Château Sociando Mallet 2016
Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc
Haut Médoc AOC, Bordeaux, France
Sociando Mallet is the poster child for what Cru Bourgeois estates can achieve. This is a rich red wine, full of dark berried fruit with a beautiful concentration of flavours, incredible length and balance. Showing flashes of charm now, it has years of ageing potential with the promise of opulence and extraordinary depth.
Known as the La Tour of the Northern Medoc, Jean Gautreau discovered Sociando Mallet in 1969. All farming is organic, and fermentation takes place using only natural yeast. It is aged 12 months in 100% new oak. Jean does not buy into the classification system as he firmly believes his wine should be part of the 1855 Classification.
- Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc
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We love visiting Jean Gautreau. Not just because we’re guaranteed to taste his renowned wines (and, yes, he does break out some special cuvées once the “official” tasting has finished) but also because Château Sociando Mallet has the best view of the Gironde of any Médoc château we’ve visited. Some say that the best wines are produced by vines that overlook the river but it takes more than that to produce wines of this quality.
Jean is as traditional as they come amongst the winemakers on the left bank. On a visit in winter we saw his loyal team pruning the vines by hand. Visit in spring and you’ll be treated to the spectacle of horse drawn ploughs toiling between the vines. Later in September, Jean can be found tasting the grapes and glancing at the sky as he judges ripeness. When the time comes, it’s all hands on deck as the fruit is hand-harvested and sorted.
Like those of Frederic Mitjaville, his counterpart on the right bank, Jean’s wines make a mockery of Bordeaux’s famous 1855 classification system which rank the top 58 vineyards from first growth (premier cru) through to 5th growth (cinquieme cru). This system has not once been updated in its 160 years and the wines of Sociando Mallet have stunned critics such as Jancis Robinson and Robert Parker over the past two decades. The Gautreau style just cannot fail to be noticed and are rightly famous for their longevity. These long-lived beauties have years of pleasure to offer discerning Bordeaux fans.
Sociando-Mallet has throned on the Butte de Baleyron, one of the finest gravelly terroirs in the Médoc, since the 17th century. Situated in the commune of Saint-Seurin-de-Cadourne, north of Pauillac, the vineyard overlooks the Gironde estuary on a bend in the river. Sociando-Mallet's terroir consists of Günz gravel over a deep layer of clay-limestone soil. This terroir perfectly regulates water supply and enables Cabernet Sauvignon to ripen extremely well and Merlot to acquire depth and complexity. This terroir is Sociando's soul. It provides the wine with complex structure, freshness, and elegance.