Haut Médoc l’Heritage de Chasse-Spleen
Chasse-Spleen’s second wine is most attractive in 2010; smooth, smoky, and sweetly flavoured, with good structure and freshness too.
Although vines have been tended at Chasse-Spleen for hundreds of years, it wasn’t until the mid-1800s that the château got its name, after various divisions of the estate due to inheritances and marriages. One legend says the name was decided upon thanks to Lord Byron, who visited the estate in 1821, and is purported to have declared that the wine was so good it was a brilliant remedy to drive melancholy feelings away (or chasser le spleen). In its more recent history, it was purchased by the talented négociant Jacques Merlaut in 1976. His daughter Bernadette Villars ran the property until her untimely death in 1992, after which the running of the estate was taken over by her daughter Claire, but now the estate is run by Claire’s sister Céline with her husband Jean-Pierre Foubert. In 2003, the couple expanded the vineyard area, purchasing vines from nearby Gressier Grand Poujeaux, which had been part of the original estate. The area under vine now stands at 100 hectares, with a great variety of complementary soil types, from cabernet sauvignon’s favoured deep gravel, to merlot-friendly clay-limestone. Chasse-Spleen has made consistently splendid claret with full-bodied, well-structured flavour and considerable finesse. The blend tends to consist of 73% cabernet sauvignon, 20% merlot and 7% petit verdot, which is aged for 18 months in oak, with 40% new barrels each year. It is possible to keep the wine for 10 to 20 years, although older vintages prove that it can age extremely well for much longer.