Chateau De Villambis Haut Medoc 2015
Planted to 60% Merlot and 40% Cabernet Sauvignon, with vines averaging 35 years, Château de Villambis has been classified as a Cru Bourgeois since the title was first created, and lies in the commune of Cissac, precisely 8 km due west of Château Lafite Rothschild in Pauillac. The vineyard covers 40 hectares in one block which extends south in front of the château, and the terroir is a mix of sand and gravels over a clay-limestone subsoil, typical of the interior of the Médoc peninsula as we move away from the Gironde estuary and into the cover of the oak and pine forest that stretches west, across to the Atlantic coast. The vineyards are managed according to the lutte raisonnée approach, harvesting is done by hand and vinification follows traditional methods, in a mix of concrete and stainless steel tanks.
Château de Villambis is owned and managed by Vertuvin, a charitable association which bought the estate in the early 1980’s and helps mentally handicapped people to integrate into normal society through work in a protected environment. Philippe de Roeck, the Belgian vineyard director, worked as régisseur at the world-renowned Grand Cru Classé Château La Dominique in Saint Emilion, before crossing to the Left Bank and taking up the reins at Château de Villambis. Now he runs a team of experienced viticultural professionals alongside care managers and their many handicapped workers.,
The atmosphere at Villambis is relaxed but busy, there are always plenty of people around and there is a tangible positive energy between the co-workers, who undertake everything from pruning to picking and packaging. This vibe can also be found in the wines which are fresh and supple, the Merlot-dominated blend making them approachable when young but able to age for a decade or more. They are drinking wines, designed to give pleasure and to accompany the typical cuisine of the south west, red meats, cheese, salad – or of course the local speciality, magret de canard.
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Wine EnthusiastThis wine is structured and firm, with solid tannins as well as plenty of black-currant fruit. Concentrated and packed with berry fruits, it is a wine to age, so drink from 2024. The 37-acre estate is structured to employ people with intellectual disabilities.
Wine AdvocateTasted at the Cru Bourgeois annual tasting, the 2015 Chateau de Villambis has a fresh, crisp nose of summer fruit, sage and tobacco that leaps from the glass. I like the energy conveyed by this Haut-MÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂ©doc. The palate is medium-bodied with fine and supple tannin, well-judged acidity, good depth and some lovely, caressing black fruit on the finish that lingers in the mouth. This is a well-crafted Haut-MÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂ©doc to savor over the next decade. Bravo. Tasted September 2017.