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6th January 2023

Château de Sales - a story in Pomerol.

Château de Sales Pomerol 2020

79 M 14 CS 7 CF
This is everything that is good about the 2020 vintage in Bordeaux. It is at once palate-flooding with rich black fruits and blueberry density, with a savoury undertone of iron and soil, and just the right amount of spicy roasted-coffee bean oak. Complexing elements of liquorice, rose and clove add depth, but the whole is underpinned by a freshness to the acidity which marks the vintage and - in many properties - favours 2020 above the generally more homogenous 2019 vintage, and certainly the 2018s from the Right Bank which tend toward the over-rich due to the warmth. It finishes long and with the beginnings of silkiness which will repay decanting well ahead of time, or keeping in the cellar for up decade or more
This property, the largest in Pomerol at 48ha of vineyard, has been family owned since 1578 (!), although with a few name changes. The current Lamberts family are direct descendants of the Sauvanelle family who purchased the property in the sixteenth century. De Sales also has one of the few grand early Château buildings on the Right Bank, constructed in the early 17th century, when such properties were vary rare.

Historically, however, the wine had underdelivered somehow, perhaps reflecting the scale of its production. There was nothing wrong, just nothing especially exciting for such a grand estate, situated just to the north-west of the famous plateau. They were medium bodied, and elegant, but this lightness of touch exposed a certain rustic character. But, starting with the 2018, and especially the 2019, vintage something seems to have changed and very much for the better. And the 2020 is a lovely triumph, which remains priced more according to the reputation than to the wine itself. It remains medium bodied, but there is a refinement to the palate not really seen before. Delicious. Definitely a property to watch. 91


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