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“If wine is a beverage of pleasure, Roc de Cambes satisfies that requirement impeccably,” once wrote Robert Parker. The 2012 is absolutely a pleasure, an overachiever of the vintage, exceptionally concentrated and fully ripe. Winemaker François Mitjavile took a chance and picked the grapes in October for this Bordeaux and it paid off. It’s one of the finest the chateau has ever produced.
Roc de Cambes wines are perhaps the best in the Cotes De Bourg appellation, rivaling those of owner/winemaker François Mitjavile’s St. Emilion Grand Cru Classe Tertre Rotebouef. Located 30 km south, the terroir is remarkably similar. This vintage is stunning – creamy, rich, and dense with ripe red fruits, sweet spice and herbs. This is a wine for those “in the know.”
Tasting notes: The wine has notes of ripe cherries, coffee, vanilla, chocolate and herbs. It finishes with earthy, black cherry notes. Ready to drink now, it will be very rewarding for those who have the patience to the cellar it for a 5-15 more years.
Grapes: 75% Merlot, 20% Cabernet and 5% Cab Franc
Cooperage: Aged for 18-24 months in 50-60% new French Oak
About the winery:
Roc de Cambes is one of the top Bordeaux producers from the Cotes De Bourg appellation. In 1987, Francois Mitjavile bought the winery. He completely overhauled the 14th century chateau to allow for modern vinification techniques. With extensive work in the vineyards and improvements to the cellar, Roc de Cambes quickly came into its own, producing about 5,000 cases a year. It is now one of the top Bordeaux producers from the Cotes De Bourg appellation.
About the region:
Cote de Bourg has a long history as a wine-producing region. It has been under vine since Roman times. The appellation lies less than 30 kilometers due south of St Emilion and shares much of the same soil qualities. The main vine planted in Cote de Bourg is Merlot, and the grape is often blended with Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc from the region. Some Malbec is still grown there, but none is grown at the Roc de Cambes property.
About the winemaker:
François Mitjavile is considered one of France’s greatest winemaking talents, but back in 1970 he had no winemaking experience. That did not stop him from knocking on the door of Thierry Manoncourt’s historic Château Figeac and asking for a job. Manoncourt hired him, and for two years he trained and learned at Figeac. He left there to help at his wife’s family’s property in St. Emilion and eventually became winemaker there, renaming it Tertre Rotebeouf. Some in the wine world consider Mitjaville a genius because of his analytic skills, extreme confidence, and his willingness to risk everything (including waiting until October to harvest) in order to make the greatest wine possible. He produces wines with uncommon richness and body, while remaining perfectly balanced. If he cannot make the greatest wine possible, he prefers to make none at all.
A dark, imposing wine, the 2012 Roc des Cambes is distinctly dark and brooding. Black cherries, smoke, licorice, tar and dark spices fleshed [?]. Vertical in style and quite structured, the 2012 could use another few years in bottle to fully come together, which will also help the chewy tannins to integrate a bit more fully. Roc des Cambes is 75% Merlot, 20% Cabernet Sauvignon and 5% Malbec that spend 18 months in 100% new French oak. ~93 pts, A. Galloni of VM
Interesting comparing the Roc des Cambes with the Tertre-Roteboeuf, for here there is a little more drive and intensity on the nose, more volume emanating from the glass with pomegranate and cranberry scents intermingling with fresh gravel notes. The palate is soft and sensual on the entry with layers of fleshy red berry fruit. The tannins have a Burgundy-like finesse and there is a lovely touch of Schezhuan pepper numbing the tip of the tongue on the finish. This will be a fascinating Roc des Cambes. ~92NM
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