Merlot, Lord of Saint-Emilion
Merlot, silky and fruity, represents on an average two thirds of the plantations.
Over time, the winemakers of Saint-Emilion have selected three cépages particularly suited to their terroirs and showcased it wonderfully.
The terroir, at the beginning of the magic of Saint-Emilion
Saint-Emilion is a world apart. Surrounded by two rivers, the Isle and the Dordogne, crossed by two small tributaries of the Isle, Saint-Emilion has a very favorable microclimate. Temperate oceanic climate, a tiny bit more continental than in the rest of Bordeaux, this microclimate is characterized by well distributed rainfall during the year and its hot, dry summers. The benevolent presence of the four rivers moderates the summer heat as well as the rigors of the winter. The gently sloping soils, predominantly clay and limestone, complete this ideal setting for the development of the vine.
The cépages of Saint-Emilion
On this particular terroir the personalities of four cépages are expressed: Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon and, to some extent, Malbec. Cabernet Franc (or Bouchet), which is tannic and very aromatic, accounts for nearly a third of the plantations. Very demanding to grow, it ripens about two weeks after Merlot. The third cépage, the Cabernet Sauvignon, reinforces the tannins and the aging potential. It accounts for a tenth of the production. Cabernet Sauvignon thrives especially on dry and warm soils and brings spicy notes to the wine. Finally, one last cépage, the Malbec makes a few discrete appearances.
The elegance of the Saint-Emilion Merlot
Over the centuries, Merlot has become the favored cépage of Saint-Emilion. It reaches perfect maturity that allows it to express all of its character during the winemaking process. Its importance in the assembly sets the tone: that of a refined elegance but not devoid of simplicity. Merlot is recognizable by its roundedness in the mouth, its aromatic complexity pulling through blackberry and cherry flavors and its rich alcohol content. This beautiful presence allows the Saint-Emilion wines to subtly interact with game-based or spicy dishes. The intense ruby color that coats the young Saint-Emilion wine, already very pleasant to drink, is another gift from Merlot.