Laguna Cellar Wine of the Month - December 2022
Regum Mensis Aris Que Deorum - For the tables of kings and altars of the gods
The historic grounds of Château d’Issan are unquestionably some of the most resplendent and breathtaking in the Médoc. With its gothic towers and moats, visiting Château d’Issan is a bit like traveling back in time. Château d’Issan is one of the oldest châteaux in Bordeaux, and its history is as rich and powerful as its wines. Though the wines were forgettable in the 1980s, they have skyrocketed in terms of quality in recent years. Robert Parker Jr, the famed wine critic has stated when Château d’Issan produces good vintages, their wines are undoubtedly some of the greatest in all of Bordeaux. It is no surprise that the motto of this estate engraved above the château door is, "Regum Mensis Aris Que Deorum“ which means - "for the tables of kings and altars of the gods.”
For modern day wine drinkers, Fronsac is not a household name as Pauillac, Margaux, Saint-Julien, or Saint-Emilion that define Bordeaux. But, once upon a time, Fronsac's vineyards were among the best in the Bordeaux area. In the 18th century, Fronsac’s wines enjoyed the best reputation in the Libourne area (i.e., the Right Bank of the Dordogne River), and sold at higher prices than those of Saint Emilion and Pomerol. As the single largest property in Fronsac, Château de La Dauphine is mounting a major come-back, evoking its ties to Charlemagne (who built a fortress in Fronsac), Cardinal de Richelieu (who acquired the land and made its wine famous among the nobles), and its namesake title resulting from the visit of Louis XVI's mother, Mary Josepha of Saxany, who was known as La Dauphine (the French word for "The Princess"). She never became the French queen as her husband died from illness before being crowned. Her son married Marie Antoinette and ascended the throne as the last French king before the French Revolution. La Dauphine, Mary Josepha of Saxany, was hence the mother-in-law of the more famous Marie Antoinette, an ill-fated Austrian princess who was swept up in the tidal waves of the revolution.
The wines of Château Langoa Barton have the gracefully elegant fruit of a Saint Julien coupled with the masculine, cedar qualities associated with a Pauillac during their strongest vintages. If one is fortunate enough to visit the estate, the impressively large 18th Century Château might look familiar. That is because this château is also the facility where the renowned “Super Second” and sister property, Château Léoville-Barton produces their wines.
Château de la Dauphine 2016 - "The 2016 la Dauphine, from the Famille Labrune, has a lifted and quite floral, almost Margaux-like bouquet that opens beautifully in the glass. The palate is medium-bodied with ripe tannin, smooth in texture, tightening up towards the slightly attenuated finish. This will probably require two or three years in bottle but there is good potential here, even if it does not quite excite as much as last year's 2015." - Neal Martin, The Wine Advocate (4/28/2017, Issue 230), Ratings: 89-91, Drink: 2019-2032
Château d'Issan 2017 - "The 2017 Chateau D'Issan offers more of everything, with a deep ruby/plum color and rocking notes of black raspberries, cassis, spring flowers, violets, loamy earth, and dried tobacco. Beautifully textured, elegant, and finesse-oriented, it has excellent tannins, medium to full body, and an outstanding finish. Based on a blend of 65% Cabernet Sauvignon and 35% Merlot representing just 47% of the total production, aged in 50% new oak, give bottles 3-5 years and enjoy over the following two decades. This estate covers just over 42 hectares of vines planted in deep, gravelly, clay-based soils. The quality here has been on an upward trend over the past decade thanks to the talents of Emmanuel Cruse and consultant Eric Boissenot." Jeb Dunnuck, 2017 Bordeaux From Bottle (2/26/2020) Rating: 93
Château Larrivet Haut-Brion 2018 - "Deep garnet-purple colored, the 2018 Larrivet Haut-Brion offers up notes of baked plums, stewed cherries and warm cassis with hints of wilted roses, bouquet garni and raisin cake. Medium-bodied with a good amount of spicy baked berries flavors, the palate has a clever structure of soft tannins and lovely freshness, finishing with an herbal lift." - Lisa Perrotti-Brown, The Wine Advocate (4/23/2019, Bordeaux 2018 Issue), Ratings: 91-93
Château Langoa Barton 2012 - "Plenty of juicy blackcurrant fruit and background oak are present in this plump, medium to full-bodied, ripe, well-made wine. Not nearly as tannic as I feared, this wine shows a forward plumpness, excellent purity, texture and length. Drink it over the next 15-20 years." Robert Parker, The Wine Advocate Issue 218, Rating: 90 Drink: 2015-2035
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Château Les Carmes Haut-Brion 2018Special Price $187.95 Average US Price $195.00
Château Les Carmes Haut-Brion 2016Special Price $189.95 Average US Price $210.00
Château d'Issan 2019Special Price $64.95 Average US Price $86.00
Château Leoville Barton 2018Special Price $118.95 Average US Price $163.00
Château Leoville Barton 2014Special Price $93.95 Average US Price $111.00