From: Saint-Emilion, Bordeaux, France
Blend: 70% Merlot, 30% Cabernet Sauvignon
Taste: Upon opening, notes of pipe tobacco, leather, and cedar melt into intense aromas of ripe red fruits like raspberry, bing cherry, and boysenberry. These lush fruit notes become buoyed by a hint of mint and licorice, spiced vanilla bean, and caramel. The initial pipe tobacco and leather remain, though they pull back with air to showcase a beautiful balance between sensual, pure fruit and a complex, mineral freshness.
Pairing: Generally, you can’t go wrong with partnering wines like this with local dishes like confit duck or beef entrecôte, though many international dishes work wonderfully! Some examples of options for this wine include duck or game terrine with some quince jelly on the side, shoulder of lamb roasted with rosemary or thyme with seasonal greens, BBQ or braised ribs (check out the recipe below!), and/or a juicy grilled burger with melted cheese and sautéed mushrooms (sounds crazy but is delicious), roast pigeon, served with a thick, rich red wine jus and confit shallots, or stews of lamb or game, especially those with slightly more middle-eastern influences, such as tagines.
Garlic Braised Short Ribs With Red Wine
By Alison Roman
About. Many thanks to De Maison Selections for the following information.
Château Arcole is a tiny hidden gem in the Saint-Émilion Grand Cru appellation, in the village of Saint-Sulpice-de-Faleyrens, just south of St. Émilion, one km from the Dordogne river. Located in a renovated, historic farm building dating from the 19th century, Arcole is the work of an impressive, dynamic Bordeaux family completely immersed in winemaking, with deep roots in the Entre-Deux-Mers region. Philippe Gardère is the vineyard manager and enologist at Château Arcole, while Véronique Barthe is responsible for the sales, marketing, and communications of the winery. Their daughter, Manon, is also becoming more involved in the family business, while their son Pierrick works nearby at Troplong Mondot.
The Château owes its name to the Battle of Pont d’Arcole, which pitted Napoleon’s army against Austrian soldiers in Northern Italy in 1796. Jean Barthe, soldier of the Napoleonic Guard and ancestor of Véronique Barthe, was a decisive contributor to Napoleon’s victory in the battle. As a show of gratitude, Jean Barthe received gold coins from Napoleon as a wedding present (the emperor was married on the same day), which he used to acquire his first vineyards in the region, initiating the Barthe family business. For more than two centuries, the property has passed down from generation to generation. Two symbols, which are important to the family, are featured prominently on the label: a bee, representing their dedication to working with nature and organic farming, and a portrait of Napoleon, linking their family’s origins in the Bordeaux region.
Château Arcole consists of a single, five-hectare vineyard surrounding the small house. What distinguishes Arcole from other vineyards in the region is the impressive biodiversity of the property, which features elements of agroforestry and regenerative farming practices in the vineyard, such as cover grasses between vine rows. As a result, the plot is alive with animal and insect activity, contributing to the prosperity of the vineyard’s microclimate. Historically, herbicides and insecticides have not been used in the Arcole vineyard, as the property had been farmed organically since the 1960s, and biodynamically since their first vintage in 2008, gaining certification from Demeter in 2012.
The soil is worked by light plowing with horses to control the growth of the grass when necessary. Instead of chemicals, they utilize pruning techniques like disbudding, de-leafing, and bunch dropping to limit the yield and open up the vines to aerate the bunches and promote the vines’ natural defenses against diseases.
The vineyard is planted to approximately 70% Merlot and 30% Cabernet Sauvignon varieties, in a mixture of sand and gravel soils with calcareous elements. Soil studies demonstrate they are on the same soil layer as Château Monbousquet, a Saint-Émilion Grand Cru Classé. The average age of the vines is between 30 and 35 years, and their proximity to the river means the vines are naturally protected from drought stress in most years. The family produces just one wine from the property; the Château Arcole cuvée averages around 25,000 bottles in a good year.
Vinification of Château Arcole is very slow and gentle, with minimal intervention. Fermentation begins spontaneously in stainless steel vats with native yeasts. The horizontal vats, which allow for more contact between juice and solid, are very gently rotated once daily to submerge the cap; they do not use pumps at the winery and great care is taken to avoid over-extraction. Philippe’s goal is an infusion of flavor, while avoiding an extraction of harsh elements. Elegance and balance are the attributes they are selecting for with their methods in the cellar.
After alcoholic fermentation, 75% of the wine is moved by gravity into French oak barrels, two-thirds used and one-third new, and the remaining 25% remains in stainless steel, where the wine undergoes malolactic fermentation. Maturation time is between 14 and 18 months, depending on the vintage. The wines are bottled without fining or filtration and sealed with Diam corks, to protect against TCA taint.
Château Arcole’s packaging protocol intentionally reflects their values, with a that bottle is 10% lighter than average to reduce the carbon footprint. The bottle’s neck capsule is 100% recyclable aluminum, tinted with natural vegetable ink while the front and back labels are made from recycled paper and printed with the intaglio method (using non-toxic, water-based vegetable inks). Finally, and atypically in the Bordeaux region, they package their bottles in cardboard boxes produced from 100% recycled source material, produced without toxic glues or inks, making their packaging 100% recyclable.
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