Château Laroque 2018
Château Laroque is the largest estate in Saint-Émilion - coming in at an impressive 61-hectares (approximately, 150 acres). Yet despite its formidable size, the viticultural team of this Grand Cru Classé property manages to produce excellent vintages on a yearly basis, garnering more critical acclaim with each passing year. The 2018 was a particularly special vintage. It was scored 95-97 points by Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate. Starting with the 2018 vintage, after being distributed on an exclusive basis for many years, the owners of Château Laroque decided to offer the wine through Bordeaux’s en primeur network. Akin to the markets in financial assets, Place de Bordeaux is the marketplace where wine trading happens, bridging the gap between producers and buyers. To sweeten the offer to buyers, Château Laroque priced its wine below where its quality would have fetched. This not only left a good taste on the palate of the buyers, but also profit in their pocket. Many of our Bordeaux futures customers have seen the value of their Laroque holdings double in less than two years.
Château Laroque has a rich history dating back to the 12th Century, when it was a defensive stronghold overlooking the undulating hills of Saint-Émilion. If one visits the estate today, they will be sure to find remnants of an imposing guard tower that used be on the grounds. As far back as the 16th Century, the potential of the incredible terroir at Château Laroque was readily apparent. The magnificent Château that sits on the grounds today was constructed in the 17th Century by Marquis de Rochefort-Lavie. Château Laroque remained in the same family until the depression in 1929 and the estate temporarily halted wine production because they didn’t have the funds to continue.
In 1935, Château Laroque was acquired by the Beaumartin family. They were descendants from the Marquis who built the original château. In a serendipitous way, the estate returned to them. Things started to take off for the property around 2015, after an impressive renovation and extensive replanting of the vineyards. Perhaps one of the smartest decisions that was made here was bringing on the talented David Suire to take over managing Château Laroque. For years, David Suire has been the right-hand man of the well-respected Nicolas Thienpont. The Thienponts have a long history in Bordeaux, owning properties such as Château Le Pin and Vieux Chateau Certan. Nicolas wasn’t initially interested in entering the Wine Industry, but after University he started managing properties like Château Pavie Macquin and transforming them into Premiere Grand Cru Classé estates. Nicholas hired David after he graduated from university and mentored him. The two have been working together ever since. After honing his winemaking skills next to the Thienponts, David Suire now has a magnificent property to put his insights and skills to work. Early results already show what a great hiring decision the Beaumartins made, as the accolades roll in, and commercial success ensues.
The vines of Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon are 40 years old on average and farmed using 100% organic techniques. They choose not to be certified organic, simply because they want the freedom to make a wider variety of choices. Château Laroque is also HVE Certified, which is a rigorous process granted to vineyards who focus on increasing biodiversity, decreasing the negative environmental impact of their vineyards, and improving water management. The wines at Château Laroque are known for their delicate, mineral-driven nuance. The 2018 vintage was their first entering the en primeur or futures marketplace, as they were previously distributed exclusively through one firm. At Laguna Cellar, we were one of the first to discover this and leapt at the opportunity to acquire this wine for our customers who were loyal fans of this producer. Given the excellence of their grand vin, it’s fairly easy to see why.
"Deep garnet-purple colored, the 2018 Laroque is a little closed to begin, slowly unfurling to reveal fragrant black cherries, wild blueberries and blackberry preserves scents with hints of crushed rocks, underbrush and violets plus a waft of Marmite toast. Full-bodied and jam-packed with bright, crunchy black and blue fruits, it has a firm line of ripe, fine-grained tannins and loads of freshness, finishing very long and layered. Impressive! Being aged in oak barriques, 50% new, the blend is 97% Merlot and 3% Cabernet Franc." - Lisa Perrotti-Brown, Robert Parker's Wine Advocate (4/23/2019, Bordeaux 2018 Issue), Rating: 95-97
"This estate is in a cool, limestone terroir on the eastern side of Saint- Emilion, and it's been firing on all cylinders over the past decade, in no small part due to the talented director, David Suire. The 2018 Château Laroque checks in as almost all Merlot (there is 3% Cabernet Franc) that comes from an incredibly strict selection of just 41% of the total production. Brought up in a mix of new and used barrels, it's more about finesse than power, offering a gorgeous perfume of ripe black cherries, mulberries, cassis, violets, spring flowers, and chalky minerality. Medium to full-bodied, pure, and incredibly elegant on the palate, it builds nicely with time in the glass, has ultra-fine tannins, flawlessly integrated tannins, acidity and fruit, and a great finish. It's as classy as they come. Approachable today with a decant, it will drink nicely for 20 years or more. Readers looking for an impeccably made, classic, high-quality Saint-Emilion that doesn't break the bank should back up the truck for this beauty." Jeb Dunnuck, 2018 Bordeaux From The Bottle (3/11/2021) Rating: 96