Château Cap de Mourlin: Tasting & Drinking

There is a ‘house style’ to be found here at Château Cap de Mourlin, and it is a style that seems to run through the Capdemourlin portfolio, at least as far as I know it. The wines certainly bear a resemblance to those of Château Balestard La Tonnelle. They routinely display a dark colour, and aromatically they tend towards a soft and poorly-defined sweet-fruit character with a chocolate- and caramel- tinged richness, broad and robust tannins, as well as low acidity. The wines also tend towards higher alcohol levels, and in their youth they tend to display a dominant frame of vanillin, whisky-jar oak lactone with an almost high-toned edge, certainly adding to the spirity feel the wine often possesses. Some of these characteristics seem to me to reflect the approach to picking, hang-time and winemaking more than they do terroir or appellation.

Whether this is the influence of Michel Rolland, or the favoured style of Thierry Capdemourlin, or both, is impossible to know. Whatever the reason, both Château Cap de Mourlin and Château Balestard La Tonnelle present a very extreme example of the style. Apart from the 2008 which seemed – when tasted en primeur, so let us be circumspect about this note – to have an atypical freshness to it, the style here in most vintages will appeal to those looking for intensity and texture, with plenty of oak and alcohol adding to the substance of the wine, and who are not seeking freshness of flavour or balance above these elements. (8/8/12, updated 5/5/16)

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