Château Jean Faure: Tasting & Drinking

If I were asked to point out one very enticing feature of this estate, I think I would probably bring the significant proportion of Cabernet Franc in the vineyard to your attention first. The domaine has featured this variety above all others seemingly for as long as it has existed. In this it follows the lead of the other top estates at this end of the St Emilion appellation, namely Château Figeac, where Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon rule jointly over Merlot, and Château Cheval Blanc, where Cabernet Franc usually dominates the blend, its partner being Merlot. Between the latter domaine and Château Jean Faure, the vineyard of Château La Dominique is dominated by Merlot, but I think this is a reflection of the terroir. Château Cheval Blanc sits mainly on gravel, Château La Dominique on sand, Château Jean Faure on sand mixed with elements of gravel and clay. These are soils well suited to Cabernet Franc. I wonder if this is why Olivier Decelle and his team turned towards Hubert de Boüard de Laforest who has of course had so much success with Cabernet Franc at Château Angélus on what could fairly be described as being not the most prestigious soils in the appellation?

Château Jean Faure

This suitability of the variety for this terroir and of course for our changing climate seems to show through in the quality of the wines, in benevolent vintages at least. The 2015, a very fine vintage for St Emilion, and the 2009, good across the board, are both wines of very attractive quality which deserve to be considered. What is more, they show a distinct style which provides considerable interest in a sea of Merlot, both vintages showing the floral perfume and scents of cedar wood, pencil shavings or tobacco that can only come from the very high proportion of Cabernet Franc used. Admittedly, I didn’t find such charm or confidence in the 2012, 2013 or 2014 vintages, but none of these years would be considered top tier in the Bordeaux vintage hierarchy. (23/12/16)

Please log in to continue reading:

Subscribe Here / Lost Password