Chateau Fleur Cardinale St. Emilion Bordeaux Wine, Complete Guide

Fleur Cardinale Chateau Chateau Fleur Cardinale St. Emilion Bordeaux Wine, Complete Guide

Learn everything about Chateau Fleur Cardinale St. Emilion, Bordeaux with wine tasting notes and wine with food pairing tips. Learn all the best vintages, a history of the property and information on the vineyards and winemaking. If you want to read about other important, Bordeaux Chateaux: Links to all Bordeaux Wine Producer Profiles

Chateau Fleur Cardinale History, Overview

Chateau Fleur Cardinale was purchased by Dominique Decoster and Florence Decoster in 2001. Before the Decoster family bought the property, it was owned by the Asseo family. Before buying their first Bordeaux vineyard, they were in the fine porcelain and China business in the Limoges region of France. They were helped by Jean Luc Thunevin and Murielle Andraud in deciding on buying the vineyard.

Chateau Fleur Cardinale is located next door to Valandraud and Rol Valentin. Chateau Faugeres is only a stones throw away as well and Chateau Pressac is only a few minutes away. If you did not know, Fleur Cardinale takes its name was the myriad of roses and other brightly colored flowers that are planted in front and surrounding the chateau, which is the family home. Following their initial purchase of Chateau Fleur Cardinale, they renovated the entire estate and all the wine making facilities.

Over the past few years, the children of Florence Decoster and Dominique Decoster, Caroline Decoster and Ludovic Decoster have been taking increased roles in managing the estate and will eventually be placed in charge of Chateau Fleur Cardinale.

Fleur Cardinale Florence Decoster Rose 300x273 Chateau Fleur Cardinale St. Emilion Bordeaux Wine, Complete Guide

Chateau Fleur Cardinale Vineyards, Terroir, Grapes, Winemaking

The 24.5 hectare St. Emilion vineyard of Fleur Cardinale is planted to 70% Merlot, 15% Cabernet Sauvignon and 15% Cabernet Franc at a vine density of 6,500 vines per hectare. The new 24.5 hectare vineyard includes 4 hectares of vines that were added to the estate in 2012. Those vines were previously used to produce Croix Cardinale. The new plots are planted to a higher density of 8,500 viners per hectare. The vines are old, with an average age of 40 years. They have older vines, with some of their Merlot vines dating back 60 years.

The terroir is dark red clay over limestone soil in the St. Etienne-de-Lisse sector, which is situated due east of the St. Emilion village. The vineyard is ideally situated, on a gentle slope, next to the chateau. Fleur Cardinale has a cooler, late ripening terroir, which coupled with the Decoster’s drive for picking ripe fruit, often has Fleur Cardinale being one of the last chateau to finish harvesting in the Right Bank. The vineyard is farmed using organic, self-sustainable farming techniques. In 2013, Fleur Cardinale was awarded their certification by the Environmental Management System (S.M.E.).

In the vineyard, de-leafing and crop thinning are handled with no chemical products or pesticides of any kind. Only organic fertilizers are used. After a first selection in the vineyard, the grapes are harvested manually and placed into small boxes so that the ripe grapes are not crushed. The grapes are sorted twice by hand, before and after the destemmer. To aid in the sorting process, the estate uses the Tribaie sorting machine, which sorts the grapes by the desired level of density.

To produce the wine of Chateau Fleur Cardinale, it is a very labor intensive process. For the vinification, the juice undergoes a cold maceration at 5 degrees Celsius for 5 or 6 days. This is followed by alcoholic fermentation and a warm maceration for 2 to 3 weeks. All the pumping over is done by gravity, which avoids stirring the musts.

Vinification takes place in 25 small, thermo regulated, stainless steel vats. The number of vats is equal to the various parcels of vines. This allows the vinification to be done by on a parcel by parcel basis. The vats range in size from 25 hectoliters up to 90 hectoliters. However, most of the vats are 70 hectoliters.

Malolactic fermentation takes place in 100% new oak barrels and in tank. The wine of Chateau Fleur Cardinale is aged in 100% new, French oak barrels for an average of 12 to 15 months. Fortunately for consumers, there is a lot of wine made each year. On average, the production of Fleur Cardinale is close to 9,000 cases of wine per vintage.

The best vintages of Chateau Fleur Cardinale are: 2016, 2015, 2012, 2010, 2009, 2008 and 2005.

2010 Fleur Cardinale April 300x224 Chateau Fleur Cardinale St. Emilion Bordeaux Wine, Complete Guide

When to Drink Chateau Fleur Cardinale, Anticipated Maturity, Decanting Time

Chateau Fleur Cardinale is better with at least 6-9 years of aging in good vintages. Young vintages can be decanted for 1-2 hours, or more. This allows the wine to soften and open its perfume. Older vintages might need very little decanting, just enough to remove the sediment. Chateau Fleur Cardinale offers its best drinking and should reach peak maturity between 8-22 years of age after the vintage.

Serving Chateau Fleur Cardinale with Wine and Food Pairings

Chateau Fleur Cardinale is best served at 15.5 degrees Celsius, 60 degrees Fahrenheit. The cool, almost cellar temperature gives the wine more freshness and lift. Chateau Fleur Cardinale is best paired with all types of classic meat dishes, veal, pork, beef, lamb, duck, game, roast chicken, roasted, braised and grilled dishes. Chateau Fleur Cardinale is also good when matched with Asian dishes, rich fish courses like tuna, mushrooms and pasta.

In 2011 the Decoster’s added Croix Cardinale to their Fleur Cardinale portfolio of St. Emilion wine. With the name Croix Cardinale, are you sensing there is a pattern here with the Cardinale theme? Purchased April 2011, the 4 hectare vineyard has a terroir similar to Fleur Cardinale with its clay and limestone soil. The vineyard is planted to 70% Merlot, 15% Cabernet Franc and 15% Cabernet Sauvignon, sharing the same St. Emilion vineyard plantings as well. On average the vines are 40 years of age. The vineyard is planted to a vine density of 5,500 vines per hectare. Not much wine is made, as the average production is close to 1,200 cases per vintage.

The Decosters produce a second St. Emilion wine for Fleur Cardinale, Bois de Cardinale as well as Secret de Cardinal. Secret de Cardinale comes from vines located on a 1.20 hectare plot bordering Chateau Fleur Cardinale. This 100% Merlot wine is made using the same growing and wine making techniques as Chateau Fleur Cardinale. The 100% Merlot vines for Secret de Cardinale are on average, 35 years old. The terroir is clay and limestone soils. The wine is aged in 100% new, French oak barrels for an average of 13 months. The final vintage for Secret de Cardinal was the 2012. The wine is no longer being produced. The vines are now being used for the production of Fleur Cardinale.

Château Fleur Cardinale Wine Tasting Notes

24 Vintages 216049 Views Sort    Vintage  - Rating

  1. 2016 Château Fleur Cardinale ( St. Émilion Grand Cru)

    1. Luscious textures with purity of fruit, this wine is all about the chocolate-covered plums and black cherry with their licorice and floral accents. The tannins are soft, the texture is velvety and the dark red fruits, anise, smoke, cocoa and earthy personality really shine in the finish.

      95 points - Tasted
  2. 2016 Château Croix Cardinale ( St. Émilion Grand Cru)

    1. Lushly textured, medium/full bodied, fresh, ripe and juicy, there are loads of sweet, silky, soft fruits and licorice that will satisfy any hedonist.

      92 points - Tasted
  3. 2015 Château Fleur Cardinale ( St. Émilion Grand Cru)

    1. Is there a better wine for the money in St. Emilion today? I don't think so! This sexy little beast is loaded with juicy dark fruits, chocolate, licorice, espresso and plums. This should offer pleasure early and age for years as well.

      94 points - Tasted
    2. It's the texture that reels you in and rolls you over. A lavish, satiny cloud of luscious fruits, flowers, coffee bean, juicy plum liqueur and sweet black cherries coated in chocolate keep you involved with this wine. Concentrated, rich and round, the wine was produced from a blend of 75% Merlot, 20% Cabernet Franc and 5% Cabernet Sauvignon. Reaching 14.5% alcohol with a pH of 3.47, the wine is aging in 100% new, French oak barrels.

      94 points - Tasted
  4. 2015 Château Croix Cardinale ( St. Émilion Grand Cru)

    1. Silky, plush and polished with weight, density and freshness, the licorice-covered, spicy fruits and sweet, polished tannins feel and taste great on your palate.

      92 points - Tasted
  5. 2014 Château Fleur Cardinale ( St. Émilion Grand Cru)

    1. Flowers, espresso, plum, truffle, chocolate notes, this wine is supple, round, ripe, sensuous, pure, clean and fresh. A very elegant, vintage for Fleur Cardinale, this wine is produced from a blend of 75% Merlot, 20% Cabernet Franc and 5% Cabernet Sauvignon. Reaching 14% alcohol, the wine is aging in 100% new, French oak barrels. 92-94 Pts

      93 points - Tasted
  6. 2014 Château Croix Cardinale ( St. Émilion Grand Cru)

    1. Chocolate-covered cherries with a hint of truffle in the nose, this wine is silky, smooth and inviting with sweet berries and coffee bean in the finish. 89-91 Pts

      89 points - Tasted
  7. 2013 Château Fleur Cardinale ( St. Émilion Grand Cru)

    1. Deep garnet in color with licorice, coffee bean, flowers, stone and spicy, plum scentsthe wine offers a supple, plush, polished and sweet finish brimming with boysenberry, fresh cherry, spice and cocoa. The wine was made with a blend of 60% Merlot, 30% Cabernet Franc and 10% Cabernet Sauvignon and reached 13.5% alcohol. After sorting, the yields were only 16 hectoliters per hectare. The wine is aging in 100% new French oak for close to 12 months. 91-93 Pts

      92 points - Tasted
  8. 2012 Château Fleur Cardinale ( St. Émilion Grand Cru)

    1. Forward in style, you can already enjoy the supple textured, multi-layered, sweet, ripe, dark red, juicy fruits, mocha, chocolate and black cherries found here.

      92 points - Tasted
    2. Ripe, sweet, black cherry, plum, licorice and chocolate scents greet your nose. Your palate is introduced to lush, sensuous textures and a rich, polished finish.

      93 points - Tasted
    3. Truffle, earth, spice, blackberry, plum and cocoa scents open to a full bodied, sweet, round wine with character and ripeness. 92-94 Pts

      93 points - Tasted
  9. 2012 Château Croix Cardinale ( St. Émilion Grand Cru)

    1. This Merlot dominated wine delivers a medium bodied blast of chocolate covered cherry, licorice and cocoa with soft, round textures in a forward style. This is already drinking well.

      90 points - Tasted
    2. Lush, sweet, fleshy, ripe and over ripe berries, with licorice, dark chocolate and black cherry liqueur. 90-92 Pts

      91 points - Tasted
  10. 2012 Secret de Cardinale ( St. Émilion Grand Cru)

    1. From 100% Merlot, the wine is supple textured, soft, round and filled with jammy, chocolate covered cherries. This is perfect for early drinking. 89-91 Pts

      90 points - Tasted
  11. 2011 Secret de Cardinale ( St. Émilion Grand Cru)

    1. From a parcel that is separate and distinctive from Fleur Cardinale and planted with 100% Merlot, the vines are 35 years of age. Deep in color with purple accents, vanilla, chocolate, plum and black raspberry scents, this plush, supple-textured wine opens into a long, ripe and pure dark chocolate-, black cherry- and blue fruit-filled finish. 91-93 Pts

      92 points - Tasted
  12. 2011 Château Croix Cardinale ( St. Émilion Grand Cru)

    1. 2011 is the debut vintage for the Decosters, the owners of Fleur Cardinale and Secret de Cardinale. With the name Croix Cardinale, are you sensing a pattern here? Truffle, chocolate, licorice and jammy black berries are found in the perfume. Rich, polished, sexy and long, the plush finish is filled with chocolate-covered plums. From a blend of 70% Merlot, 20% Cabernet Franc and 10% Cabernet Sauvignon, the wine reached 15% alcohol and will be aged in 100% new oak. 91-93 Pts

      92 points - Tasted
  13. 2011 Château Fleur Cardinale ( St. Émilion Grand Cru)

    1. Dark chocoalte, flowers and black cherry notes are easy to find in the aromatics. Soft, round, forward and open, this early drinking wine delivers a lot of pleasure in the glass with its lush style.

      91 points - Tasted
    2. Packed with black licorice, floral, stone, blackberry and chocolate, this blend of 70% Merlot, 20% Cabernet Franc and 10% Cabernet Sauvignon produced a lush, round, St. Emilion that ended with chocolate covered black cherries. This is a very successful wine for the vintage. 90-93 Pts

      91 points - Tasted
  14. 2010 Château Fleur Cardinale ( St. Émilion Grand Cru)

    1. Everything about this wine is great from the start, with its showy aromatics to the opulent, sensuous, rich layers of fat, ripe, sweet, fresh fruits. Yes, I know its young. But all great wines show well young and get better with age. There are not many wines at this level of quality that sell for this reasonable price.

      94 points - Tasted
    2. If there is a better in St. Emilion, I’d like to hear about. The remarkable level of consistency displayed in the wines of Fleur Cardinale is also tough to beat. Packed with black and blue fruits, licorice, dark cherry jam, earth and chocolate, the wine is intense, dense and opulent in texture, finishing with layers of sweet, ripe, rich, fresh, polished fruits.

      94 points - Tasted
    3. Fleur Cardinale From an 18 hectare, clay and limestone vineyard, located next to Valandraud, Florence and Dominique Decoster put a lot of effort into their 2010, starting with reducing their yields to 36 hectoliters per hectare. With its deep color, cassis, blackberry, licorice and jammy liqueur aromas exude from the glass. This full-bodied wine offers layers of opulent dark fruit ending with a fresh, licorice, blackberry, dark cherry and chocolate finish. From an assemblage of 78% Merlot, 15% Cabernet Sauvignon and 7% Merlot, the wine reached 14.5% alcohol. This is the best wine from the estate since their outstanding 2005. For consumers not yet familiar with this estate, Fleur Cardinale is one of the most consistent Bordeaux producers making wines that combine price and quality. 93-95 Pts

      94 points - Tasted
  15. 2009 Château Fleur Cardinale ( St. Émilion Grand Cru)

    1. Lush, opulent, sweet, ripe fruits, licorice, chocolate and earth, with hedonistic textures are already available, if you like your wines young.

      94 points - Tasted
    2. Opulent, rich, concentrated and plush, the chocolate covered plums, cherries and truffle notes with that fresh kick of boysneberry are hard to resist. Still, its best days are in the future.

      94 points - Tasted
    3. From a blend of 70% Merlot, 20% Cabernet Franc and 10% Cabernet Sauvignon, fennel, dark chocolate covered boysenberry, plum and spice aromas, full bodied, silky, round and rich in texture, the wine ends with sweet, fleshy, juicy, licorice, spice and plums.

      94 points - Tasted
    4. 2009 Fleur Cardinale, 70% merlot, 20% cabernet franc, and 10% cabernet sauvignon, offers a nose of kirsch, black raspberry, espresso, and jammy blackberries. Full bodied, rich, and ripe, this wine finishes with sweet black cherries, licorice, mocha, and spice. 91-94 Pts

      92 points - Tasted
  16. 2009 Secret de Cardinale ( St. Émilion Grand Cru)

    1. From 100% Merlot, black licorice, smoke, coffee, black cherry liqueur and vanilla scents lead to an intense, full bodied, concentrated wine packed with fat layers of sweet chocolate, boysenberry, blueberry, licorice and cocoa. Lusty, thick and opulent, this will drink well young. This is my favorite vintage of Secret de Cardinale produced by the Decosters yet! For people that appreciate details, 2009 Secret de Cardinale could win the title for making wine from the lowest yields of the vintage. The wine was produced from an amazing 7 hectoliters per hectare!

      93 points - Tasted
  17. 2008 Château Fleur Cardinale ( St. Émilion Grand Cru)

    1. No need to decant. Just pop and pour this licorice, chocolate covered cherry, fudge and earthy scented wine and enjoy its open, lush, round, fruit filled pleasures.

      91 points - Tasted
    2. Already drinking well, this medium bodied, round, soft, sweet expression of St. Emilion is probably best enjoyed on the young side.

      90 points - Tasted
    3. Chocolate, licorice and jammy black raspberry notes work well with the soft, lush, round, inviting textures. The wine ends with sweet plums and cocoa. This tasty wine is already offering pleasure.

      91 points - Tasted
    4. 08 Château Fleur Cardinale, from 70% merlot, 20% cabernet franc, and 10% cabernet sauvignon, is dark with purple accents. Filled with jammy black fruit, oak, and fennel, this fat, concentrated, plush wine offers ample quantities of licorice coated black fruit in the long, opulent finish. 91-94 Pts

      92 points - Tasted
  18. 2008 Secret de Cardinale ( St. Émilion Grand Cru)

    1. 08 Secret de Cardinale, from 100% merlot, is deep ruby, with oak, licorice, and ripe black fruit in the nose. The wine shows a sweet, opulent character, but seems lighter than its better known relative, Fleur Cardinale. 88-91 Pts

      91 points - Tasted
  19. 2006 Château Fleur Cardinale ( St. Émilion Grand Cru)

    1. A bit on the muscular, structured side for Fleur Cardinale. The nose, with its licorice, caramel, earth, dark chocolate and black cherry personality charms you. But there is a firmness on the palate that I was not expecting in this normally seductive wine. Made from a blend of 75% Merlot, 15% Cabernet Franc and 10% Cabernet Sauvignon, I'd give it 2-4 more years in the bottle to soften the tannins.

      90 points - Tasted
    2. It took about 45 minutes before the truffle, chocolate covered black cherry, smoke, licorice and spicy nose hit full bloom and the tannins softened. The finish is soft, with a red and black, sweet and tart plum quality, along with a hint of dryness in the finish.

      90 points - Tasted
    3. Licorice, spice and gobs of black cherries in the nose, supple textures and a round, fennel, blackberry filled finish. This is drinking great today.

      90 points - Tasted
    4. With licorice coated black and blue fruit, this is a more structured, firm style of Fleur Cardinal. Full bodied and rich, the wine ends with a blend of cassis and spicy blackberries.

      90 points - Tasted
  20. 2005 Château Fleur Cardinale ( St. Émilion Grand Cru)

    1. While the wine might not be gaining in complexity, the chocolate, sweet, black cherry, truffle and cigar wrapper notes are already charming. Where the wine already shines is on the palate, as the texture continues to soften, adding more silky touches as the wine fills out. If you own it, this is a good time to start popping your corks. The bottle was decanted for about 30 minutes at most. This is definitely ready to go.

      93 points - Tasted
    2. The first of many vintages that really showed how good this estate can be, is ready to drink. The wine is already showing its plush, round, opulent silky mouthfeel. With a nose of dark chocolate, licorice, espresso, dark cherry and truffle, the wine finishes with a blast of chocolate covered, ripe black cherries, thyme and sweet juicy plums.

      93 points - Tasted
    3. Licorice, cocoa, black cherry, plums, truffle and chocolate scents create the nose. On the palate, this luscious, sensuous, rich wine leaves a silky, smooth, plush sensation that lingers.

      93 points - Tasted
    4. This is really coming around. The soft, plush, ripe, polished character with layers of lush, sweet juicy fruit is more than ready to go. That being said, there is no hurry to drink it, but there is no need to wait either.

      93 points - Tasted
    5. This wine has never closed down. It's been delicious since it was first bottled. Chocolate covered black raspberries, black cherries, licorice and hints of wet earth are paired with concentrated, opulently textured fruits and a sensuous finish that comes alive with 30 minutes of air. This is a wine for pleasure seekers!

      93 points - Tasted
    6. With its licorice, truffle, smoke, black cherry and earthy aromas, soft, round textures and sweet dark berry with black cherry, cocoa and plum finish, this is a pleasure to drink today.

      94 points - Tasted
    7. With its showy nose of licorice, espresso bean, earth, dark cherry, plum and cocoa, coupled with silky, plush textures, this is pure bottled pleasure. Still young, this is showing great now. It’s going to get better, but there is no reason to wait before popping a cork.

      94 points - Tasted
    8. Deep in color with a perfume that pops from the glass with notes of licorice, chocolate, blackberry liqueur, stone, smoke, espresso and plums. Rich, opulent, concentrated and flamboyant in texture, this sexy St. Emilion is offering a lot of pleasure today. Still primary, because the tannins are ripe and plush, it's worth opening a bottle today to experience its lush qualities.

      94 points - Tasted
    9. With swirling and coaxing, juicy black plums, jammy blackberries, coco, licorice and kirsch greet your nose. This concentrated wine fills your mouth with pleasure ending with a long opulent, sensation of rich, chocolate covered dark pit fruits, cassis and fennel. Another 5-7 years will add a lot of complexity and texture to this wine.

      94 points - Tasted
    10. Already approachable due to its sexy style, this concentrated wine is filled with dark berries, blue fruit, licorice, chocolate and spice. With the structure to age, this will add complexities with a few more years of bottle age.

      94 points - Tasted
  21. 2004 Château Fleur Cardinale ( St. Émilion Grand Cru)

    1. Either there is bottle variation, or I was extremely unlucky as it took 3 bottles to find one that showed the opulent, chocolate covered cherry, licorice and lush profile that we usually expect from Fleur Cardinale.

      89 points - Tasted
    2. Better on the nose than the palate with its licorice, earth and black cherry perfume. This medium bodied, easy to like, round wine seems to be less interesting than it was a few years ago. I'd opt for drinking this over the next few years before it drops more of its fruit.

      88 points - Tasted
    3. Black raspberries, espresso bean, licorice and cassis get you going. Opulent in texture and concentrated with sweet ripe, jammy berries, this delicious wine is already drinking well.

      92 points - Tasted
  22. 2003 Château Fleur Cardinale ( St. Émilion Grand Cru)

    1. Fully mature, the plush, dark cherry, chocolate and truffle filled personality is delivering its all today. I’d opt for drinking this over the next 3-5 years.

      90 points - Tasted
    2. Licorice, blackberry jam, smoke, chocolate and earthy scents offer their charm with little effort. Lush textures, medium body and a ripe, mocha, cherry tinged sensation are found in the finish. There is no reason to hold this wine any longer. It’s close or at full maturity.

      91 points - Tasted
    3. This is the first vintage that showed real promise to Florence and Dominique Decoster. Ripe Jammy plums, licorice and black cherries make up the perfume. This round and lushly textured wine offers ample jammy black raspberries, chocolate, spice and hints of fennel. This is drinking perfect today. I've tasted this wine numerous times with consistent results. I'd drink this over the next 5-7 years

      92 points - Tasted
  23. 2002 Château Fleur Cardinale ( St. Émilion Grand Cru)

    1. This fully mature wine shows coffee, cassis and truffle aromas. There is some green flavors in the plummy finish. Drink up.

      87 points - Tasted
  24. 2001 Château Fleur Cardinale ( St. Émilion Grand Cru)

    1. This slightly past fully mature wine is medium bodied and displays dark berries and earthy flavors. The tannins do not feel fully ripe. This is the debut vintage of this wine for Dominique and Florence Decoster.

      85 points - Tasted