Chateau Caronne Ste Gemme is another Haut Medoc Cru Bourgeois that I am fond of and have had the pleasure of tasting many vintages over the years. Whilst I have not had any vintages from the 60's or early 70's I have had both 1978 and 1979 recently and can attest to the wines ability to age gracefully. Probably at its best in its second decade, but equally delicious when young.
In the 1983 edition of Bordeaux and its Wines, Feret, Chateau Caronne is ranked 4th in the Haut Medoc commune of Saint-Laurent et Benon, although the three estates above it are all 1855 Grand Cru Classe, making it first amongst the Cru Bourgeois and described thus:-
Situated in the ancient parish of Saint Gemme, today split between Saint Laurent and Cussac. Its 43 hectare vineyard is on the border with Saint Julian Beychevelle, and produces impressive wines, highly coloured, very fine and with bouquet, which age remarkably well.
The vineyard was first reported in 1648 when a local landlord, Denis de Mullet of La Tour StLambert rented it to a farmer in exchange for the wines produced. The Parish was abolished during the Revolution and it is about this time that the first records of wine production at Caronne appear. In 1900 ownership of Caronne passed to Emile and Eugène Borie. The sons of Eugène would later cede their shares to their uncle and purchase Ch. Batailley and later Ducru-Beaucaillou while Emile's descendents would remain the sole owners of Caronne until this day.
The winemaking team is composed of the owner, François Nony representing the fourth generation, a cellar master, Bruno Guyomar and an oenologist, Olivier Dauga. The grapes are carefully sorted out before they are destalked, then slightly crushed and sent into fermentation vats which are either stainless steel or cement with an epoxy coating and always thermo-regulated.
The vineyards are planted with 60% cabernet sauvignon, 3% petit verdot and 37% merlot. The average age of the vines is 25 years old.
A wine often described as punching above its weight and with a loyal following. It is a wine that I will continue to buy year after year.
Current vintage is usually available from Majestic at around £15 and we have a small stock of older wines which can be found here.
Credits:- Chateau Caronne Ste Gemme website. Bordeaux and its Wines Feret 13th Edition.