An Historic Bargain Among Giants

Two thousand fifteen is an exceptional year for the Bordeaux reds of Pessac-Léognan. Antonio Galloni says that the commune “is full of exciting wines” while the Wine Advocate’s Neal Martin writes that “this appellation nailed it in 2015.”
It’s no surprise, therefore, that Pessac’s icons—Haut Brion, La Mission Haut-Brion and Domaine de Chevalier—produced stunning wines in 2015, with prices to match. 
But there is still one bargain to be had in the region: Malartic-Lagravière.
In his final Bordeaux reviews for The Wine Advocate, Neal Martin rated Malartic equal to Haut-Bailly and Chevalier, and in nearly the same company as both Haut-Brion and La Mission. Antonio Galloni went even further, rating Malartic equal to La Mission!

Background to Greatness

The keys to the soaring quality of the 2015 Malartic-Lagravière are a great terroir. A neighbor to both Haut-Bailly and Domaine de Chevalier, it lies on the southern part of the appellation’s famed gravel plateau. And the essence of this terroir is brought out by the perfectionist, classic approach of its owners, the Bonnie family.
Malartic’s location, on an eight-meter deep gravel terrace over a fossil-rich limestone subsoil, has been revered for centuries, and it was one of only six châteaux to attain Cru Classé status for both red and white wines in the 1953 Graves classification.
Yet, for decades the property fell short of its profound potential, until its acquisition by Alexandre Bonnie in 1996. Bonnie immediately set about restoring the glory of this noble terroir, with ecologically-sustainable farming in the vineyards, and a completely gravity-fed chai dedicated to classic methods.
The 2015 Malartic rouge underwent a cool, month-long fermentation and maceration in a mix of stainless steel and upright oak vats, followed by 18-months aging in barrique. The result is the best vintage to date for the Bonnie family, arguably the greatest in the estate’s long history and a clear rival to the Graves’ most storied châteaux.

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