71 % Cabernet Sauvignon
15 % Merlot
14% Petit Verdot
Vineyard & Vinification Note
Out of the 322 hectares of Dourthe vines, only 10 ha have been identified for inclusion within the Essence blend, as a result of their unique character, the grape varieties cultivated and the age of the vines. They are entrusted to the careful hands of the vineyard managers of each estate who, like craftsmen, work on the creation of their “master piece”. Moving beyond the quality-orientated methods applied to all the Dourthe’s Vineyards, the “Essence” vines benefit from a personalised treatment: each vine is considered as an individual different from its neighbours hence obtaining specific care and attention to produce the best possible grapes. The vines thus go through no less than fifty different processes before the harvest. When the time comes, the grapes are picked according to their level of ripeness based on analyses and tastings, but also visually: the observation of the “aoûtement”* of the stems is in fact a precious indicator of the stage the ripening has reached, and this careful selection implies meticulous harvest with several pickings.
Picked and transported in small trays, the grapes are de-stemmed, sorted and then placed in small-capacity oak vats for a period of cold maceration prior to alcoholic fermentation. Later, the malolactic fermentation takes place in new barrels where the wine stays throughout the maturation process, separated by batch, in the cellars of each individual property. 12 to 18 months of maturing would culminate in the production of what would be nothing more than magnificent ‘micro-cuvées’ of each estate, if it were not for the blending that gives birth to “Essence de Dourthe”.
The Art of Blending resides in the talent of the winemaker to discover the complementary qualities and balance between the various components, to create a wine where the whole is infinitely better than the sum of its parts. In the 2006 vintage, the “Essence” wines guarded their secrets well and patience was required. The moment of truth came in March 2008: the tasting sessions left not the slightest doubt, Essence de Dourthe 2006 is finally composed of 71 % Cabernet-Sauvignon, 15 % Merlot and 14 % Petit-Verdot from the Dourthe Vineyards. The final blend of Essence de Dourthe is aged in our cellars for six months in second-use barriques to hone the wine to perfection. Although its origins lie in prestigious appellations of the region,“Essence de Dourthe” is the single, unique expression of the great Bordeaux wine and it is therefore the Bordeaux appellation that it bears. 400 hl were produced by the 14 hectares of “Essence” vines, but only 48 hl have been selected and offered for sale in 6,000 bottles, 150 magnums and 100 double-magnums.
“The wine is deep in colour and extremely bright. Its complex bouquet is characterised by intense aromatic freshness, and red and black fruit aromas intermingle with delicate, spicy notes, underpinned with enchanting fragrances of cocoa and vanilla. On the palate, the wine is impressively full and the silky texture of its powerful body delights as it caresses the tongue, revealing remarkable balance and purity. Through carefully controlled ageing, the seductive fruit character revels in its true glory and is a fine complement to this harmonious blend, with its lingering finish indicating its huge potential. Powerful, elegant and delicate, Essence de Dourthe 2006 boasts the nobility of only the finest wines”. Vegan.
James Suckling Tasting Note
Aromas of spices, balsamic vinegar and hot stones. Full-bodied, tangy and rich with decadence but style. Open and gorgeous now. 95 Points – February 2017