Learn everything about Chateau Balestard La Tonnelle St. Emilion, Grand Cru Classe, with wine tasting notes and wine with food pairings. Learn about the best vintages, the history of the property, vineyards, and winemaking. If you want to read about other important, Bordeaux Chateaux: Links to all Bordeaux Wine Producer Profiles
Chateau Balestard La Tonnelle History, Overview
Chateau Balestard La Tonnelle dates all the way back to the fifteenth century. Chateau Balestard La Tonnelle found the inspiration for its name from a member of the clergy, Canon Balestard. The historic tonnelle (or tower) is located right in the middle of their vines.
At the time the tower was constructed, it was built for use as an observation tower. One of the oldest structures in Saint Emilion, the ancient tower dates almost as far back as the birth of the estate as it was erected in the fifteenth century. Today, the tower is used as the symbol for Chateau Balestard La Tonnelle.
Chateau Balestard La Tonnelle is owned by the well-known Capdemourlin family who also owns and manages Chateau Cap de Mourlin, as well as Chateau Petit Faurie deSoutard in Saint Emilion. In addition, they also own the well-regarded, Chateau Roudier in Montagne Saint-Emilion.
The Capdemourlin family has a long history in Saint Emilion that dates back almost as far as the vineyard, as they have been in the region since the early 1600s! Balestard La Tonnelle has an equally long history in St. Emilion that has had fans of its wines for centuries. In fact, the poet, François Villon wrote about Balestard La Tonnelle in his famous fifteenth-century poem.
To immortalize the poem, the estate includes a copy of it on the labels for Chateau Balestard La Tonnelle to this day. Thierry Capdemourlin is in charge of the property. Michel Rolland is the consultant.
Chateau Balestard La Tonnelle Vineyards, Terroir, Grapes, Winemaking
The 10.6-hectare, Right Bank vineyard of Chateau Balestard La Tonnelle is planted to 70% Merlot, 25% Cabernet Franc and 5% Cabernet Sauvignon. Located just outside the town of St. Emilion, they are not far from Chateau Soutard, Chateau Villemaurine, or Chateau La Couspaude.
The terroir is a mix of clay and limestone soils. The vines average 33 years of age. The vine density ranges from 6,300 to 6,900 vines per hectare. To help determine the level of ripeness, the estate employs satellite imagery.
To produce the wine of Chateau Balestard La Tonnelle, the grapes are vinified in a combination of 50% epoxy-lined cement vats and 50% thermoregulated, stainless steel tanks for at least 3 weeks. Malolactic fermentation takes place in barrels. The wine of Balestard La Tonnelle is aged in 50% new, French oak barrels for 15 to 18 months depending on the quality of the vintage.
The best vintages of Chateau Balestard La Tonnelle are: 2022, 2021, 2020, 2019, 2018, 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014, 2012, 2010, 2009, 2008, 2005, 2004, 2003, 2001, 2000
The average annual production is 4,500 cases of Chateau Balestard La Tonnelle per vintage. There is a second wine, Chanoine de Balestard.
When to Drink Chateau Balestard La Tonnelle, Anticipated Maturity, Decanting Time
Chateau Balestard La Tonnelle can be enjoyed on the young side. The wine is usually better with just a few years of bottle age. Of course, that can vary slightly, depending on the vintage.
Balestard La Tonnelle is usually best enjoyed in the first 10-15 years of life. Young vintages of Chateau Balestard La Tonnelle can be decanted for up to 1-2 hours. This allows the wine to soften and open its perfume. Older vintages might need very little decanting, just enough to remove the sediment.
Serving Chateau Balestard La Tonnelle with Wine, Food Pairing Tips
Chateau Balestard La Tonnelle is best served at 15.5 degrees Celsius, 60 degrees Fahrenheit. The cool, almost cellar temperature gives the wine more freshness and lift. Chateau Balestard La Tonnelle is best served with all types of classic meat dishes, veal, pork, beef, lamb, duck, game, roast chicken, roasted, braised, and grilled dishes.
Chateau Balestard La Tonnelle is a perfect match with Asian dishes, hearty fish courses like tuna, mushrooms, and pasta as well as cheese.
Château Balestard La Tonnelle Wine Tasting Notes
16 Vintages 40,429 Views Sort by Vintage-Rating
Cherry liqueur, plums, and espresso with bitter cocoa notes are in the nose, and on the medium-bodied, soft, fresh, creamy, fruit-filled palate. Drink from 2025-2038. 92-94 Pts.
1,212 Views Tasted May 8, 2023
Espresso, plums, cherries, and flowers are already on the nose of this soft, forward, silky, fresh, medium-bodied, vibrant wine. This is just about ready to go with its fruity, plummy, cocoa-infused finish. Drink from 2023-2037. 90-92
876 Views Tasted May 20, 2022
Much better in the bottle than I expected, the wine pops with its display of sweet, ripe, plums, savory herbs, crushed stone, licorice, and smoke. It is even better on the palate with its lush textures, and multiple layers of sweet, ripe fruits, along with its accents of chocolate, spice, salt, and espresso. The luscious finish seals the deal! Drink from 2023-2045.
474 Views Tasted Mar 21, 2023
With a strong touch of oak right out of the gate, the deeply colored wine also brings you incense, spice box, licorice and black with blue fruit. Forward, lush and round, the finish is all luscious red berries and espresso notes. 90-92 Pts
931 Views Tasted May 20, 2021
Fresh, juicy, sweet, soft and vibrant, the wine is loaded with layers of black and red plums, cocoa, dark chocolate, espresso and flowers. The medium-bodied finish lingers with elegant, ripe, fruits, earthy nuances and freshness. There is nice lift and energy here. Drink from 2024-2037.
685 Views Tasted Mar 29, 2022
Medium-bodied, fresh, bright and chewy, with ripe red berries and cocoa from start to finish, the wine leaves you with lift and freshness along with more red fruits and a hit of cocoa in the finish. 90-92 Pts
2,623 Views Tasted Jun 8, 2020
Medium-bodied, soft, sweet and silky with licorice, spice, espresso and earthy accents. The polished, red fruit and stone finish seals the deal.
706 Views Tasted Mar 9, 2021
Medium-bodied, soft and polished with freshness, silky tannins, sweet plums, ripe cherries, licorice and earth in the supple, polished finish. 91-93 Pts
1,653 Views Tasted Apr 19, 2019
Bright, fresh, soft, forward, medium-bodied, fruity, plum and dark cherry centered wine with chocolate dusted, licorice accents in the finish.
1,601 Views Tasted Aug 28, 2021
Fresh herbs, thyme, licorice and red plums work together in this medium-bodied, easy to like wine. Soft, fresh and juicy, this is quite already quite charming.
2,287 Views Tasted Sep 21, 2019
Medium bodied with polished soft fruits, hints of licorice, thyme, herbs and cherries, the wine leaves you with an earthy finish.
1,748 Views Tasted Apr 29, 2017
Medium-bodied, soft, sweet and fresh, the silky, polished, spicy. red fruit oriented wine sticks with you from the nose to the finesse driven finish.
2,060 Views Tasted May 21, 2018
Medium-bodied and softly-textured, this wine displays a wealth of ripe, dark, red fruits, plum and thyme with juicy black cherries in the finish.
1,843 Views Tasted Apr 29, 2016
Soft, medium bodied, approachable, silky and offering fresh, red fruits and licorice from start to finish. 88-90 Pts
2,172 Views Tasted Apr 27, 2015
With licorice, black cherry and cocoa, this soft, early-drinking, medium-bodied wine has minerality and an open red berry finish. 88-90 Pts
2,138 Views Tasted Apr 28, 2014
Oak, licorice, caramel with round and soft black raspberries and chocolate-covered cherries. 90-92 Pts
2,271 Views Tasted Apr 26, 2013
Coffee, stone, ripe red berries, polished textures and soft red cherry are found in this supple wine. 90-91 Pts
2,658 Views Tasted Apr 24, 2012
2010 Balestard La Tonnelle is filled with licorice, fresh berries and minerality. 87-89 Pts
5,064 Views Tasted Apr 22, 2011
Dried cherries, espresso beans and earthy scents, medium bodied, finishing with sweet and tart, dark red berries.
2,333 Views Tasted Nov 19, 2014
Fully developed, medium-bodied, fresh, bright, earthy, round and soft with sweet, juicy plums, smoke, licorice and earthy nuances.
2,340 Views Tasted Sep 13, 2020
Fully mature, this is probably going to fade from here, so if you want to catch the licorice stained, cherries, juicy plums, thyme and round textured, sweet, fruit, filled finish, if you have a bottle, pop a cork sooner than later.
2,754 Views Tasted Dec 13, 2017