Arthur Sellers Bulletin Archive
Dear Arthur’s Cellar Wine Club Member:
There can be no doubt about it, our dealings with Château Valade are a family affair. It all started many years ago with Charles and Huguette Pacaud, owners of Domaine la Croix Chaptal and their wonderful wines from the Terrasses du Larzac in the Languedoc. In time we met one of their twin daughters, Héloïse who works in Bordeaux and is the partner of Cédric Valade. Céderic makes dynamic, powerful Saint-Émilion Grand Cru. Then we met Cédric’s parents, Paul and Lorette Valade who, it so happens, are one of the top producers of delicious Castillon Côtes de Bordeaux. So there you have it, the genealogy of this fortnight’s splendid offering.
Les Vignobles Valade
The Valades have a well-earned reputation for being masters of Merlot. They know absolutely everything there is to know about their vineyards, right down to the individual vines in their 30 hectares on the hillsides of Côtes du Castillon and 3.5 hectares on the slopes of St-Émilion. The family personally looks after every aspect of vineyard maintenance and wine production to ensure that the wines they offer are truly outstanding. The vines are trained by high trellises where disbudding, leaf thinning, green harvesting (thinning the bunches) and ultimately harvesting are all done by hand. Yields are kept low and are strictly managed and everything possible is done to enhance the biodiversity of the soil.
Equal care is taken in the winery. A new cellar was built in 1991 and extended in 2001 that includes all of the modern equipment that can be found in the best French estates and a new chai (cellar and tasting room) was completed last year. Winemaking includes pre-fermentation maceration at cool temperatures, gravity flow transfer, gentle pneumatic pressing and so on. The wines are aged in French oak barrels carefully selected to marry with the unique characteristics of each vintage (I was particularly impressed by the excellent use of wood in each of the samples I tried).
The Vintage Ratings in Saint-Émilion
The ‘Wine Spectator’ rates the 2010 vintage in Saint-Émilion at 98/100; the 2009, 96/100 – both classic; the 2011, 91/100 - outstanding.
Robert Parker adds, “This (the 2010 vintage in Bordeaux) is clearly another very great vintage in Bordeaux. When I first discussed the wines, I didn’t think it exceeded in overall quality of the Bordeaux that was produced in 2009, 2005 or perhaps even 2000, but I think it is safe to say that, other than the 2009, this vintage has turned out slightly better than 2000 and is as impressive as 2005.”
The Les Vignobles Valade Wines on Offer
We are very pleased to offer you two truly wonderful Saint-Émilion Grand Cru from Les Vignobles Valade – the 2010 Château Valade and the 2011 L’Etendard de Château Valade (the second wine of Château Valade) along with Paul Valade’s exceptional 2010 Château Brisson, a top-rated Castillon Côtes de Bordeaux. The Valades have also created the mixed case Vignobles Valade Sampler for us that includes two bottles each of our featured wines. They all come in six-bottle cases (the Ch. Valade in wood). And, as a special treat, Cédric has made available a very limited quantity of 2009 L’Etendard de Château Valade in half-bottles.
A couple of notes of caution – first these are not your father’s St-Émilions and second, I do hope you have a cellar and can keep your cotton pickin’ fingers off them for at least a couple of years, preferably more. These wines are huge, full-bodied, fruit forward and complex mouthfuls that really should have a few years of rest before assaulting. But I can assure you that these superbly well made wines will reward you many times over for your patience and self-control. The Château Brisson is a similar story – patience will pay dividends for sure.
We will be taking your orders for the superb wines from Les Vignobles Valade to the LCBO on Friday, February 12th.
2010 Château Valade - Saint-Emilion Grand Cru – 14.5% Alc./Vol. $53/$318case of six
This is a really wonderful wine. It is comprised of 95% Merlot and 5% Cabernet Franc rigorously selected from the estate’s best plots of vines averaging well over twenty-five years of age. The wine is neither filtered nor fined and is aged in oak barrels (80% new and 20% one year-old) for twelve months. It is a dark plum colour, almost inky with a huge, almost hyper-concentrated nose of stewed plums and black currents, cocoa, cedar, tobacco, forest floor, wet stones, mint and vanilla. It all carries through in the mouth with lovely, silky tannins - big, round and very long. This very well-made wine clearly illustrates the wine maker’s mastery of oak. Remember, it is in its infancy and really should be hidden away for three, preferably five years. If the temptation to try a bottle is too much, decant it in the morning for the evening’s meal. It will be a perfect match for confit de canard and game. And, it comes in a special wooden box. Only 8,000 bottles were made. Order your St-Émilion Grand Cru treasures now.
2010 Château Brisson – 14.5% Alc./Vol. $29/$174 case of six
The delicious, stylish 2010 Château Brisson was made from 85% Merlot and 15% Cabernet Sauvignon from vines averaging well over thirty years of age. After a traditional vinification, this Castillon Côtes de Bordeaux was aged for 12 months in oak (30% new). The wine was racked every three months and fined with egg whites. It is a dense plum colour and offers up an intense nose of raspberries, strawberries, black currants, exotic spices, vanilla and a trace of wet pebbles. In the mouth it is medium-bodied, well-balanced, elegant, supple, complex and long. A fine match for rare steaks or roast beef, this absolutely delightful quaff needs a couple of hours in a decanter before broaching, if you must drink it now. It will keep very nicely for at least five years and likely more.
"Floral nose with nice red fruit like raspberries and crushed strawberries. Some cocoa powder and vanilla. Sweet refined fruit on the palate with good body and a beautiful texture. Long and elegant with a beautiful juicy acidity. Beautiful depth of fruit." Reviewed by: James Suckling - 92pts. Order your superb Bordeaux bargain now!
Vignobles Valade Sampler – 14.5% Alc./Vol. $39/$234 case of six
This is a great way to sample each of the Valades’ superb, Saint-Émilion Grand Cru and Castillon Côtes de Bordeaux wines. You receive two bottles of the luscious 2010 Château Valade, two bottles of the delightful 2011 L’Etendard de Château Valade and two bottles of the wonderful 2010 Château Brisson. Great wine; great vintages, great value. Order your most yummy Saint-Émilion Grand Cru and Castillon Côtes de Bordeaux mixed six-pack now.
2009 L’Etendard de Château Valade – Saint-Emilion Grand Cru – 14.5% Alc./Vol. – Half-Bottles $20/480 for 24
The stunning 2009 L’Etendard de Château Valade is made from 90% Merlot and 10% Cabernet Franc. Hand-picked and sorted, the grapes gently pressed and the juice undergoes malolactic fermentation in oak barrels. The wine spends twelve months in oak barrels (thirty percent renewed annually). It is an inky crimson color with a nose that reveals aromas of blackberries, exotic spices, notes of cedar and touches of toasted bread. This big, powerful, full-bodied wine from a very, very good year is dense and lively with elegant tannins and excellent length. It is hard to believe it is a second wine. In due course, it will go wonderfully with roasts and barbequed steak. This can be savoured now, although I would decant it a couple of hours in advance. It will keep for at least a decade or more, properly cellared, of course. Just ten cases of 24 available. Order this very well-priced St-Émilion Grand Cru in small bottles now.
The LCBO is the only entity authorized to sell beverage alcohol in Ontario. Arthur Sellers & Company and Arthur’s Cellar Wine Club do not sell or markup beverage alcohol, but rather, arrange for customers to purchase it from the LCBO. Our prices indicated above and on our website include the LCBO sale price plus a fee to cover the cost of sourcing, handling and marketing the wine. The LCBO’s sale prices are available on request.
Know anyone who might enjoy some exciting wines from the Bordeaux region? If you do, please pass this note on and invite them to join the tipplers at Arthur’s Cellar Wine Club.
Many thanks and cheers!
Jim, Hélène and Kate