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the wines of François Mitjavile

by Tom Cannavan, 2010

The name François Mitjavile may not be familiar, but the Bordeaux estates he owns certainly will be: Roteboeuf in St-Emilion and Roc de Cambes in the Côtes de Bourg. Tetre Roteboeuf is - or should be - a humble six-hectare territory, but Mitjavile has taken it from relative obscurity to one of St-Emilion's most sought-after wines, largely explained by his extraordinary attention to detail. Something of the Roteboeuf philosophy has been applied to Roc de Cambes too, which comprises 14 hectares of 45-year-old vines. The third estate in this mini-profile is Domaine de l'Aurage in the Côtes de Castillon, which is owned and run by François' son, Louis. Until the 2006 vintage this estate was known as Château Cadet, the name change coming under the Mitjavile ownership.   

This tasting of seven wines from the three estates was staged by importer and retailer Corney & Barrow. Their prices are given, but the older vintages may sell-out or the prices change, so links to all stockists listed by wine-searcher are given too.

Domaine de l'Aurage

Domaine de l’Aurage 2007, Côtes de Castillon
Lovely sweet fruit mintiness. Cedar and woodsmoke come through, with a brightness and raciness to the wine. The palate too has lovely poise and balance, the dry, savoury quality crying out for a chunk of crunly cheddar or slice of rare roast beef. 90/100. £16.69. See all stockists on wine-searcher.com

Château Cadet 2006, Côtes de Castillon
Minty, ripe and super black fruit nose, with a suggestion of fleshy richness. The palate has that core of ripe fruit, but the fleshiness doesn't quite push through. Still tasty and well-balanced, and will age too. 88/100. £12.99. See all stockists on wine-searcher.com

Roc de Cambes

Roc de Cambes 2007, Côtes de Bourg
Richly gamey and minty, lots of ripeness and creaminess. The fruit too is bloody and bold on the palate, delightful, mouth-filling richness cut by precise tannins and lovely balancing acidity. 91/100. £32.49. See all stockists on wine-searcher.com

Roc de Cambes 2006, Côtes de Bourg
Ripe, quite full and minty, plenty of smoky and charry oak but the fruit's up to it. On the palate a tiny medicinal edge keeps this savoury and lean. 89/100. £32.49. See all stockists on wine-searcher.com

Roc de Cambes 2004, Côtes de Bourg
Lovely bloody edge to this wine that shows fine maturity. Refined, cedary, touches of gaminess quite tight and refined, has lots of spice and racy finesse. 91/100. £46.99. See all stockists on wine-searcher.com

Tetre Roteboeuf

Tetre Roteboeuf 2007, Saint-Emilion
Ripe, bold black fruit with some little animal nunaces, lots of coffee in the background with pencil-shaving hints. The palate has that hint of austerity, with a bloody, linear, gravelly streak slicing through layers of spicier depth and rich tannins. Long and structured and needs time. 10 years plus. 93/100. £89.99. See all stockists on wine-searcher.com

Tetre Roteboeuf 2006, Saint-Emilion
Cedar and refined, perfumed red fruits. Nice suggestion of fudgey, rich depth and plenty of spice. The palate is thick with tannin still and has great concentration. A liquoricy edge adds drama to the sweet, full fruit in a hugely concentrated and long wine. Another with decades ahead of it. 95/100. £89.49. See all stockists on wine-searcher.com