Château Quintus ˝Le Dragon de Quintus˝ (Saint-Émilion Grand Cru 2015)
In the summer of 2011, Domaine Clarence Dillon, owners of the renowned estates Château Haut-Brion and Château La Mission Haut-Brion, acquired the historic estate of Château Tertre Daugay in Saint-Émilion and renamed it Château Quintus. Since the mid 1800s, the classic reference work on Bordeaux wines, Cocks & Féret, has mentioned the property and its extraordinary terroir as a “First Growth” of Saint-Émilion.
Fast forward two years later to the autumn of 2013, when Château Quintus acquired the neighboring property, Château L’Arrosée. Today, the two great estates are united in order to produce one of the most exceptional wines in Bordeaux.
The close to 70 acre estate naturally wraps around a 200 foot limestone knoll on the southwestern end of the plateau of Saint-Émilion and is surrounded by some of the most eminent properties in the appellation – Angélus, Ausone, and Pavie, to name just a few. The terroir is distinguished by a stratum of limestone that lies in shelves across the south-facing slopes of the plateau. Merlot represents 66% of the surface in production and of the rest, 26% is planted with Cabernet Franc and 8% with Cabernet Sauvignon. On average, the vines are more than 30 years old.
With recently modernized cellars and the same team that produces Château Haut-Brion and Château La Mission Haut-Brion responsible for making the wines of Château Quintus, this “new” estate is already at the forefront of quality in Saint-Émilion.
˝Le Dragon de Quintus˝ is the Second Wine from Château Quintus. Not merely leftovers, Second Wines have always offered incredible value, but as the selection process for the First Wine or “Grand Vin” of these distinguished estates has gotten stricter, today the best Second Wines offer an even greater value than in the past. It’s important to note that Second Wines are always produced by the same winemaking team that produces the First Wine. Generally, the biggest differences are that Second wines see less new oak during maturation and are meant to be enjoyed closer to release than the First Wine.
The 2015 vintage of ˝Le Dragon” is a blend of 76% Merlot, 23% Cabernet Franc, and 1% Cabernet Sauvignon aged in 33% new French oak barrels. Very low yields produce a wine of richness and intensity. Layers of mocha and dark berries coat the palate while a vein of minerality vibrates throughout a sip. The wine’s aromatics are just as intoxicating. Macerated raspberry and blackcurrant with a dollop of cream embrace a bouquet of roses. In the background is just the slightest hint of minty wet earth. The exuberance of the warm 2015 vintage shows clearly yet there is also an understated elegance, almost Burgundian, that reminds us a bit of the gorgeous 1985 vintage Château L’Arrosée. Only 4,300 cases produced.
Château Quintus “MMXV” (Saint-Émilion Grand Cru 2015)
The First Wine of Château Quintus is easily one of the top wines in all of Bordeaux. The wine is a blend of 76% Merlot and 24% Cabernet Franc aged in 37% new French oak barrels from the estate’s best parcels. In the warm and dry 2015 vintage, Quintus’ limestone soils were prime real estate, with the soils acting like a fine-pored sponge slowly releasing water reserves and regulating the vines throughout the season. With a 94+ rating from Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate the wine delivers an expected potency on the palate with rich dark fruits balanced by ideal acidity and ripe, supple tannins. The aromatic intenstity of ˝Le Dragon de Quintus˝ is on display here as well, with elevated floral, dark fruit, chocolate, and earthy aromatics. These are great bottles for the cellar. Pull one out when the occasion arises over the course of the next three decades. Only 3,250 cases produced.