Domaine de Courteillac, Bordeaux Supérieur, Ruch, Gironde
This “petit Bordeaux” is on sale at a nearby wine merchant. For years it was priced at EUR 9,99 but recently it has nudged above EUR 10. I buy a few bottles in most vintages and usually find it an excellent Saint-Emilion ringer at least equal to many at twice to three times the price.
In “great” vintages like 2000 and 2005 it can benefit from medium term ageing but in most it is drinking deliciously from its second year.
The estate is located at Ruch at the eastern extremity of the Bordeaux area on the southern side of river Dordogne about 10 km south of Castillon-la-Bataille (Côtes de Castillon on the northern slopes over the river).
Dominique Meneret, the owner, lavishes care, atypical for the immediate area, on his estate and has recently taken on Stéphane Derenoncourt as consultant. Let us hope that this does not lead to the wines’ becoming too “important”. The 2009 is not reassuring in this respect.
I think that right now I have none left in my cellar so I will buy a few 2009s in spite of my reservations about it. 2010 could be more to my taste and I may get to taste it at the merchant's spring tasting. Here are some of my TNs of many vintages back to 2000 in backwards date order of the notes showing excellent consistency over this period.
Nov 4, 2011
Domaine de Courteillac, Bordeaux Supérieur. I buy some of this Merlot dominated blend most years as an excellent QPR Saint-Émilion substitute, so I was naturally interested in Bordeaux Supérieur 2009 (€11). It was rich, ripe and slightly leathery but I prefer the 2008 which adds a lively note without which I fear that at a meal the wine may cloy before finishing the bottle; 15/20+.
2009 Bordeaux are widely admired but I worry from the small sample here (this Dom. Courteillac and Margaux, Clos des 4 Vents which followed) that many may be over-ripe and lacking in the “green” edge which, for me, is an essential part of claret’s character.
Aug 26, 2011
Bordeaux Supérieur 2005 – Domaine de Courteillac, Dominique Meneret – Alc.14% - (c.€10), made from Merlot 70%, CS and CF. This 2005 is a touch closer to jamminess and is more concentrated and structured than the 2008, which is drinking beautifully right now. I think it needs a bit more age to come into its own; 15.5/20 now.
Jan 28, 2011
Domaine de Courteillac Bordeaux Supérieur 2008 – Dominique Meneret, Ruch– Alc.13.5%- (€10), from Merlot 70%, CabFranc 10%, CabSauv 20%. This 2008 is remarkably forward in its third year and fresher than the richer 2006 was about a year ago. Quite full bodied, round and juicy with a velvety feel smooth/lively acidity, good grip, decent tannic structure and avoiding the jamminess which is the besetting sin of a lot of “modern” right bank Bordeaux; 15.5/20+++QPR!
May 16, 2010
Domaine de Courteillac Bordeaux Supérieur 2006 – Dominique Meneret, Ruch – Alc.13.5%- (€10), from Merlot 70%, CabFranc 10%, CabSauv 20%. I think that this 2006 is drinking better at present than the more closed, structured and oaky 2005. Quite full bodied, rich and juicy without being jammy with a velvety feel, good grip and decent tannic structure; 16/20 QPR!!
Oct 26, 2009
This is a dependable estate, 70% Merlot, 20% CabSauv, 10% Cab franc, punching well above the weight of its price point and appellation. I had a disagreement on vocabulary with owner Dominique Meneret who objected when I described the 2007 as more angular and less round than the 2006; I discovered that where I say “round” (rond) he prefers “dense” and “angular” (anguleux) implies for him tannins with which 2006 more endowed albeit riper and better covered. I persist with my vocabulary.
Bordeaux Supérieur 2007 (€10) showed more acid edge to its aromas that usual and slimmer body but the fruit is expressive, acidity good and tannic structure present though lighter and more angular than the next; 14.5/20++.
Bordeaux Supérieur 2006 (€10) was rounder, richer and denser with fine fruit opening up and well covered tannic structure; 15.5/20++ QPR!
May 25, 2009
Bordeaux Supérieur 2004 – Domaine de Courteillac – Alc. 13% - is a dependable stand-by for its Merlot dominated blend well up to the standard of many lesser Saint-Emilion grands crus. This was slightly less rich and complex than the 2000 and 2003 but fresher and more lively with a charcoal touch; 15.5/20++ QPR.
Oct 19, 2008
Domaine de Courteillac – Bordeaux Supérieur – Dominique Meneret à Ruch – is a favourite of mine with its 70% Merlot, 20% Cabernet Sauvignon and 10% Cabernet franc; a few months ago I thought that its 2000 was a good ringer for a Saint-Emilion costing 2-3 times as much. This 2006 (€ 10) bids fair to be just as good with its complex and rich aromas, in which I found some Pinot-like cherry, its deeply caressing fruit and good grip and structure; 16/20.
From Sept 9, 2008
Domaine de Courteillac AOC Bordeaux Supérieur (red) is an old friend but 2003 is now showing signs of premature evolution with fading rose aromas towards the finish on a full palate; 14.5/20.
From Jan 7, 2008
Bordeaux Supérieur AOC 2000 - Domaine de Courteillac – 33350 Ruch – Alc. 13%. – (approx € 10).
There are 25 hectares of red vines at this estate, of which 70% Merlot, 19% Cabernet Sauvignon, 11% Cabernet franc.
C: Deep, dense, youthful red.
N: Clearly bordelais and quite complex showing deep red fruit with an acid touch and hints of cedary spice.
P: Robust, round, ripe and structured showing good darkish fruit, a touch of jam offset by brightly fresh acidity with similar aromas to the nose, good mouth-fill and fair length. This wine would easily hold its head high in a line-up of Saint-Emilion, Pomerol, Côtes de Castillon and Fronsac costing twice to three times as much. I guess that it will maintain this quality for a good few more years but, alas, I have no bottles left; 15.5/20+++.
This 2000 is not a fluke. The importer says that 2001 is even better and I can vouch for the fact that 2003 is almost as good, if jammier, and 2004 also promises.
I suspect that there are many similar bargains out there in the lesser Bordeaux appellations but the problem is unearthing them amongst all the dross. Alex R, if you are reading this, please help us to find more.