Château Dassault: Tasting & Drinking

The style of the wines at Château Dassault is undoubtedly modern, and this may to some extent be influenced by their consultant oenologist, Michel Rolland. Certainly, in their youth, they tend towards a very plush, bold, broad and textured style, with plenty of extract and not uncommonly a fairly significant concentration of alcohol. The 2015 barrel sample tasted at the primeurs, for example, was touted as having 15% alcohol, a figure which may of course have been rounded up, or down. It is not a style, at least at this stage, that always appeals to me.

Having said that, my experience with some older vintages has been perhaps a little more positive. At a tasting in early 2012 the 1995 in particular showed well, mature but in no way over the hill, a wine on which some critics closed their published drinking windows in 2006, which seems an extraordinarily premature judgement. My preference is to drink wines in elegant maturity though, rather than their awkward adolescence, so perhaps this accounts for the difference in opinion.

Other vintages were perhaps not as charming as the 1995, although with time I suspect those that show the quality of their vintage of origin – the 2000 in particular – will come good. A gentle and harmonious, evolved maturity seems to be the reward for patience here, rather than anything more impressive than that. Look to drink these wines from about ten years of age onwards, but like many wines of structure and form they are I suspect much better at twelve to fifteen years. Although how the more alcohol-rich wines of the modern era will fare is perhaps anyone’s guess. (14/6/12, updated 2/6/16, 12/3/23)

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