Chateau Le Tertre Roteboeuf - 2008
Merlot, Cabernet Franc
Saint Emilion Grand Cru AOC, Bordeaux, France
2008 Tertre Roteboeuf, from 85% Merlot and 15% Cabernet Franc, has aromas of liquorice, coffee, blackberry, kirsch, and jammy raspberry. The palate enjoys a luscious display of juicy black plum and chocolate in the long finish. The wine is ripe, full-bodied, concentrated, and round.
François goes his way when it comes to the Saint-Émilion Classification. While he would quickly be awarded Premier Cru Classé’ status, he prefers to remain unclassified. When asked to submit his wines for classification in 1984, he just hung up the phone. Even under challenging years, this wine does not disappoint.
Tertre Rôteboeuf is a tiny 5.7-hectare estate. It loosely translates as “hill of the belching cow”, as François tells us with a glint in his eye. If you enjoy Saint-Émilion, this is a must. When maverick (and just a little crazy) François Mitjavile took over the vineyard in 1978, he immediately started doing things his way — harvesting late to ensure phenolic ripeness for the richness and intensity this wine is renowned. The terroir is a shallow amount of white clay over bedrock in a perfect amphitheatre, which gets the best out of the Bordeaux sun.
- Merlot, Cabernet Franc
|Intensity||Light bodied||Full bodied|
Château Le Tertre Rôteboeuf has humble beginnings. Having been inherited in 1961 by Francois Mitjavile's then girlfriend, she rented it out to her cousins who owned a neighbouring estate. Francois, meanwhile, was working in his family's successful haulage business but yearned for something different. After they married, they spent occasional weekends at her cousins Chateau, until they made the life-changing decision to reclaim her rightful heritage and began to establish their own estate.
Francois spent two years learning the nuts and bolts of winemaking at Chateau Figeac, and returned to Chateau la Tertre Rôteboeuf in 1977. After years of honing and perfecting their craft, the property became an overnight success in the mid 1980's. Francois is now one of the most respected winemakers in Bordeaux, and also owns Château Roc de Cambes in the Côtes de Bourg.
Château Le Tertre Rôteboeuf produces just over 2,000 cases a year from it's tiny 5.7-hectares, which is situated on a steep slope on the edge of a limestone plateau. The grapes are harvested by hand and are fermented in temperature-controlled concrete tanks. Le Tertre Rôteboeuf is then aged in oak barrels for 18 months. Yields are kept very low and consequently this is one of the most concentrated wines to be found in Bordeaux.
One very important feature of La Tertre Rôteboeuf is that the harvest is very late, giving an almost raisin-like ripeness to the wine. This is because the soil is cold and ideally suited to Merlot. Like all the best winemakers, Francois is prepared to risk rain, and thereby the potential destruction of his crop, to achieve the result he wants. His views are summed up thus: “Let us see, what soil and weather have cooked together this year, and get the best possible out of it. The miracle comes first of all from Mother Nature”.