A Screenwriter’s Dream and THE Can’t-Miss Deal of the 2012 St. Saint-Émilions
We’ve got a high-powered studio executive friend in Hollywood. Next time we’re in L.A., we’re going to book a table at Château Marmont, order the truffle fries and a round of dry Martinis, and start regaling her with the dozens of movie ideas we’ve accumulated over three decades of studying and selling Bordeaux wines. Is there a more drama-packed wine region in all the world? Aristocrats and self-made billionaires, castles, reversals of fortunes, Machiavellian power plays, love, war, money, wine. Open up a book about Bordeaux history and lives lived to the fullest jump off every page.
Take Marcel Dassault for instance. A legendary French aviation industrialist who saw two World Wars and survived two concentration camps. Built the iconic Ouragan and Mysterè jet fighters, which were pivotal in the Suez Crisis and 1967 Arab-Israeli War. Served as a member of French Parliament and was awarded the country’s highest honor, the Legion of Honor’s Grand Cross. Died one of France’s richest men. He was the type of guy to impulsively buy a Bordeaux château on sight in 1955, just to have a place to entertain friends. He ended up turning it into one of the 21st century’s most promising Saint-Émilion estates, after gaining Grand Cru Classé status in 1969. Are you listening, Mr. Scorsese? How about you, Michael Bay?
Just as every Hollywood blockbuster’s production is really the story of talented teamwork by people at the top of their professions, so it is with Château Dassault. By seeking out the best partners and the most talented collaborators, Dassault has rocketed to the top of Robert Parker’s estimation as one of the superlative producers of Right Bank value.
A major strategic partnership Dassault initially pursued was with legendary Flying Winemaker Michel Rolland, who came on board in 1973. Tempted by the estate’s classic siliceous limestone terroir perched high on the northern slopes of Saint-Émilion, Rolland went on to institute the protocol he would later become famous for. He rigorously reshaped vines, cutting yields down to 30 hectoliters per hectare. Severe pruning and green harvesting further pushed the envelope on maturity. Wines were barrel-fermented, magnifying intensity while making for softer, more voluptuous flavors.
But Château Dassault’s master stroke was to join forces with Lafite-Rothschild starting in late 1990s. By sharing investments and technical expertise with the Rothschilds, Dassault hitched its fortune to one of the supernovas of the Bordeaux galaxy, and the dazzling results are becoming hard to miss.
Robert Parker has been bullish on Dassault for years. With the 2012 release born from the estate’s 35-year-old vines, he finally let his enthusiasm fly unabated. “This property has been on the upswing for a number of years now, and the 2012 Dassault is showing brilliantly,” he wrote in a glowing 91 point review. “This is a beauty and a real crowd pleaser.”
Wine Spectator concurred, praising it as “intense” and “mouthwatering” and pinning 91 points — a dual score that makes this a can’t-miss deal and easily one of the best Right Bank values of 2012.
The 2012 Château Dassault is deep purple in color. Sexy nose of crushed black fruit, tobacco, and sweet herbs, somehow restrained and back on its heels, despite all the plushness of the vintage. Silken in texture, sleek and refined on the attack, boasting a sensuous black-fruit core, finishing with the dusty tannins that mark it as a top-flight Saint-Émilion. Superb.
Feel free to plop down $100-$150/bottle on 92-point Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon. OR enjoy one of Saint-Émilion’s richest and most beautifully structured 2012s for less than HALF that price. $39, only via WineAccess. 600 bottles. Shipping included on 4 or more. You make the call.
P.S. If anyone has a mind to move on that Dassault biopic, we want producer credit!