Bordeaux appellation Saint Julien
The AOC Saint-Julien is the smallest in surface of the 4 famous communes of Médoc (Saint-Estèphe, Pauillac, Margaux and Saint-Julien) because it represents only 910 ha of vineyard. However, it is home to the largest classified growth on the left bank. Although it does not boast as many chateaux and wine estates as the other appellations, it does have a large number of vineyards that are quite exceptional in terms of wine quality and price. In this guide, we will review the Bordeaux Saint-Julien appellation and the best wines in this classification.
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History and soil about Bordeaux Saint-Julien appellation
This appellation is located in the heart of the Médoc vineyards on the edge of the Gironde estuary. It is sandwiched between Pauillac and Margaux. Its vineyards produce 6% of the Médoc wines, or 41,000 hl of red wines. These wines have the power of Pauillac and the elegance of Margaux. Despite its small surface area, this appellation includes 11 classified growths, i.e. 80% of the AOC. For the record, the town of Saint-Julien was built in the 7th century under the name of Saint-Julien de Reinhac. It was then an administrative town called "Saint-Julien-Médoc". However, it was not until the 17th century that it gained a reputation as a producer of Bordeaux wines on the left bank. Wealthy nobles at the time built flagship chateaux in the region while cultivating the famous vineyards that still exist today. Extensive vineyards can still be found around the villages of Saint-Julien and Beychevelle. The terroir of Saint-Julien is the most homogeneous of all the appellations in the Médoc. It is mainly composed of clay-limestone gravel, marl and pebbles; an ideal soil for growing Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Malbec and Petit Verdot. The wines of Saint-Julien are renowned for their great capacity for ageing, their deep colour combining elegance, fine aromas and power. The palate is ample, well structured, balanced with a persistent finish.
Our selection of wines in the appellation Bordeaux Saint-Julien
The appellation has everything that can satisfy Bordeaux wine lovers. These are harmonious wines, luxurious in the mouth with soft and velvety tannins.
-Léoville Las Cases: this château is one of the largest and oldest crus classés in the Médoc region. Its 97 ha of vineyards produce wines with a breathtaking mouthfeel. They are powerful, concentrated, wonderfully structured and balanced wines with exotic aromas. This is perhaps due to the process of fermenting the must at below average temperatures. This allows the aromatic richness of the beverage to be retained. Although the château is a 2nd growth classified, it produces wines of 1st growth classified quality. Do not hesitate to make your choice among the products sold at reasonable prices on our site.
-Gruaud Larose: This vast 82 ha vineyard has one of the largest wine estates in Bordeaux with most of the vineyard parcels in one block. Classified as a second growth in the 1885 Médoc classification, this château also produces impressive Bordeaux wines, capable of decades of improvement. These are full-bodied wines, with high tannins in their youth, but which develop a more seductive character of concentrated fruit, spice and liquorice after a few years of ageing.
-Beychevelle: this château belonging to the Castel group and the Suntory group with a 90 ha vineyard also produces interesting wines following the renovation of the cellar and the hiring of a new winemaker. These are very mature wines, concentrated, powerful, smooth with a unique character and rich aromas and soft tannins.
-Ducru Beaucaillou: the arrival of Bruno Borie, the current owner of the château, has brought about great changes in the quality of the wines from this estate. Under his direction, the wines have acquired a magnificent, harmonious character with intense, concentrated flavours combined with supple textures and ripe tannins. The wines from this estate have great length on the palate and are destined to age for decades.
-Leoville Poyferre: the 80 ha vineyard of this château produces the softest and most supple wines of the appellation. These are pure, concentrated wines with a powerful, rich style. They offer elegant, rich and sensual textures with silky tannins and good ageing capacity.
-Branaire Ducru: this family business managed by François Xavier Maroteaux has also undergone technical improvements impacting on the quality of the wines. Classified 4th Grand Cru 1855, its 60 ha vineyard produces wines that wonderfully combine elegance, freshness, refinement and purity of tannins. Some of its wines are ready to drink young.
-Talbot: this is one of the largest estates in the Médoc with its 102 ha of vineyards. Classified as the 4th Grand Cru of the Saint-Julien appellation, the wines of this estate are carefully crafted. The best vintages are very aromatic with a bouquet of cedar wood, ripe black fruit, vanilla, and well-integrated tannins. They can be enjoyed in their youth, but can also improve from year to year.
-Lagrange: The 118 ha terroir of this château with a history dating back to the Middle Ages produces elegant, classic, expressive, powerful wines with very silky tannins and a long finish. These improvements follow the modernisation of the winemaking facilities and the replanting of the vineyards. However, these wines are not very pleasant to drink young. They should be aged in the bottle for 15 to 20 years, depending on the vintage, for the best tasting conditions.
-Léoville Barton: this 51 hectare wine estate belonging to the Barton family since the 1855 classification does not have a château. The wines of this estate are robust, structured, masculine and require time to improve. The best vintages always require a few decades of ageing before tasting.
-Clos du Marquis: The exceptional 45 ha terroir of this estate is located near the Château de Léoville and the Residence of the Marquis de Las Cases. The red wines of this estate are produced by the Château de Léoville Las Cases. These are wines with a powerful structure, concentrated fruit and layers of tannins. The ripe fruit and chocolate notes contrast with the fresh finish. These are wines that can be kept for up to ten years before drinking.