Château Malescasse: Tasting & Drinking

In my hunt for good value cuvées from the gravel vineyards of the Haut-Médoc appellation Château Malescasse seemed like a very promising port of call. Well-situated, apparently on a fairly deep gravel bed (even if the local topography certainly doesn’t really resemble the imposing gravel beds seen in grander appellations), with maturing vineyards and a committed proprietor with the financial ability to invest, there is much here to give us hope. Acknowledged, the vineyards may not be as rich in Cabernet Sauvignon as I might have hoped, there being a predominance of Merlot, although that does not necessarily translate through into the wine.

Indeed, what really matters is what is in the glass, and how strongly it speaks of the gravel. The grand vin is in fact dominated by Cabernet Sauvignon (with 55% against 40% Merlot in the 2014 vintage, for example), and of course we have Derenoncourt’s expertise in vineyard and chai to push quality a little bit further. The wines seem to deliver. As with all lesser terroirs, more difficult vintages put a strain on the wine, and this is evident in the 2012 and 2011 vintages. But a taste of the 2010, the vintage in which I really took notice of the château, clearly indicates this is a name worth knowing. (28/10/15)

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