See blue link below for the excellent fiche technique/technical note from the winemakers at Charles Smith.
The maker says: "When Hollywood’s surprise hit Sideways suddenly spawned anti-Merlot sentiments everywhere, Charles set out to rebuff the movie’s unflattering depiction of this great varietal. One sip of this bold, sultry creation and you’ll know he succeeded at making Merlot sexy again".
More traditionally put: This wine is made by Charles Smith, a self–taught winemaker who brings his rock and roll spirit to the vineyards of Walla Walla, Washington. As a romantic young man, Charles Smith moved across the world to Denmark to follow his love for his girlfriend at the time. In Scandinavia, he became a recognized manager for rock bands such as The Raveonettes. While travelling on the road with these bands, he developed his passion for wine. In 1999, he moved back to Washington, opened a wine store and became friendly with a French winemaker, later convincing him to move to Walla Walla to make wine together.
The aromas are that of cherry, cedar and black cherry, with an intense cherry, blackberry and some tobacco on the finish which is clean and lingers for a full mouth feel.
89% Merlot, 10% Cabernet Sauvignon, 1% Malbec.
Letting this wine sit in the glass for 10 to 15 minutes will help to enhance the flavors and bring out the aromas while burning off any surface alcohol. The best foods to pair with this wine are lamb chops, steaks, pork chops, beef stew and hearty soups. This wine can also be enjoyed by itself due to its rich velvety texture on the palate.
ABV = 13.5%.
** THIS WINE IS NOT HELD IN STOCK BUT QUICKLY BROUGHT IN TO ORDER. ORDERS PLACED BY 9am EACH MONDAY WILL BE WITH US FOR IMMEDIATE DESPATCH ON THE WEDNESDAY. **
"This is so on it with velvety tannins and rich fruit. So much fun to taste. Generous and exotic. 92- 93 points". James Suckling, www.JamesSuckling.com, March 2016
"The 2015 Les Cruzelles is a blend of 90% Merlot and 10% Cabernet Franc on gravel/clayey soil, picked from September 15-22 and October 6 respectively, then matured in 45% new oak. The new wood is seamlessly integrated into this Lalande-de-Pomerol, more broody and introspective than the La Chenade at the moment, but very well defined. The palate is beautifully proportioned with crisp tannin, a fine line of acidity, somehow gentle and understated on the finish, but very long in the mouth. Yet another ridiculously fine wine to load up on, courtesy of Denis Durantou. Drink 2018-2035. 91-93 points" Neal Martin in Wine Advocate number 224, April 2016.
Awarded 95 points and Outstanding status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in June 2018 in their article, 30 Top Bordeaux Wines Under £30 (see link below).
Chateau Les Cruzelles lies in the appellation of Lalande de Pomerol and was owned by Denis Durantou (until he recent death; it remains with the Duranto family). He purchased the chateau in 2000, but/and was better known for owning one of the top estates in Pomerol, Chateau L'Eglise Clinet.
Located in the commune of Neac, the terroir of Chateau Les Cruzelles shares many similarities with that of L’Eglise Clinet due to its rich, clay and gravel soil. However, the soils for Les Cruzelles have more gravel with less clay than are encountered at its Pomerol counterpart.
The Les Cruzelles vineyards are only about 1 kilometer from Chateau L’Eglise Clinet. The 10-hectare vineyards of Les Cruzelles are planted with ~60% Merlot and ~40% Cabernet Franc.
Recent vintages have seen Merlot comprise as much as 80% to 90% of the blend, with the Cabernet Franc ranging from 10% to 20%. For the vinification of Chateau Les Cruzelles, the wine is fermented in tank. The wine is then aged in ~50% new, French oak barrels before bottling (it is 45% in this vintage).
90% Merlot, 10% Cabernet Franc.
To quote Neal Martin from 2018, by way of a tasting note, "The 2015 Les Cruzelles has a fragrant, pure and winsome bouquet with joyful dark cherry and crushed strawberry aromas. It has clearly lost the bashfulness it showed in barrel. The palate is medium-bodied with supple tannin, very well balanced with succulent, brambly red fruit mixed with truffle and a hint of black olive".
ABV = 14.5%.
The stunning 18th-century Château Puy Guilhem is located on the hills of Saillans, overlooking the appellations of Pomerol and Saint-Émilion. The vineyard covers 14.5 hectares and is situated at the highest elevation of the Fronsac appellation, where the quality soils produce rich, concentrated grapes. The vineyard is manually cultivated following a sustainable philosophy and renowned consultant oenologist Stéphane Derenoncourt vinifies by parcel, creating hand-crafted, fruit focused and beautifully balanced wines.
2009 is widely cited as an outstanding vintage. The growing season was almost perfect, with a long, fine, warm summer and crucially, cooler nights which helped to retain balancing acidity. The wines are intensely ripe and rich.
The appellation of Fronsac is on the right bank close to Saint-Emilion. The wines are dominated by Merlot. Château Puy Guilhem’s vineyard is situated in an elevated position of the appellation, atop high quality soil composed of a mix of clay and silt, which imparts structure to the wine. The vineyard is managed sustainably without the use of herbicides. Cover crops of grass are grown between the vines and manged with light tilling.
Fermentation took place in temperature controlled vats and lasted for 24 to 48 hours. The fermenting must was manually pumped over, with daily observations to check the evolution of the skins. Maceration lasted between three to four weeks to extract the desired levels of colour, flavour and tannins. The wine was aged for 12 to 16 months in French oak barrels, of which 50% were new and 50% was of one year.
A mature and traditionally styled Bordeaux showing ripe and fleshy black berried fruits with a lovely savoury and earthy finish. A powerful yet elegant red with ripe berried fruits enhanced by a subtle note of oak spice. Full bodied, with juicy fruit and an attractive savoury note on the finish.
ABV = 14.0%.
Naming note: this wine has been available under two different names, hence the bracketed title(!), despite being the same wine. It was previously badged as the Single Valley Lot, but has now joined the fleet of Valley Selection wines from Valdivieso. Technically, the new label is entitled to draw grapes from a slightly wider area of the Rapel Valley, although we believe it will make almost no noticeable change to the wine.
Well-travelled Kiwi winemaker, Brett Jackson, has settled in Chile and much of Valdivieso’s success in recent years can be credited to his talent.
The vineyards for this wine are situated in the Rapel Valley sub-region of Chile's Central Valley where the hot, dry summers allow the grapes to ripen steadily before being harvested. These conditions deliver grapes with soft and silky tannins, distinctive aromas of currants and nuts.
Bright dark red with slight violet reflections. Aroma of fresh red fruits, cherry, plum and spicy notes. Soft and elegant, with silky tannins that deliver good volume and structure. Sweet and rich plum fruit with just a small hint of spice. It is full bodied with hints of cocoa and vanilla.
This is a rich and sumptuous Merlot at an incredible price.
ABV = 13.5%.
** THIS WINE IS HELD IN NO OR LOW STOCK BUT IS QUICKLY BROUGHT IN TO ORDER. ORDERS PLACED BY 9am EACH MONDAY WILL BE WITH US FOR IMMEDIATE DESPATCH ON THE WEDNESDAY. **
Rounded, elegant Bordeaux, fragrant with raspberries and red plums, with a persistent, spiced vanilla perfume of oak.
ABV = 13.50%.