Chateau Alcee 2018
Nicolas Thienpont acquired three hectares in the Côtes de Castillon in July 2011. The vines are located on the top of the limestone plateau, with rock beneath red clay. In January 2014, the vineyard grew to 6.5 hectares with new plots not far from Saint-Philippe-d’Aiguille, on a limestone plateau alternating between compact clay and very shallow soils. The wine has become more rounded with a denser texture, supplementing the finesse, sophistication and minerality of this new cru.
Critical AcclaimAll Vintages
Almost all Merlot (there's 4% Cabernet Franc), the 2018 Château Alcée comes from the team of Nicolas Thienpont and the cooler, limestone soils of the Côtes de Castillon region. It's a rock star bottle of wine that I'm sure will be a terrific value. Lots of black cherries, darker currants, damp earth, leafy herbs, and some obvious minerality emerge from the glass, and it's medium to full-bodied, with a layered, ripe, yet focused texture, beautiful mid-palate depth, and a great finish. It's hands down the finest vintage of this cuvée I've tasted. Drink bottles over the coming 10-15 years.
Black cherries, blueberries, dried leaves, praline and some tar on the nose. It’s medium-to full-bodied with firm, broad tannins. Structured and concentrated. 96% merlot and 4% cabernet franc. Better from 2023.
Composed of 96% Merlot and 4% Cabernet Franc, the deep garnet-purple colored 2018 Alcee charges out of the gate with bold notions of stewed black cherries, blackberry preserves and fruitcake, plus hints of cinnamon toast, licorice and tobacco leaf with a waft of camphor. The medium to full-bodied palate is chock-full of ripe black fruit flavors with a velvety texture and just enough freshness, finishing long and spicy.
Although it is a small 6.5 hectare vineyard, it is planted to a vine density of 6,500 vines per hectare (86% Merlot and 14% Cabernet Franc). The vines have an average age of 40 years and are planted on red clay and limestone soils.
Chateau Alcee's production is small, close to 700 cases per vintage.
Though the region is larger than many of its Right Bank neighbors, it is one that consistently produces high quality, well-valued red wines. In fact, Cotes de Castillon can almost be considered a geographical eastern extension of St. Emilion, producing similarly-fashioned reds based on Merlot.
Vineyards in the region’s clay, limestone and sandstone soils produce sturdy red wines. On alluvial terraces, in vineyards closer to the Dordogne River, wines tend to be more supple and fruity. In either case, a great Cotes de Castillon red will be bursting with raspberry, plum and blueberry, have an enticing bouquet of dried flowers and a finish that is plush and opulent.
One of the world’s most classic and popular styles of red wine, Bordeaux-inspired blends have spread from their homeland in France to nearly every corner of the New World. Typically based on either Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot and supported by Cabernet Franc, Malbec and Petit Verdot, the best of these are densely hued, fragrant, full of fruit and boast a structure that begs for cellar time. Somm Secret—Blends from Bordeaux are generally earthier compared to those from the New World, which tend to be fruit-dominant.