintage that Robert Parker described as producing “a clutch of wines so sublime that they are certain to become landmarks for their respective châteaux…not necessarily from the most obvious names.” Indeed, James Suckling, former reviewer for Wine Spectator and now out on his own, gave Centemerle 95 points and commented that it was “Impressive… great wine.” And as the director of Cantemerle will stress to you, this wine is made exactly the same as the chateau’s first wine with the exception that it is meant to be drunk earlier. And how gorgeous it is:
The wine opens with an overture of ripe blue and black fruits intermingled together, letting you know straightaway that this is dramatic Cabernet. But it’s not overblown like Andrew Lloyd Webber – the fruit is powerful, yet charming, and invites the harmonies of cedar and vanilla spice, graphite and lead pencil, hints of violets, ripe cranberries, and rose blossoms to accompany us on a cultivated, sensual ride. The palate heightens the dramatic experience, being absolutely seamless – the fruit, tannin and acidity are perfectly balanced through the front to the back of the palate, with a long, lingering finish. In the arc of the flavor experience everything is in its place. Exceptional.
There is a majesty in collecting wine and seeing it mature. And if you love Cabernet, one of its highest expressions is in Bordeaux. While most Bordeaux is no longer friendly in case quantities, this one is. Seriously, you should get a case – drink a few now, some more then, a couple in three or four years, finishing the case in about a decade. While your wooden case of Les Allees will then be empty, the memories you’ve built around it will be overflowing.