Hidden gem: Jean-Christophe Barbe’s stunning 2016 Château Mahon-Laville Bordeaux Superieur: Superb claret at only £11.83 per bottle delivered: case of 12: vintage sold out
We apologise, but this vintage has sold out but the new vintage, 2018, is delicious: it has been tasted by the Tasting Panel and added to the Cellar.
Château Mahon-Laville is a best-kept secret in the heart of Bordeaux. It is the family property of Jean-Christophe Barbe, producer of one of the world’s great Sauternes. Far less well known is that Jean-Christophe also produces some stunning reds, albeit on a fairly small scale. They include this Bordeaux Supérieur—claret of a quality you would expect from a much more expensive wine.
The 2016 is a classic Bordeaux blend of Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon with perfumes of toasty oak, ripe, supple fruit and a grip on the long, smooth finish which reminds you that you are drinking a claret.
Although the domaine is mainly planted with white grapes, Jean-Christophe has set aside a 1.3 hectare vineyard of red varieties, ‘Château Mahon-Laville’. Thanks to the team of pickers constantly on hand to make the top Laville Sauternes, Jean-Christophe is able to wait and hand pick the Merlot and Cabernet grapes when they are ripe (an issue in this part of Bordeaux), rather then when he has pickers available. And as the 2016 vintage was remarkably successful, with almost 12 weeks of hot summer weather permitting a later harvest, the timing produced what are called ‘classic’ Bordeaux vintages and Jean-Christophe has been able to produce a stunning wine.
Soils are predominantly clay and the average age of the vines is 15 years. The work that goes into it—leaf stripping to expose the fruit, crop thinning before véraison to lower yields and aid ripeness—all add to this great value wine. Aged for 12 months in wooden barrels.
As for food, this is a redoubtable pairing with rich game and roast meats and cheese. Grapes: 80% Merlot , 20% Cabernet Sauvignon. Alcohol level 14%.
Case of 12 bottles. RRP £208. CCUK £142. Free UK mainland delivery.