Château du Val d’Or: Tasting & Drinking

My experiences with the wines of Château du Val d’Or stretch back to the very early years of the 21st century. Having first visited in 2006 I tasted several vintages which showed gentle but appealing concentration, and a restrained seam of fruit. More recently, however, quality seems to be on the rise. As the vintage being poured on my most recent visit was the 2009, this may of course be a vintage effect, although it is impossible to discount Philippe’s many improvements and innovations as having had no contribution at all. In particular, the 2009 vintage was the first in which he trialled his new system of submerging and mobilising the cap using a grill and compressed air, and it was also the first vintage in which the berries were sorted according to size (pictured below), the grand vin taking only the smaller berries.

Château du Val d'Or

In an era in which the high-flying proprietors of classed growth châteaux squabble over the latest incarnation of the St Emilion classification, it is refreshing to see that elsewhere, within the same appellation (the grand cru classé and premier grand cru classé layers are internal to the St Emilion Grand Cru appellation) there are vignerons who, despite having only a lesser terroir at their disposal which would never qualify for such ennobled rankings, still strive to turn out the very best wine they can, while simultaneously keeping the eventual price as low as possible. Philippe Bardet is one such vigneron. (12/3/13)

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