Each year we look for great drinking values in Bordeaux; we don’t always find them. This year we may have hit the jackpot…
Following a review written by Neal Martin on vinous.com last month, in which he described a humble St.Emilion, Château L’Hermitage-Lescours as a ‘hidden gem’ and an ‘out of the blue stunner from a 3.4 hectare property in Saint-Sulpice-de-Faleyrens’, I set a colleague the challenge of tracking down a sample bottle.
It proved quite a challenge; fortunately he enlisted the assistance of a helpful négociant (a middleman merchant in Bordeaux), who, even though he had never heard of the Château, was eventually able to secure the sample for us which arrived early this week. I know very little of the property aside from the fact that in 2018 it was purchased by Owen Hong, who runs a wine club in China. I am told that the investment brought about by the new owner has had a significant impact on the quality of the winemaking - there appears to have been progression to greater refinement at this estate, judging by the notes from various critics in recent years. The winemaker has remained the same, but he now has the facilities to deliver far higher quality as is evidenced by the 2019. It would also seem that the Château has been thoroughly refurbished.
The wine is a blend of Merlot, which dominates, with a good proportion of Cabernet, both Sauvignon and Franc. In fact, the vineyard, which comprises a base of sand with elements of clay and gravel, is planted with 80% Merlot, 15% Cabernet Sauvignon and 5% Cabernet Franc. The Château is situated a couple of kilometres to the south-west of St. Emilion in the commune of Saint-Sulpice-de-Faleyrens, which approaches the twisting route of the Dordogne as it heads south. Saint-Sulpice is home to the Perse family’s Château Monbousquet, which might rank as the highest profile Château in the area, though the wine is certainly not one that I rate.
It suffices to say that L’Hermitage-Lescours will certainly be included in our itinerary next time we are able to visit the region as I was seriously impressed by my tasting as my note below reveals. I have also included Neal Martin’s original note in full – we are certainly on the same page as few Bordeaux at this level score so highly in his review!
Château L’Hermitage-Lescours, Grand Cru, St.Emilion
£110 per 6 bottle case in bond
£120 per 3 magnum case in bond
£120 per single double magnum in bond
Deep in the glass, purplish in hue, the aromas reveal juicy, fresh berry fruit, subtle leafy notes and a graphite touch. At once on the palate you are certain that while Merlot may dominate here, Cabernet plays a role..…there is a dark fruit accent, a bright acidity and a certain racy, leafy vibrancy. It slightly reminded me of another wine, and it took a little while to figure it out which it was…Figeac. I am not saying it is as finessed or in the same class, but there is an elegance and restraint coupled with the influence of the Cabernets that forces that association. What I like is that the accent is very much on purity of fruit, it suggests fruit that was harvested on the cusp of full ripeness so that it retains that fresh, croquant (crisp) character. The tannins are handled really well, the oak is unobtrusive; simply put this is a gem of a wine. Really impressive for its level, with that long, lingering graphite infused fruit on the finish. Count me in! Drink: 2023 – 2035 (SL)
And here is Neal Martin’s note for you to consider:
(93-95) points, Neal Martin, vinous.com
The 2019 L'Hermitage Lescours offers attractive blackberry, mulberry and cassis scents on the nose, nicely controlled with well-integrated oak. The palate is well balanced with saturated tannins, crisp black fruit laced with graphite and spices, and a very harmonious and persistent finish. What a superb wine. Recommended. 2023-2043.
Please let us know of your interest. This is surely one of the bargains of the 2019 vintage….
All the best,