My choice of this wine was influenced by several factors:-
- I have never had a twenty year old wine before.
- I have visited 11th Century village of Saint Emilion on several occasions and fell in love with the place. I have probably walked past the vineyard where this wine originates without knowing (I am lead to believe that it is fairly near the centre of St. Emilion.
- I already love St.Emilion wines – a bit softer than from other parts of Bordeaux, probably because of the higher proportion of Merlot in the blend.
I was feeling a mixture of excitement and trepidation before opening this one. I had read reviews of this wine dating back ten years that said “ready to drink now” so I was concerned that it might now be past it’s best. You won’t get this kind of wine at Sainsbury or Tescos (or any other supermarket for that matter, which for those of you who have read my reviews before will know I do most of my wine shopping, as I mostly review good value for money wines rather than great wines) . No, this one I bought at Majestic where you can buy “good value for money” wines but they also offer better quality wines, and a fuller range.
I decided to open this wine on the evening of August 6th 2016. Majestic recommended that I decant it which makes a lot of sense given it’s age it wouldn’t be unreasonable to expect a cast. I decanted it an hour before it was due to be consumed; it turned out that there was only a slight residue but it also gave it a bit of time to breathe:-
Chateau Simard Saint Emilion A.O.C. 1996.
The Château Simard story is quite an interesting one. This wine was made by Claude Mazière – the owner. Claude had a simple approach to wine making, preferring to hand sell one vintage at a time to his loyal local customers. After his death in 2008 the vineyard was run by the Vauthier-Mazière family and was managed by Alain Vauthier (Claude’s nephew), co-owner of Château Ausone, one of only two “Premier Grand Cru Classé A” top St. Emilion top growths. After Alain Vauthier took over in 2008 he “modernised” the way that the vineyard, wine production and marketing took place and the wines that were still cellared at Château Simard were able to reach a wider audience. Production of Château Simard continues:-
Price: £11.99 as part of six mixed bottle deal at Majestic. Full price £13.99.
From: Saint Emilion, Gironde, Bordeaux, France
Alcohol concentration %: 12.5 (abv)
Colour: Browny red
Nose/Smell/ bouquet: Cedar, Ripe plums (slightly prunes if I’m honest)
Palate/Taste: Cedar/ Cigar box/ tobacco/ spice/pepper/spice
Finish: Long complex finish with very soft trace of tannins.
Further comments: I enjoyed it, my wife thought that it needed food but I could drink it on it’s own – we have different things that we like in a wine. Many people on Majestic’s website think that it is past it’s best, and yes it probably has seen better days but I don’t think that it is too far gone; there is still lots of fruit, cedar and spice flavours in there and it’s age imparts a softness which is pleasant whilst retaining a complexity not always found in this price bracket. Buy it and drink it now while stocks last.
Majestic’s Chateau Simard page and reviews.