Chateau Charmail 2005, Haut Medoc
To do justice to Chateau Charmail 2005 is not easy. While quality is there in the glass, how do we brings out the expensive ‘claretic’ touch of Chateau Charmail 2005 as much as we can? To start with, the colour is still deep ruby with rim showing some age. The nose is ripe and mature; fruit is dried prunes and berries; oak tones are more in the form of tobacco, licorice, and spice more than creamy vanilla. The medium weighted palate reflects the nose: a slightly dried fruit character dominated now by tannin and acidity. People will say that this wine is extracted, which is, in our view, not exactly true.
Over the dinner,eve more generous merlot fruit is uncovered. These softer and riper fruit adds certain richness to the Haut Medoc tripod of soil-tannin-acidity type of austerity. And these fruit characters continue to stay strong. This strength of Chateau Charmail 2005, in our view, could hardly be repeated in other categories. So it would seem that there is every bit of truth in Parker’s saying that this is a wine from the Sleeper Vintage. Close to St. Estephe (northern Medoc), this cooler wine gets only 13% abv (in a hot vintage) and the fruit just do not exaggerate, given the acidity and tannins.
This wine becomes reachable if one understands more about the style making, like 15 day cold soak at 5 degrees Celsius prior to fermentation, cooler stainless steel tank fermentation with a 21-day cuvaison, ageing in 12 months in an average of 30% new, French oak barrels, and that this wine is not filtered and unfined, and has been racked only 2 times a year. Terroir is 34 hectares on a single plot on sloping terrain with a southerly aspect looking out to the Gironde estuary, and so a great ripeness. Soils are clay gravel, sandy gravel and colluvium, and so the structure. The end result is a claret which can be drunk young and which will not conflict with their ability to age owing to the richness of the tannins.
The Wine Advocate - "Another fabulous sleeper of the vintage, the 2005 Charmail is a blend of 45% Merlot, 35% Cabernet Sauvignon, and the rest Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot. There are 10,000 cases of this exquisite, sexy, deep purple-hued effort. It displays plenty of creme de cassis notes intermixed with notions of licorice, charcoal, and cedar, sweet fruit, round, ripe tannins, an endearing opulence, and a long finish. Drink it over the next decade."
International Wine Cellar - "Red-ruby. Very ripe aromas of plum, redcurrant, raspberry and smoked meat. Ripe, plush and sweet; harmonious and pliant. Slightly medicinal red berry and licorice flavors show very good breadth, and the ripely tannic finish displays good length. Much more successful than the 2006.