Once a classic Saint Emilion wine but not that stable

L'Arrosee

 

Château L'Arrosée was first listed in Le Féret among the Saint-Emilion premiers crus in 1868 when it belonged to Pierre Magne, a minister of Napoleon 3rd. At the time the property had neither vinification nor ageing facilities and the harvest was sold to the co-operative. Mme Dupuch purchased L’Arrosee in 1911, her son Georges took over management and sold all production to local cooperative until 1938. Then L’Arrosee was sold to Pierre Rodhain. The wine was still sold to the local cooperative, until his son, Francois took over in 1957. He managed the property until 2002. He made a lot of modernization concerning winemaking installation and with his arrival, L’Arrosee had been estate-bottled.

L'Arrosée's 10 hectares vineyard was located on the western section of the St-Emilion Côtes, just opposite the wine-cooperative and train track. Planted with Merlot (50%), Cabernet Sauvignon (30%), and Cabernet Franc (20%). Late harvest because of CS. The grapes were hand-harvested before being fermented in temperature-controlled concrete vats. Gentle crushing of grapes. The wine was then matured in 100% new oak casks for 12 months and bottled without fining and filtration.

Since August 2002 L'Arrosée has been run by brothers Roger and Jean-Philippe Caille. In July 2013 they sold L’Arrosee to Domaine Clarence Dillon, who had already purchased Chateau Tertre Daugay in May 2011. Subsequently, both properties merged together into Quintus.

On September 21st, the year 2018, a tasting of whopping 32 vintages of this property had taken place in Copenhagen, Denmark. The present manager of Quintus and one who knew Francois Rodhain (he died in 2013), Francois Capdemourlin, attended this tasting. We witnessed a very interesting range of wines. However, it was kind of roller-coaster to taste these 32 vintages, as some expected to be excellent were not and some from unheralded vintages surprised to great extent. Especially '80s are not really interesting wines. I wonder if there was any kind of consultant employed to help the property because harvests weren't started at the right time. It's very much obvious and one can imagine how much the quality would improve with the right advice. 

Francois Rodhain Chateau LArrosee0002

 Francois Rodhain, the owner, in the cellar of L'Arrosee in the mid-'90s

1957 L’Arrosee – F.Rodhain. 92p

Tasted in September 2018. Very similar to 1958 with the same characteristics, but just a bit less intense and concentrated. Still going well and not tired.

1958 L’Arrosee – F.Rodhain. 93p

Tasted in September 2018. An elegant wine with splendid fruit intensity and fine complexity. Ripe fruit and ripe tannin. Quite long on the palate and with a fruity, mellow aftertaste. Still very much alive.

1961 L’Arrosee – F.Rodhain. 92p

Tasted in September 2018. Potent and complex, long on the palate, fruit a little bit tired, but overall a well-made wine which has the same style as 1957 and 1958. Keeps well.

1962 L’Arrosee – F.Rodhain. NR.

Tasted in September 2018. Suspect colour, totally unclear, gone dead. Our host told us that this bottle was bought in Scotland. Suspicious one!

1964 L’Arrosee – F.Rodhain 83p

Tasted in September 2018. Light and with not ripe fruit, a bit flat. Negociant bottling (Barriere).

1971 L’Arrosee – F.Rodhain. 92p

Tasted twice - last time in October 2019. Consistent notes. Truffy nose, elegant, very nice complexity and length, quite viril and lively. Fine fruity finish. Has kept well. 

1973 L’Arrosee – F.Rodhain. 88p

Tasted in September 2018. Surprisingly well-trimmed, smoky fruit, nice acidity. Fruity aftertaste. Drinks nicely. 

1975 L’Arrosee – F.Rodhain. 93p

Tasted in September 2018. Strong and powerful, fine ripe fruit, very characteristic of this vintage on Right Bank. Meaty on the palate and with a long finish. Among the top wines of the tasting.

1978 L’Arrosee – F.Rodhain. 90p

Tasted in September 2018. Good intensity and complexity, quite fruity and with nice tannin, good length on the palate with a fruity finish. 

1979 L’Arrosee – F.Rodhain. 83p

Tasted in September 2018. A letdown, not up to the fine quality of 1978. Boring wine with a short finish.

1980 L’Arrosee – F.Rodhain. 83p

Tasted in September 2018. More or less like 1979. 

1981 L’Arrosee – F.Rodhain. 86p

Tasted in September 2018. NIce wine, truffy, charming, reasonably tasty.

1982 L’Arrosee – F.Rodhain. 84p

Tasted in September 2018. Average quality, good concentration and length. Doesn't reflect at all the potential of this vintage. 

1983 L’Arrosee – F.Rodhain. 83p

Tasted in September 2018. Not significantly better than in 1984.

1984 L’Arrosee – F.Rodhain. 83p

Tasted in September 2018. Tasted pretty chaptalized to me and this wine disappoints all the way. Light, dry, short. 

1985 L’Arrosee – F.Rodhain. 84p

Tasted in September 2018. Slightly better than in 1984 with reasonable fruit.

1986 L’Arrosee – F.Rodhain. 85p

Tasted in September 2018. Very similar to 1996. One to forget.

1987 L’Arrosee – F.Rodhain 83p

Tasted in September 2018. The smell of wet cardboard which indicates chaptalisation. Disappears quickly in nowhere land.

1988 L’Arrosee – F.Rodhain. 88p

Tasted in September 2018. Good intensity and complexity, fruity and with nice tannin, good length on the palate with a soft finish.

1989 L’Arrosee – F.Rodhain. 87p

Tasted in September 2018. Nice truffy nose and soft on the palate. However light wine with a short aftertaste.

1990 L’Arrosee – F.Rodhain. 88p

Tasted in September 2018. More succulent and better composition here than in 1989, but light with some finesse. Lacks some excitement and intensity of the vintage. 

1994 L’Arrosee – F.Rodhain. 85p.

Tasted in September 2018. Anonymous wine, good fruit and good length. 

1996 L’Arrosee – F.Rodhain. 85p.

Tasted in September 2018. A vintage when Merlot didn't succeed because of the unfavorable growing season at all on the Right Bank and it can be tasted. Mute, not ripe and dry on the palate. 

2000 L’Arrosee – F.Rodhain. 87p.

Tasted in September 2018. Not that fresh, a bit diluted which is a sign of big harvest. Lacks excitement, intensity, complexity and length. Just OK wine but that's it.

2003 L’Arrosee – Caille brothers. 89p

Tasted in September 2018. Rather powerful and strong with a bit liquorice taste on the palate. The fruit isn't hot and there is good acidity and length. 

2005 L’Arrosee – Caille brothers. 93p

Tasted in September 2018. Ripe fruit everywhere, fine-grained tannin, long on the palate with splendid depth, fine complexity and long finish. One of the best wines in the tasting.

2006 L’Arrosee – Caille brothers. 86p

Tasted in September 2018. Lacks a bit of ripeness, but Ok made with good acidity. Merlot didn't succeed on Right Bank in this vintage.

2007 L’Arrosee – Caille brothers. 84p

Tasted in September 2018. Nice fruity nose with a hint of chaptalisation, obvious dryness on the palate resulting from unripe grapes. Nothing to be excited about here. 

2008 L’Arrosee – Caille brothers. 91p

Tasted in September 2018. A captivating nose of ripe cherries and black fruit. Fine fruit and tannin, soil character and nice finish. A classic and elegant wine. Not bad at all. 

2009 L’Arrosee - Caille brothers. 89p

Tasted in September 2018. A bit light in intensity and concentration, linear, some elegance but a rather short aftertaste. Should have been more remarkable if you take the high quality of this vintage in the context.

2010 L’Arrosee - Caille brothers. 92p

Tasted in September 2018. Better winemaking for sure here! Riper fruit and tannin, more intensity and concentration, more complex and with a long finish. The huge potential of 2010 vintage is almost visible here.

2012 L’Arrosee – Caille brothers. 88p

Tasted in September 2018. A bit anonymous in presence showing earthy tones, light palate, good tasty fruit and nice complexity. OK wine.

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