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Château Poitevin 2012

Château Poitevin 2012

Nowhere else in Bordeaux is this region’s maritime climate more evident that the northern reaches of the Médoc, especially in the depths of winter. The air holds the salty tang of the sea, carried across the scrubby-sandy soils of the isthmus by cool Atlantic breezes which rustle the few red-gold leaves that still cling to the faded silhouettes of vines. It can, in less romantic words, be quite cold, wet and almost desolate. But as all committed drinkers of Bordeaux know, despite this there are some vinous gems waiting to be discovered here, such as Château Potensac and Château Preuillac. Another to add to the list is Château Poitevin.

Chateau Poitevin is unusual in Bordeaux in that its origins lie not with the nobility and merchants of the 18th or 19th centuries, but with a mid-20th century baker. In a story that would not be out of place in Bourgueil or Cheverny, in the 1950s René Poitevin looked after 2 hectares of vines close to Jau-Dignac-et-Loirac, as well as growing other crops on a polycultural smallholding, not to mention running the local boulangerie. The grapes went to the local co-operative, an arrangement which continued when his son Georges took over the running of the estate. It was only after the third generation Guillaume Poitevin arrived sur place in 1991 that the domaine was developed into a modern viticultural estate.

Château Poitevin 2012

Today there are 41 hectares of vines here, the traditional mix of Bordeaux varieties, and the fruit is no longer dispatched to the local co-operative. Instead it is vinified on the estate, and raised here in barrels before being bottled on site. There are a number of cuvées produced in white and red including a new creation Château Poitevin, a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Petit Verdot intended for drinking young, or short-term cellaring (short-term in Bordeaux, to my mind, being 10-to-15 years). The vineyards are run along the lines of viticulture raisonnée.

The 2012 vintage was not an easy one, with a rather damp spring, some very warm weather in summer in particular during August, but then a much more challenging harvest which was hampered by rain. The yield was 47 hl/ha, the fruit picked by machine, sorted across a traditional table and fermented cool before élevage in oak, using 30% new barrels, for 14 months. The 2012 Château Poitevin has a pretty colour, dark, with a cherry-red rim, and it presents a truly classic nose, with a savoury aromatic style, throwing forth notes of tobacco, earth and fresh moss, laced with notes of blackcurrant skins and juniper. This is followed by a fresh and cool style on the palate, restrained as per the vintage, with a lightly textured substance underpinned by a delicately polished and rather fine tannic structure. Delicately acid, savoury and fresh with blackcurrant fruit, in the end this has a little length, which is charming, bright and peppery. This is one for the classicists, a wine for a genuine lovers of Bordeaux, rather than the label drinkers. Well done. 90/100 (17/6/19)

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