Château d’Armailhac – 2001
Grand Cru Classé

 

Ownership of the estate dates back to 1680 under Dominique and Guilhem Armailhacq, but the first vineyards were planted well into the 1700s.  The château began construction in the early 1800s, but to this day remains incomplete.  This was originally due to lack of funds yet it is now part of the estate’s allure.  Around 1878, Château Mouton d’Armailhacq was passed on to Comte Adrien de Ferrand who eventually sold it to Baron Philippe de Rothschild in the 1930s.  This purchase was quite important to the Baron, as the estate bordered his, at the time, second growth Château Mouton -Rothschild.  For a time, Baronne Philippe treated this estate as a second label to Château Mouton, both in philosophy and in name.  By 1989, after the successful advancement of Mouton to premier cru, the estate’s name evolved into what it is recognized today, Château d’Armailhac.

 

The 2011 vintage is a blend of 60% Cabernet Sauvignon and 40% Merlot.  Coincidentally, it is said that Château d’Armailhac was one of the first “Left Bank” estates to plant predominately Cabernet; however, production methods make this wine less long-lived than its sibling, Mouton.  That said, 15 years is by no means “too long” for this wine to rest.  The texture is very much alive if only subdued by the chains of time.  Decanting is not only a necessity to separate the sediment, but to bring the gentle fruit notes to the foreground.  Cassis, overripe blackberries and dark cherries are stewed with vanilla bean and dark chocolate.  A more savory tone of cedar (cigar box), dried tobacco, and smoked peppers follow.  The tannins are both silky and silty, offering suggestions of raw earth and dust.  Decant 1-2 hours.  Serve at 62-65°F.  Pair with roasted lean meats.