We love French wines and we love value wines. Regrettably, good French Bordeaux-style values are hard to find. So when we discovered the 2014 Saintayme, we got very excited. And the under-$20 price point made it an almost orgastic buy.
Saintayme in St. Emilion is the property of Denis Durantou. Denis Durantou is best known for producing one of the best wines in the Pomerol appellation with Chateau LEglise Clinet. Denis Durantou has expanded his holdings in the Right Bank over the past few years to include not only Saintayme, but vineyards in the Lalande de Pomerol appellation that produce Chateau Les Cruzelles and Chateau Chenade and Montlandrie in Cotes de Bordeaux. The vineyard of Saintayme is located in the increasingly popular commune of Saint Etienne de Lisse. The cooler soils of that sector are also the home for Valandraud and Chateau Fleur Cardinale. The vines of Saintayme are in on,e single plot. The terroir is limestone, clay and gravel soils, similar to what you find at many top Saint Emilion vineyards. The vineyard is planted to Merlot and Cabernet Franc. However, most of the vineyard is planted to Merlot grapes. On average, the vineyard is planted to a vine density of 6,000 vines per hectare. The vines are close to 35 years of age.
Saintayme is produced by the same technical team that makes all the wines for Denis Durantou. The 2014 Saintayme is close to 100% Merlot and is aged in 30% new, French oak, barrels for an average of 14 months. The 2014 Saintayme has a delightful, fresh and lively bouquet with blackberry and that subtle tincture of cold stone. The palate is fresh on the entry with grainy tannin, slightly savory in style with commendable structure on the finish. It boasts aromas of pure fruit and hints of chocolate follow through to a medium body, firm and silky tannins. 2014 Saintayme shows the soft, supple side of the year. Dark red cherries, plums, smoke, tobacco, menthol and licorice meld together in an open, gracious St.-Emilion endowed with good texture and depth. This is one very fine, balanced wine and now here’s the kicker!
It normally sells for over $20, but some wine merchants have it available at $15 or thereabouts. Even at $20, this is a very solid French value proposition. Amazing QVR! We strongly recommend that you check it out. And at $15, it is worth buying a case or two. It should age beautifully over the next decade.