Château Tayet is a 10 hectare estate located at the south east corner of the Médoc peninsula, in the commune of Macau. As it’s just south of the Margaux appellation it is simply AOC Bordeaux, or AOC Bordeaux Supérieur (which is not that meaningful in itself). However, the potential of the property is definitely greater than its simple appellation would indicate.
The name itself only dates back to 1994 when it was taken over by the people behind Château Haut Breton Larigaudière in Margaux itself; it was previously known as Cru de Noë and then Château Les Charmilles. 1994 was also the start of the Cuvée Prestige, made with the best fruit and matured in a mixture of new and old oak for six months.
The vineyards are planted to Merlot (55%), Cabernet Sauvignon (40%) and Petit Verdot (5%). While the Médoc is though of as Cabernet country, it tends to be the Crus Classés of Pauillac which are very Cabernet dominated (over 80% in some vintages); Margaux is less so, and Haut-Médoc wines are often a 50% Cabernet – 50% Merlot blend. That perspective shows that Château Tayet is aiming for a certain style and quality of wine.
At the WineMasons tasting earlier in the year I had the opportunity to taste two vintages back to back:
Château Tayet Cuvée Prestige Bordeaux Supérieur 2009 (13.0%, €21 at The Corkscrew, Blackrock Cellar, D-Six, Green Man Wines & McHughs)
2009 was a fabulous year for Bordeaux, so much so that some commentators said it was hard to make a bad wine in such a vintage. The richness that is so typical of 2009 really comes through, with soft, velvety fruit that’s very approachable and rewarding. There’s still power there, even eight years after vintage – in fact I’d say this is at peak drinking right now.
Château Tayet Cuvée Prestige Bordeaux Supérieur 2011 (13.5%, €19 at Drinkstore)
2011 was a cooler vintage in Bordeaux and in general was rated a few notches below 2009. The cooler year means that richness is dialed back a little, and savoury characters fill in the gap. Black fruit is joined by black olive and tobacco notes, and prominent acidity gives freshness. In other words, this is more of a classic claret.
So which is better? At the tasting I wrote “you pays your money, you take your choice” as these are both very good wines, though different in style. If all depends what you like, and particularly if you plan to drink the wine on its own (go for 2009) or with food (go for 2011. My personal preference is for the 2009, so grab it while you can!
Another Brick in the Wall series:
- Part 1: Turner-Pageot
- Part 2: Germanic Whites
- Part 3: Ziereisen of Baden
- Part 4: A Medley of Whites
- Part 5: Pittnauer
- Part 6: Ch Tayet