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Chateau Charmail 2008, Haut Medoc CBS

Muted nose turns fruity on 30-minutes decanting; it shows tertiary aromas such as tanned leather and toast. Ample and rounded tanins lingers; it gives a taste of fresh cherries, tamed alcoholic, with a long mineral finish and is very balanced. Of Mid-weight, it is of the more austere style. At mere 13 ABV, it remains easy to drink (medium bodied; reasonable fruit); pleasurable undemanding; stylish, dense and ripe. It would seem that this is a wine from the Sleeper Vintage. Close to St. Estephe (northern Medoc), this more relaxed wine gets only 13% abv from a hot vintage 2008), and the merlot fruit just does not exaggerate, given the acidity and tannins. It is the time to crack a bottle.

Wine stylistics is attributable to the cold making. Some 15-day cold soak at 5 degrees Celsius before 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 unfiltered and unfined, and racked only two 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 high ripeness even in austere vintages. 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.

Chateau Charmail's 22.5-hectare vineyard gives good economy of scale for, and so the price is very competitive. Chateau Charmail is always one of the better CBs. Have confidence.Quality is good, confirmed by out tasting of vintages 2000, 2005, 2007, 2008, 2015 and 2016). Consistent scores also for this Vintage 2008, as it accorded 88 from prestigious WS and RP et al.

Robert Parker 88 This dark ruby/plum/purple-tinged sleeper of the vintage exhibits plenty of sweet black currant fruit intertwined with hints of incense and damp earth. Medium-bodied with plenty of juicy, savory fruit, soft tannin and decent acidity, it will drink well for 5-7 years.

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