Few in the wine world had heard of Tertre Rôteboeuf prior to the 1980s, but since then, more than a few Bordeaux enthusiasts have discovered that iconoclast proprietor François Mitjavile makes one of the Bordeaux region's most flamboyantly full-blown wines. The key? Low-acid grapes harvested at the point of over-ripeness for maximum maturity of tannins.
Mitjavile got his start in business, but when his wife inherited the St. Emilion estate, he left his own job, did an internship at Château Figeac, then took over as winemaker. The vineyard is small -- 5.7 hectares planted to 85% Merlot and 15% Cabernet Franc -- but diverse; several clay layers, from light to heavy clay, rest on a bed of limestone. This 'cold' soil delays grape ripening, ensuring late harvests and maximum concentration. Expect a wine with explosive, liqueur-like fruit flavors with exotic notes of bitter chocolate, Cuban tobacco and game.