Ni classé, ni bourgeois .. Sociando-Mallet tout simplement.
- Sociando-Mallet twitter biog
Neither a classed growth nor even a Cru Bourgeois, Sociando-Mallet is something of an anomaly. Based in the Haut-Medoc just north of St Estephe, it did not exist at the time of the 1855 classification and has opted not to enter the Cru Bourgeois system.
Before and during a dinner at 67 Pall Mall, we tasted a vertical of both the grand vin and La Demoiselle de Sociando-Mallet going back to 1998.
Two things struck me about all the wines; quality and consistency. Not only are they excellent in the good years, they are also very well made in the less-good times.
This is no mean feat; in the cooler, damper years of 2011 - 2013, I tasted many over-extracted, unbalanced Grands Crus that had been marred by too heavy a hand in the cellar. By contrast, the wines of Sociando-Mallet achieve a balance and elegance in every year, regardless of the conditions of the vintage.
As Pascale Thiel and Sybile Marquet explained; the harvest date is the key determinant of the character of the wines which are intended to reflect the vintage.
Demoiselle 2014 bramble, cherry, coffee and spices; balanced, fresh and harmonious with very fine tannins. Very Good.
Demoiselle 2013 leaner and thinner, but still very elegant. Good.
2012 denser, longer and darker-fruited with a more muscular core. Very Good.
2011 more opened-up and drinking nicely now; a good light claret. Good.
2010 earthy truffleyness, kirsch and black fruit; assured, muscular and dense, but still closed-up. Very long and adept with fine, supple tannins. Will repay aging; leave for 5+ years. Very Good Indeed.
2009 from a warmer year, more alcoholic, fruited and hedonistic; drinking nicely now but without the aging potential of 2010. Very Good.
2006 soft, supple and harmonious; lovely mature Bordeaux. Very Good.
2005 truffles, bramble fruit and freshness; classic aged Medoc showing beautifully now, but with further to go; harmonious and supple with lovely, fine tannins. Very Good Indeed.
2001 tarry, fresh, complex and aged, the red-plum fruit slightly drying out. Very Good.
Cuvée Jean Gautreau 1998 a selection of the best barrels of the year evolved and complex with truffles, tarriness, some rosehip and dried bell pepper - classic aged Medoc character. Very Good Indeed.
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