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Chateau Larmande 2000, St Emilion Grand Cru Classe

We always feel confident in 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 particular kind of elegance, mainly because of the winemaking style. Yet this vintage 2000 is powerful and ripe ; yet still hanging in with a lot to give.

Nose is significant (14% abv) and ripe, with rich mixed red (wild raspberries) and black fruit (crushed blackberries), as well as dark roasted coffee beans, dark chocolate and used leather. Chunky yet resolved tannins (grainy to start with though) and a reserved, fruity aftertaste, so this wine needs some decanting and can age/evolve for another two or three years. There are sufficient complexity by Grand Cru Classe standard with decent fruit length. Quality is excellent and matches Cru Classe B level. A modern rendition.

Michel Rolland as the consultant for Larmande. So by design, the stylistics is closer to the consumer. There is a second wine, by the name Le Cadet de Larmande which we have tasted since its 2004 vintage. It is a quaffing wine, albeit with much less palate intensity and complexity.

An under-rated wine, in Team's view. Nonetheless, as of today, over 74 Vivino tasters on Larmande 2000 rated it 4.2 Points out of Five. Score is WE88 and DD92. Composition 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. Wine Cellar Insider wrote that '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 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.

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