Château de Sales Château de Sales
May 3, 2021, Jeb Dunnuck
“Revealing a deep purple hue as well as a beautiful, classic Pomerol nose of earthy red and blue fruits, truffle, damp soil, cedary herbs, and tobacco, it hits the palate with medium-bodied richness, a nicely balanced, elegant mouthfeel, ripe tannins, and a gorgeous finish. Building nicely with time in the glass, it marries notable elegance with plenty of richness and is ideal for enjoying any time over the coming 15 years or so.”
March 31, 2021, James Molesworth
“Silky and refined in feel, with alluring dark tea, dried anise, mulled plum and steeped black cherry notes gliding through in unison. Bay leaf note twinkles on the finish. Drink now through 2031.”
Built in the 17th century, Château de Sales is largest estate in the Pomerol appellation on the Right Bank. The château possesses exceptional beauty and elegance, and the same is true for its wines as they are the true expression of the Pomerol terroir from which they orginate. Located in the northwest corner of Pomerol, it is the only true château building in the appellation and has been owned by the same family for more than five hundred years.
The soils of Château de Sales are comprised of fine gravel and sand, with clay in some areas and an omnipresence of iron oxide, known locally as "crasse de fer". The vineyard of Château de Sales has a surface area of over 200 acres, with vines covering 116 acres. The vines are an average of more than 30 years old.
After de-stemming and crushing, alcoholic fermentation takes place in concrete tanks equipped with temperature regulation. The wine is then aged for 12-18 months in French oak barrels, of which only one third are new, in order to avoid any aggressive wood flavors and to preserve the brightness of the fruit.
A deep garnet red, the wine has a refined nose with elegant light oak and aromas of ripe fruit, especially blackcurrant. Complex on the palate, with black fruit, blackberry and spice flavors, it has silky tannins, good body and lovely balance, ending on a long and harmonious finish of great refinement.
A wet and warm January started off the year, with temperatures 2.5°C above the average for the past twelve years. While February was cold and dry, March saw heavy rainfall, reaching 121mm. Budbreak took place relatively late, from 9 to 15 April depending on the grape variety. A warm and wet spring encouraged rapid growth of the plants and abnormal threats of mildew. In line with the usual dates at Château de Sales, flowering lasted from 25 May to 8 June and veraison from 25 July to 14 August. June and July were hot and damp, with an average temperature of 22°C and rainfall reaching 133mm. Only 45mm of rain fell in August and September, and none at all between 5 August and 5 September. However, this did not halt the ripening process in the Château de Sales parcels. The wide temperature difference in September, with an average minimum and maximum of 10.7°C and 28.2°C respectively, helped the polyphenols to reach optimum maturity. The harvest took place from 18 September to 5 October in excellent conditions, heralding a very fine vintage indeed.
Varietals: 69% Merlot, 16% Cabernet Franc, 15% Cabernet Sauvignon
New Oak: 18% new French oak, 82% 1-to-3-year-old barrels
Aging: 12-18 months in French oak barrels (1/3 new)