Sometimes something comes along that really doesn’t need me to sell it to you. Here’s a St Emilion Grand Cru Classé (which means it’s a level up from regular St Émilion Grand Cru), from an ancient estate smack inside the village of St Émilion itself, at fourteen years of age, from the stupendously good 2005 vintage, at $40. A lower price than you could find their most recent release for. Go!
2005 Couvent Des Jacobins, St Émilion Grand Cru Classé
Beautifully poised St Émilion, with just the right balance of ripe fruit typical of 2005, with freshness and length. This is just starting to develop secondary leather and spice flavours to go along with the cherry and plum. Medium to full bodied, smooth tannins and excellent length. At this price, an absolute steal.
More about the Wine:
This is absolutely classic, mature claret at an unbeatable price. I suspect the reason that it’s such a bargain is that Robert Parker never liked Couvent des Jacobins. As far as I can see he never gave them a score higher than the mid to high 80s, and didn’t even rate the wines at all between 2001 and 2007. As I’ve written many times before, I have no personal problem with Robert Parker and think he might be the best writer of a tasting note ever- but like anyone else he definitely has his personal preferences and is no oracle of what is objectively good or not. However he exerted such influence over the market that often the best opportunities are those that he missed. One of our most popular ever Bordeaux e-mail offers at Gordon’s was 2005 Lagrange, a wine which he gave 87 points and said ‘lacks sweetness’.
There’s not a lot of sweetness in Lagrange 2005 and there’s not a lot here either, so if you want something that’s going to blow your head off with a huge amount of power, weight and oak, you might want to look elsewhere. This is going to taste like a fourteen year old St Émilion should. Balanced, bright yet restrained, though with no lack of stuffing. It’s probably never going to get a huge score from a critic but at this point it is seriously delicious and a ridiculous value.
Incredibly enough the estate’s history goes back to 1389 when the land was given to the “Jacobin” friars of the Domenican Brotherhood, who happened to be fond of a nice drop of wine, and grew vines here until the French Revolution when finally the Couvent des Jacobins entered private hands as a winery.
Soils are sandy clay-limestone with traces of iron, and while the vineyard is now 89% Merlot, 11% Cabernet Franc and 4% Petit Verdot, back when this one was made it was a straightforward 75% Merlot 25% Cabernet Franc.