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Silky, Floral and Lifted: Old Vine Saint-Emilion from Taillefer


Château Vieux Taillefer stands out as one of Saint-Emilion’s most unique estates. They do not employ outside winemaking consultants, and they don’t make ‘first’ or ‘second’ wines, only different cuvées that focus on terroir expression.

They also work quite naturally – especially for Bordeaux – farming organically, harvesting manually, and bottling their wines unfined and unfiltered.

There’s an emphasis on biodiversity that includes beehives, hens, a vegetable garden, and a horse for plowing.  They even forgo sulfur for a grapeseed-derived substitute they learned about from Guillaume Selosse when he staged in their cellar.

But these are not funky or wild wines; they are stunningly pure, vibrant, and luxuriously styled. Catherine Cohen is the winemaker, and she used to be the winemaker for La Fleur Pétrus before eventually founding the estate with her husband, Phillipe, in 2006.

“Pavillon de Taillefer” from 4 different plots of old-vines Merlot, most of which were planted in 1950.  But, If you think of Merlot wines as being flabby or dense, you need to try this wine:

Château Taillefer, Saint-Emilion Grand Cru Pavillon de Taillefer, 2018

The wine is aged in 2-3 year-old oak barrels, so it’s not oaky tasting, but still quite silky. We love how floral and lifted the wine is, and also those traces of stoniness that come out in the finish.