2009 Larmande, St-Emilion
We always feel confident on writing about Chateau Larmande as we understand the wines more, after hosting our verticals with the maker Claire Thomas-Chenard at the UBS Hong Kong years back. This wine has a special kind of elegance, partly because of the vintage 2009 and mainly because of the wine making style; yet still hanging in with a lot to give. Nose is big (14% abv) and ripe, with rich mixed red (wild raspberries) and black fruit (crushed blackberries) and dark roasted coffee beans, dark chocolate and creamy. Silky tannins (grainy to start with though) and a reserved, fruity aftertaste, so this wine needs some decanting and can age/evolve for another 5 years. There is adequate complexity and decent fruit length. Quality is good and matches Cru Classe B level. A modern rendition.
This is really an under-rated wine, in Team's view. Nonetheless, as of today over 15% of 127 Vivino tasters on Larmande 2009 rated it 5-star and over tor 60% ranked it 4-star, a result which points to reception of Larmande 2009.
Compsition is 65% Merlot, 30% Cab Franc, 5% Cabernet Sauvignon on relatively small 19 ha soil of sand, clay and limestone soils. Their best vines are probably those that are close to Soutard, hence there is always a rusticity (colour, tannins, structure) recalling Soutard. On average, the vines are 30 years of age. However, they have very old vines. Some of their Cabernet Franc vines are more than 100 years old, making them among the oldest vines in the entire Saint Emilion appellation. The vineyard of Chateau Larmande is planted to a vine density of 6,000 vines per hectare.
The estate employed Michel Rolland as the consultant. So by design, it is closer to consumer. The wine of Chateau Larmande is vinified in 16 temperature controlled, stainless steel vats that range in size from 74 hectoliters up to 136 hectolitres. The wine is aged in 60% new, French oak barrels for close to 18 months, so the palate is quite modern. The exact amount of time varies, depending on the vintage. The average annual production of Larmande hovers at close to 9,000 cases per year. There is a second wine, by the name Le Cadet de Larmande which is a quaffing wine, albeit with much less palate intensity and complexity.
94 points James Suckling
A wine, with beautiful focused fruit of raspberries and citrus fruit follow through to a full body, with super polished tannins and a bright acidity. Very lively. The superb quality of the Cabernet Franc comes through here. Better in 2015. (2/2012)
92 points Wine Enthusiast
Concentrated, dark wine that edges towards austere. Beneath this surface, the wine shows some generous fruit. Give it a few years and the more approachable nature will begin to show through. (RV) (2/2012)
92 points Wine Spectator
Rather dark and winey, with almost chewy-edged currant, plum sauce and roasted fig notes laced with bittersweet cocoa and backed by a loamy edge on the dense finish. The buried graphite spine should allow this to stretch out in the cellar. Best from 2014 through 2024. 3,640 cases made. (JM) (3/2012)