Chateau Chantemerle is a Cru Bourgeois from the Medoc. The Cru Bourgeois classification dates back to the 1860s and covers some impressive names. Given as a mark of quality; today the rank of Cru Bourgeois offers some seriously good wines. As a rule of thumb Cru Bourgeois sits above the rank of Bordeaux Superieur and just below that of a Grand Cru Classe. It is awarded to the vintage and not to the chateau which means that each year a chateau can lose or gain Cru Bourgeois status depending on whether the wine of that vintage makes the grade or not. Chateau Chantemerle is a consistent performer as a Cru Bourgeois and the 2012 vintage has also bagged a gold medal in the long established Concours des Grand Vins de France.
Chantemerle is a petit chateau (small estate) and belongs to the Cruchon family who have been wine makers for several generations in the northern Medoc. The little chateau sits in Gaillan en Medoc, north of Saint Estephe. The Cruchons also own Chateau Les Trois Manoirs (also a Cru Bourgeois) which neighbours Chantemerle. Under the direction of Frederic Cruchon, the Medoc’s traditions are respected and the vineyard managed meticulously.
Gaillan en Medoc lies in the heart of the Medoc (which takes it’s name from the Latin ‘in medio aquae,’ meaning ‘in the midst of the water’. The Medoc covers a tip of land between the Atlantic Ocean and the estuary of the Gironde. It is criss-crossed with small streams. Chantemerle is no exception and the vines thrive on well drained gravelly sands on limestone bedrock between two brooks. Named after the Roman Gallius, the area represents a slice through ancient history. Gallius’ Roman villa lies a stone’s throw away in Terrefort and a circle of standing stones once sat at nearby Levraut (now relocated to Bordeaux’s city park). Landowners have found bronze axes and Roman murals, coins and pottery when re-planting their vines here.
Being rich and full bodied, Chantemerle pairs very well with the rich flavours of duck and lamb. It’s good with a juicy rib eye steak or hearty beef casseroles, rabbit in mustard sauce, sausages and salamis, feathered game such as pheasant or grouse, kidney and liver.
Learn more about Crus Bourgeois on Nicks Blog: The Crus Bourgeois – Bordeaux with a clear cut pedigree