History, family, and wine go hand in hand in Bordeaux and Chateau Mayne-Vieil's history can be traced back across three influential families to the 1500s. Descended from the original owners, the Equerry de Paty, Lord of Mayne-Vieil, built the large cellars in the 17th century. Libournais vintners, the Fontemoings, established a new Fronsac vineyard to rival Saint-Emilion, while the Seze family, owners for the last 100 years, restored and expanded the estate after World War I. The Merlot vines of their Fronsac vineyard can be seen from the house in its entirety as it rolls across the beautiful hill overlooking the Dordogne river. The single block vineyard covers 47 hectares (32 of which are in the Fronsac AOC), and is planted with 70% Merlot and 30% Cabernet Franc.
Chateau Mayne-Vieil uses permanent grass cover between the rows of vines to reduce the need for herbicide sprays and also to reduce the compaction of the soil as fewer passes by tractor are required. The increased competition for water and nutrients also reduces the vigour of the vines, thus reducing the need for green harvesting, reducing yields and increasing the concentration of the grapes. The chateau is on course for Agriculture Respectueuse de l’Environnement en Aquitaine (AREA) certification, equivalent to the HVE Level 2, from which it can eventually progress to full HVE 3 accreditation.
The vineyard is planted on fairly steep slopes of clay and silt soil. The 35 year old Merlot vines are trained low and planted close together. Permanent grass cover and green harvesting keep yields low.
85% of the wine is matured in concrete vats and 15% in barrel for at least three years.
A ripe and pure nose, offering creamy black fruit and dark roast coffee. Tannins are firm but ripe and beautifully pure and linear, and the palate is concentrated and already well-knit, if still a little youthful. Packed with intense black, mulberry-flavoured fruit, the ripeness makes this very drinkable now and it will continue to develop more complexity over the next 5 years.
Try with roasted or grilled red meats and mature cheeses.