Friday, November 14, 2008

Lessegue Turns Two

I recently tasted the two offerings of what is only the second vintage (2004) from Chateau Lassegue, the St. Emilion project from Jess Jackson and vigneron Pierre Seillan.

Seillan practices a peculiar method of grape selection at the vineyard, which boasts nine different types of soil. He has divided the estate into what he calls "micro-crus," separating pieces of land by the quality of the ground and the varietals. The image of a patchwork quilt comes to mind. Then he combines the different puzzle pieces into the vineyard two's bottlings—Lassegue and Chateau Vignot—based on how well the various lots complement each other.

Both wines are good, but I was most impressed with what is meant to be the less impressive of the two bottles, the $35 Chateau Vignot, which is a blend of 68% Merlot, 30% Cab Franc and 2% Cab Sauv. There is little aging potential here, but who cares when the stuff is drinking so well right now! Seillan has tamped down the alcohol to an approachable 13.5%—a level which matches well with the easy drinkability of this wine.

The nose has understated notes of current, cherry, roots, chocolate and tar. The medium-bodied juice has soft tannins, and light flavors of current, plum and cherry. The overall effect is perhaps a bit anonymous—this is not a great terroir wine—and it does have a shortish finish, but it is harmonious in flavor and well balanced. I drank one glass after another happily. It's that kind of companionable wine. And $35 for a St. Emilion is not bad at all.

No comments: