1959 Château La Conseillante Pomerol Bordeaux France Wine Tasting Note
Chateau La Conseillante Vineyards, Terroir, Grapes, Winemaking
The 12.3 hectare Pomerol vineyards of Chateau La Conseillante remained essentially unchanged since the early 1700's until they added a .3 hectare parcel in the La Gravette vineyard in 2014. Located on the eastern tip of the Pomerol plateau, Chateau La Conseillante is only a stones throw from Chateau LEvangile, not far from Chateau Cheval Blanc and Petit Village. The vineyard is planted to a vine density of close to 6,000 vines per hectare for the time being. It is the goal of Chateau La Conseillante to increase the vine density over time to 7,500 vines per hectare. The young vines are now planted at the higher densities of 7,500 vines per hectare. The vineyard is basically in one parcel, which is unusual for the Pomerol appellation.
By 2013, only 10% of La Conseillante was planted at the higher level of density. The goal of the estate is for the entire vineyard to reach 7,500 vines per hectare by 2040. On average, the vines are 35 years of age. But La Conseillante has old vines, some of which date back to the year after the devastating frost in 1957. The Right Bank vineyards are divided into 18 separate parcels in a single block and occupy a pattern that looks a bit like a windy snake or the letter S. Interestingly, close to 30% of Chateau La Conseillante is located in St. Emilion, close to the gravel and sandy terroir of Chateau Cheval Blanc. Much of their Cabernet Franc is planted here.
The terroir is gray clay and red clay with deposits of iron, gravel and sand in their soil. They also have large deposits of blue clay in their terroir as well. Depending on where you are in the vineyards of La Conseillante, you will encounter soils with a deeper concentration of clay, or terroir with more gravel and some sand. Most of their Cabernet Franc is planted in the gravel and sand soils, while the Merlot is planted in the clay dominated soil. The vineyard of La Conseillante is planted to 80% Merlot and 20% Cabernet Franc. Over time Chateau La Conseillante plans to increase the percentage of Cabernet Franc in their vineyards with the objective of having between 25% and 30% Cabernet Franc planted. While the estate previously had a percentage of Malbec in the vineyards, those vines have since been removed. Today, at La Conseillante, they also continue slowing increasing the percentage of their vines that are farmed using organic techniques.
Chateau La Conseillante completed a massive renovation to their entire wine making facilities just in time for the 2012 vintage. In their unique, circular shaped, winery, they added 22 new, aerial, concrete tanks and an additional underground, concrete vat. They retained three, small, open, stainless steel tanks. This allows for true precision vinification on a parcel by parcel basis for the estate's 18 parcels. 18 of the vats will be used for vinification. 4 vats are used only for blending and holding the wine. In addition, there is a new grape reception center which includes multiple sorting tables and de-stalking machines.
At La Conseillante, with the new cellars and stainless steel vats, they now vinify on a parcel by parcel basis, which allows for much more precision. In fact, Chateau La Conseillante was the first producer in Pomerol and St. Emilion to install stainless steel, temperature controlled vats. The press wine is aged separately. Malolactic fermentation takes place in tank. The wine at Chateau La Conseillante was aged in 80% to 100% new, French oak for about 18 months until the legendary 2009 vintage. Starting with the 2010 vintage, the amount of new oak was reduced to an average of 50% to 75% new, French oak, with the average being closer to 60% depending on the vintage. The estate recently added a second wine starting with the 2007 vintage, Duo de Conseillante. In 2015, Chateau La Conseillante began micro-vinifying 6% of their wine in barrel. In 2016, the portion of wine vinified entirely in barrel was increased to 9%. Coupled with the other recent changes, the textural component has really improved here. 2015 marked another change at the estate. The label was changed for the first time decades. The change is slight, but it's another step in modernizing the chateau.
The best vintages of Chateau La Conseillante are: 2016, 2015, 2012, 2010, 2009, 2008, 2006, 2005, 2001, 2000, 1998, 1990, 1989, 1985, 1982, 1970, 1961, 1959, 1955, 1950, 1947 and 1945. Older vintages with provenance could be worth taking a chance on at auction, as in the best years, the wines age extremely well.
Chateau La Conseillante Character and Style of the Wine
Chateau La Conseillante produces a wine of elegance, silky tannins and velvety textured fruit. It is never the most powerful Pomerol, nor the ripest. But perhaps it's one of the most harmonious and refined wines in Pomerol. Black raspberry, plum dark cherry, chocolate and flowers are usually found in the perfume that pairs with the elegant, sensuous, refined, fresh, style of their wine.
Serving and Decanting Chateau La Conseillante with Wine, Food, Pairing Tips
Chateau La Conseillante is best served at 15.5 degrees Celsius, 60 degrees Fahrenheit. The cool, almost cellar temperature gives the wine more freshness and lift. Young vintages can be decanted for 2-3 hours. This allows the wine to soften and open its perfume. Older vintages might need very little decanting, just enough to remove the sediment. Chateau La Conseillante is best paired with all types of classic meat dishes, veal, pork, beef, lamb, duck, game, roast chicken, roasted, braised and grilled dishes. Chateau La Conseillante is also good with Asian dishes, hearty fish courses like tuna, salmon, mushrooms and pasta.