Château Laroque 2020
• Domaine: Château Laroque
• Appellation: Saint-Emilion
• Classification: Grand Cru Classé, Saint-Emilion
• Origin: Right Bank, Bordeaux, France
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.
"Possibly one of the best buys out there, the 2020 Château Laroque comes from a cooler, clay and limestone terroir on the eastern side of the appellation, and this is exactly what you wanted in this vintage. Revealing a vivid purple hue as well as stunning notes of blueberries, cassis, liquid violets, and white truffle, it hits the palate with medium to full-bodied richness, a seamless, elegant texture, and gorgeous length on the finish. It plays in the more nuanced, elegant end of the spectrum yet still brings ample fruit, richness, and texture. It’s a stunning bottle of wine all about finesse and elegance. Tasted twice." - Jeb Dunnuck (5/23/2021), Rating: 95-97
"The 2020 Laroque is a blend of 99% Merlot and 1% Cabernet Franc, aging for around 16 to 18 months in French oak barrels, 50% new. The alcohol is 14.5%. Displaying a deep purple-black color, it slowly unfurls in the glass to reveal fantastically opulent notes of Indian spices, rose oil, dark chocolate and licorice, over a core of blueberry preserves, stewed plums and mulberries, plus a hint of dried mint. The medium to full-bodied palate is packed with layers of black and blue fruits, accented by exotic spices and supported by a racy backbone and velvety tannins, finishing long and perfumed. Gorgeous." - Lisa Perrotti-Brown, Robert Parker's Wine Advocate (5/20/2020, Bordeaux 2020 Issue), Rating: 94-96, Drink: 2024-2044