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November 05, 2012

2011 MATHILDE: An exceptional value once again


It's good to know that you can still depend on some things and the Mathilde from Chateau La Fleur Morange is one of those things. Over the last four vintages, the euro has fluctuated a lot and the pricing for some Bordeaux chateaux has been beyond silly in some cases. Through all of that, Mathilde has stayed the course of reason and has consistently delivered sensational value.

A few merchants were trying their darndest to create excitement for the 2011 Bordeaux futures campaign, but even Robert Parker himself said that he couldn't see much of a point in purchasing the 2011s on a forward basis. Our pitch on the Mathilde prearrival was simple, it wasn't about '2011.' Most of the wines from this vintage cost much more than they should have and didn't offer the consumers a compelling reason to buy. Mathilde, on the other hand, cost about the same with virtually the same 90+ reviews over the last three vintages (all of which sold out). So compared to the other 2011s, this one delivered value and would get delivered sooner to boot. It is the first 2011 red in our house.

That begs the next question whch is why should you buy it now? We'd go so far as to say that Mathilde, given the price and performance, might be one of the few 'must haves' of the entire 2011 vintage. Moreover, the markeplace is sporting fewer Bordeaux values in the under $20 category than it did a year ago and there are less quality California reds to fill that same under $20 spot. Plus, how many of those other under $20 wines come from 50-year-old vines, are produced in small lots of around 500 cases, and sees 50% new French oak? We'd guess that is a very small number.

Mathilde has achieved something of a "cult status" around here. If you aren't familiar with Mathilde, it is produced from La Fleur Morange's original 1.33-hectare vineyard, but from vines that are only 50-years-old (their flagship bottling is from century-old vines). The soils are a complex mix of clay and limestone fragments, the ownership is meticulous, and this 100% Merlot was hand-harvested into small plastic crates and given careful attention in the cellar. It sounds like a laborious process reserved for elite, expensive bottlings, but that clearly isn't reflected in the price. Once again, we bought a good chunk of the production. Why wouldn't we? It's tasty, it's rare, and it's a great value, something of a wine 'trifecta.'

Robert Parker calls Mathilde "a sleeper of the vintage" and offered this comment, "it offers copious notes of blueberry confiture interwoven with kirsch, spring flowers and subtle oak. This medium to full-bodied, full-throttle, delicious, silky smooth, palate-filling wine can be enjoyed over the next 6-8 years." Our take is that there aren't a lot of 2011 Bordeaux that merits your attention in the current market. For a lot of reasons, this one does!

LA FLEUR MORANGE 2011 MATHILDE SAINT EMILION
score: WA 90-92

add to cart $18.99   add a case $227.88

Robert Parker writes in Wine Advocate: "Gros is a notorious late harvester and naturalist, and his 2011 La Fleur Morange Mathilde (100% Merlot) is bottled early in order to give consumers a joyous, fruit-driven, hedonistic wine with a whopping 14.5% natural alcohol. A sleeper of the vintage, it offers copious notes of blueberry confiture interwoven with kirsch, spring flowers and subtle oak. This medium to full-bodied, full-throttle, delicious, silky smooth, palate-filling wi... read more

 

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