top of page

Sociando-Mallet 2002, 2003, 2012, 2014

Sociando Mallet uniquely shapes my tasting career: it helps form my wine quality concept. What struck me most about Sociando Mallet is their consistency. . Not only are they excellent in the good years, but they are also very well made in the less-good times. While it's always true that not all tasters like the Socialndo Mallet style, its performance, at least in the eyes of Parker et al., is always far better in structure, harmony, elegance and balance than some of the Crus, regardless of the vintage conditions. Every time I tasted the bottles, I was always in a meditative state.

Based in the Haut-Medoc just north of St Estephe, Sociando Mallet did not exist at the time of the 1855 classification and had no chance to opt to enter the Cru Bourgeois system. Neither a classed growth nor a Cru Bourgeois, Sociando-Mallet is structurally placed as an anomaly. To me, Sociando-Mallet is just too good to be classified. And this query, whether we need classification systems, is always on my mind.

The average age of the vines is 35 years, with 55% being Cabernet Sauvignon, 40% Merlot and 5% Cabernet Franc; hence there are always complexities and intensities with the wines. The great vineyard sites, which lie on gravel over a clay-limestone subsoil sloping down to the river, are unusual in that they ripen quicker than their more southerly counterparts and are therefore picked earlier. The Chateau’s wines are always matured in 100% new barrels; hence there is always a spectrum of nose and taste.

This is rare for a non-classed growth, but the fact the wines absorb this amount of new oak so comfortably underlines their structure and quality. With 20 years+ of ageing for these four off-vintaged sets, all vintages are woven with silky fruit/wood tannins with unique wine structures. Yet all vintage shows peculiar characters. All vintages tasted are form roughly from 55% Cabernet Sauvignon, 40% Merlot, and 5% Cabernet Franc described above. Fruit tones(primary, secondary and tertiary) are overall well balanced.

2002 reflects the fruity character of the vintage. Deep ruby with a medium garnet rim gives a classic Haut Medoc bouquet with a pleasant fruity touch and melted tar and graphite aromas with time. Masculine and earthy, the palate is somewhat grainy, barely drying, and in synthesis with the structure. This 2002 is precisely the kind of good work Sociando Mallet can do in a difficult vintage.

2003 is mega-concentrated. With silky tannins, sappy acidity, and excellent fruit length, the fruit nose is primary mainly, with few signs of evolution. Tannins are sweet. With deep ruby with a medium garnet rim, it noses notes of blackberries, blackcurrants and a pleasant touch of eucalyptus. On the palate, it is fruity, fresh, balanced and persistent finish(tones of cedar, leather, spices).

2012 is fresher. Deep purple colour with a tight pink rim. Sweetish dark fruit, ripe tannins, decent acidity, medium to full-bodied mouthfeel and stunning cassis fruit in the finish put this wine right amid the best-classified crus from the Médoc not classified. Go figure. Soft and easy to drink, this wine will still age beautifully for another five years.

2014. Deep, ruby, tight rim. it shows lots of potential. Intense Blackcurrant tones. Smoky aroma; austere, robust build, dense, of good length, tensioned; the style has remained faithfully Sociando-Mallet, but compared to the primeur pattern, it appears harsher and has lost some of its balance—mineral finish, full-bodied, structured, as intense as the nose. Could taste too intense for some. Steadfast.


bottom of page