Château La Tour Carnet: Tasting & Drinking

We all have our own personal wine journey, a mental scrapbook upon the pages of which we paste memories of bottles and associated occasions and the people who were there. I don’t mind admitting that I have a soft spot for Château La Tour Carnet, an early encounter with the wines of this estate having occurred during a family holiday many years ago. I have to turn back a lot of pages, but the bottle is there. En route to France, with very young children in tow, we decided to break up the journey and stay in a country hotel not far from Stonehenge, which provided an obvious diversion. The hotel, although it sounds grand, was a small family-run affair, and I wasn’t expecting much at dinner. How wrong I was; the meal was delicious, and it was washed down with a bottle of pre-Magrez Château La Tour Carnet, which seemed to my inexperienced palate to have all the qualities I expected to find in a St Julien from next-door, with an elegant poise and balance.

Château La Tour Carnet

Every bottle of Château La Tour Carnet I come back to today I hope to find some glimmer of that wine, but I don’t think I will ever be able to relive that moment. For one thing, the style of the wine has now changed dramatically. Today they are inky dark, rich in slightly less well-defined fruit; they still have plenty of character and freshness, albeit bolstered today by added texture and weight. These are typical features of a Magrez wine (especially that dark colour – they are always such inky-looking wines). They still have appeal, but not in the same style as that bottle I enjoyed long ago.

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