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Michel Théron and Stéphanie Destruhaut, the couple behind the Bordeaux estate that is often referred to simply as Jaugueyron, have long provided some of our favorite Left Bank, Cab-heavy reds. The Chambers crew was giddy when our latest allocation came through the door earlier this January. As expected, the wines are brilliant. Welcome to the Médoc, through the lens of Jaugueyron - wines defined by youthful accessibility, along with healthy structure and fruit that foreshadows obvious, long-term development.
I opened the 2016 Haut Médoc at the store, and after everyone took their first sips, the whole team had wide eyes and big grins. The nose was earthy, with tilled soil, chopped herb stems and peeled, woodsy bark. Aromas of fresh and dried red and black berries wafted from the glass. On the palate, plump, dark, and minty fruits gave the wine a supple, filling mouthfeel, though balanced out by the wine's brisk stoniness and leveled acidity. It would be a mistake to think of this as an "entry-level" wine.
One of the most exciting bottles that we secured this year was the 2014 'Perrain' Margaux. Named after the plot of vines from which the grapes come, this bottle is a blend of 75% Cabernet Sauvignon and 25% Cabernet Franc. No Merlot, and I think that is apparent in the wine's profile. The wine had a beautiful nose, with violets, small plums, and dark tea leaves. Shocks of graphite, tart red cherries, and fresh green herbs showed on the palate. Though the wine wasn't juicy, it didn't have to be. After 4 hours in a decanter, the woven tannins created a blanketing mouthfeel, upon which lively, gravelly flavors rolled - along with lapping nuances of plum, cherry leaves, and pepper. Not only no Merlot in this Margaux, but no oak is used either. Instead, fermentation and aging takes place in concrete.
Also new this year is the estate's namesake 2016 'Clos du Jaugueyron' Margaux, which the importer describes as "elegant and open," with "bold tannins and assertive acidity."Although he does call the wine "a baby," in regard to its stage of development, the 'Clos du Jaugueyron' Margaux vintages I've had in the past all have something so coolly delicious about them in their youth. It is absolutely true, however, that these wines are built to last and tucking away a few bottles from your order is a must. We're also lucky enough to have received two vintages of the 'Nout' Margaux, both 2014 and 2015. Though the 2015 is grander in structure, both show essences of citrus, bright red fruits, spicy pepper, and crushed, dark stones.
Michel comes from a winegrowing family, but one rather far from the Médoc and the banks of the Gironde. His parents farmed grapes in the Minervois AOC, close to the Mediterranean coast in Southern France's region of Languedoc Rousillon. With the plan of returning home to take over the estate in Minervois, he headed to Bordeaux to study winemaking in 1988. There he met Stéphanie, his future wife, and the two bought a piece of land in Cantenac, producing their first wine from that parcel in 1994.
Michel fell in love with the area and realized its bounty of natural beauty and power. He did not return home to Minvervois. He was in love with a Bordelais woman and, together, they were in love with their home and their land, in the Médoc. Since the beginning, they have treated their small holdings of field and vine with respect and care. They have never used synthetic treatments in the vineyards.
The estate is now roughly 7 hectares, with property inside the communes of Arsac, Cantenac and Margaux. All are farmed with organic and biodynamic practices. A combination of soils, parcels grown on loose sand and gravel, in addition to parcels on sites with more clay, allow for flashy, dark mineral tones and tender red and black fruits. From their Haut Médoc bottling to the flagship Margaux, vintage after vintage, Michel and Stéphanie's wines display a purity, a freshness, that many other producers from the area do not seem interested in achieving with their own. Don't get me wrong, the wines are hearty, but they're also brimming with life. Oak (when used) doesn't mask the natural flavors and structure that the soil and other environmental factors contribute - it accentuates them. New wood is used, with precision, in combination with old barrels, and sometimes there is no wood at all like with the 'Perrain' 2014. Fermentation is done naturally and little sulfur is used during the process.
The items below are limited in quantity, and in many ways that's a good thing. Proof that production is honest and thoughtful, made by people who will only reap what they have sowed ethically and with care. We are always proud to send out our Jaugueyron offers, and we're always excited when the doors open and more of Michel and Stéphanie's wines arrive at 148 Chambers Street, even if we'd wish it happened more often. As I've said repeatedly in this email, these wines are for today,but also for tomorrow. When you taste them you'll get an idea of their vitality, and you'll make your own decisions on how long to put them down... but my guess is they'll disappear from your cellar quicker than you think. David Hatzopoulos
The 2016 Haut-Medoc is incredible. 60% Cabernet Sauvignon, 33% Merlot and 7% Petit Verdot, vine age averaging 18 years old, planted to fine gravel soils. Certified organic and biodynamic. Harvest was done manually between September 20th to October 3rd. Naturally fermented in a dramatic range of cement tanks (40, 45, 50, 55, 60, 65, 70, 75, 80 hl). Aged in barrel for 12 months on the lees. The nose is beautiful - mulch, black and red fruits, stripped dark bark. The palate is exceptional - red cherry, plum, raisin. There is also something quite minty about the wine. However, the mouthfeel is the best part of the story. Dense and light at the same time. I attribute that to the gravelly soil, which give the wine a chewable texture, while still letting the wine shine with briskness. Delicious. Drink now, or keep it for 15 years. David Hatzopoulos
The 2014 'Perrain' Margaux from Clos du Jaugueyron is an expertly made wine the from soils of sand, gravel, and clay. Michel Théron and Stéphanie Destruhaut, the couple that own the estate, are dedicated to organic and biodynamic processes, and try to do as little as possible to manipulate the wine in the cellar. The 'Perrain' is a blend of 75% Cabernet Sauvignon and 15% Cabernet Franc - no Merlot in this bottle. The juice goes through fermentation naturally, and the resulting wine is aged in concrete vats for 3 years before release. No oak, new or old, is seen. The color is a purple/red in the glass. On the nose it showed dark flowers, wild plums and black tea. The palate, immediately after opening, was strong and edgy, with herbs, red cherry, and zesty mineral flavors. After 4 hours decanted, the structure was seamless, with woven tannins and the classic flavors of gravel, cherry leaves, plum and pepper. Definitely give this wine some air, but no reason why you shouldn't enjoy it today. However, will develop for another 10-12 years, I'd say. David Hatzopoulos
“Nout” is a pure-fruited and grippy Margaux that is mainly sourced from Michel Théron’s younger vines of Merlot planted in the sandy soils of Macau; the remainder is Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc. Michel’s judicious use of more new oak for this cuvée lends structure to the blend; elevating the earthy, graphite mineral notes of the Cabernet and softening the sapid berry fruit of the Merlot for a refreshing and exquisitely textured Margaux (especially in the lean 2014 vintage). The aromas offer lovely strawberry and blood orange notes with mellow tones of cocoa, thyme, ash, and earth. The palate is silken and buoyed by bright acidity and powdery tannins. Flavors of dried red currants, citrus, and pepper play out on a long mineral finish. A great value Margaux that is drinking now and will only get better with time in the bottle. Amanda Bowman
This cuvée from Michel Théron is from some of his younger vines (60% Cabernet Sauvignon, 40% Merlot) in Macau and sees 50% new oak. However, like all he produces, this bottle isn’t incoherently dense. There is a taut and assertive medley of black and red fruit on the nose, with a unique salty spark. The palate is spicy, with cassis and pepper, and savory, with jerky, miso, and mint. This wine should be experienced while youthfully bright, but it is formidable, with a hearty character that will continue to evolve over the next 15 years or more. David Hatzopoulos
This is the 'Clos du Juagueyron' of Clos du Jaugueyron- the crème de la crème. Past vintages have been staggeringly delicious, and the 2016 shouldn't be any different. It is a blend of 70% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Merlot, and 10% Cabernet Franc from the soils in Arsac, that have more clay than the surrounding regions of Haut Médoc. Still, soils remain sandy and gravelly, allowing vineyards optimal drainage. Michel Théron and Stéphanie Destruhaut have never put synthetic products on their vines, and farm their plots with organic and biodynamic methods. In the cellar, the grapes are fermented in both tank and concrete, and allowed a 20 day maceration before pressing. The resulting wine spends 12 months in wood, which about 70% is new. After this, the wine is transferred to vats in order to settle before bottling. Our supplier, who tasted the wine before release, describes it as "elegant and open" with "bold tannin and assertive acidity." The wine no doubt has many, many, many, many years ahead of it - but drinking one now, after a good decant, is a smart idea. You'll get an idea of what lies ahead for this beautiful Margaux... David Hatzopoulos