2016 EP Chateau Moulin Haut Laroque, Canon Fronsac

Deep ruby, tight rim. Soft tannins, medium bodied; suppressed fruit (raspberries, plums); overt oak (dark chocolate and espresso in the nose and on the palate); drying palate. Sounds like the fruit may not survive the development of structure and character. But we think the lurking fruit is ripe and intense. There will be good developments.

Scores are low. The top score is only JS90. That may be a good thing, if you decided to buy this wine.

Composition is 65% Merlot , 20% Cabernet Franc , 10% Cabernet Sauvignon and 5% Malbec . Vine density is high (5,500 to 6,700 vines per hectare). Newer plantings are done at the higher levels of vine density.

There are old Cabernet Franc vines that are more than 70 years of age, which add a lot to the wines character and concentration. They also have some of the regions oldest Malbec vines that are almost 80 years old!

Vinification takes place in small, temperature controlled, stainless steel vats. Malolactic fermentation takes place in French oak barrels. All wine is moved entirely by gravity, so there is lurking pure fruit behind. The wine is then aged in an average of 35% new, French oak barrels for about 18 months before bottling. All these explained why we believe the wine will become balanced in the long run.

Michel Rolland is the wine making consultant.