|Subregion||France > Bordeaux > Right Bank > St Emilion|
Francois Mitjavile's brilliant and unique wine has a different character from that of all its Saint Emilion rivals and is only available in very limited quantities. Our visit to the unassuming cellars with their mud floors and dirty walls is always fascinating and a highlight of our trips to Bordeaux. Production is around 2000 cases annually with élevage in 100% new "Radoux blend" fine grain barrels. The south-facing vineyard produces wines that are ripe but never jammy. They frequently remind us of Le Pin and sometimes even of Musigny. A top performer at the annual Southwold blind tastings. Unique and individual.
The 2021 Tertre-Rôteboeuf was tasted directly from barrel à la Bourgogne. (Why don't more châteaux do this, if logistically convenient?) It has a comparatively less explosive, gourmand bouquet compared to vintages that I have tasted at this stage in recent years, featuring dark berries, hints of blueberry, iris flower and an underlying mineralité that only surfaces after 3–4 minutes in the glass. The harmonious palate is an absolute stunner. It delivers brilliant delineation and purity, one of the most energetic Tertre-Rôtebouefs that I have encountered, and a dash of black pepper on the finish. I have to confess: I had to have a sneaky sip of this.
The 2021 Le Tertre Roteboeuf is extremely promising, unwinding in the glass with aromas of cherries, mulberries and plums mingled with subtle hints of spices, raw cocoa, espresso roast and cigar wrapper. Medium to full-bodied, ample and seamless, it's deep and concentrated, with a layered, sensual mid-palate that's supple and lively, concluding with a long, expansive finish. This is just the sort of vintage that François Mitjaville excels in, and it is worth a special effort to seek out.
The later harvest here ensured ripe fruit with a full middle and higher natural alcohol than many others, with no need to chaptalise. Deep ruby colour. An almost Burgundian florality and sweet fruit dominates the nose, together with the fine spices of the Radoux blend. The palate is pure pleasure, with fine, silky, persistent tannins gently framing blueberry and damson fruit. Building to dark, rich fruit, this is a succulent, fleshy, vintage-defying wine. Layered with real substance and depth, this is one of the most exciting wines of the vintage, which will greatly please lovers of this idiosyncratic style.
Deep garnet-purple colored, the 2021 Tertre Roteboeuf is a little reduced to begin, soon giving way to black fruit notes of fresh blackberries, black cherries, and mulberries, followed by suggestions of tar, violets, licorice, and cracked black pepper. Medium-bodied, the palate is firm and grainy with many finely-packed layers of black fruits and earthy notions, framed by ripe, rounded tannins and beautiful freshness, finishing on a lingering black truffle note.
It's a brave estate that makes 100% 1st wine in the 2021 vintage, but Tertre Rotebeouf is perfectly placed on south-facing slopes, with obsessive attention to detail in the vineyard from the Mitjavile family. One to look out for, this has rich aromatics, a touch of reduction, fleshy black cherry, smoked earth, powerful liquorice bud, rose petals and clove spice, expanding through the mid palate. Works both in terms of the estate signature and in showcasing the potential of the 2021 vintage for sculpted but still concentrated wines in the right spots. Brilliant stuff. No crushing of the grapes here but full destemming, no cold soaks, 16% press wine, 100% new oak.
80% Merlot, 20% Cabernet Franc. Cask sample.
Less overblown than some years but recognisable house style. Rich and gourmand with mouth-filling red fruit, the toasted oak present but integrated. Fine, silky tannins and reasonable length. Early-drinking pleasure but should age a bit as well. (JL) 13.5%
Drink 2027 – 2038