This is the very first year that Chateau La Fleur Morange will be showing at En Primeur as part of the Union des Grands Crus de Bordeaux (UGC) tastings. La Fleur Morange was promoted to Grand Cru Classé in the 2012 Saint Emilion Classification – a remarkable achievement when you consider the tiny estate’s dramatic rise through the ranks – which means that the wines can now debut at the UGC Tastings.
In the past wine merchants could only taste the wines in barrel at the chateau by private appointment so this promotion will give La Fleur Morange a much larger audience, giving many more folk in the wine business the opportunity to try the wines for themselves (and see why I have been banging on about how good they are!).
The UGC are the main association of Bordeaux’s leading chateaux and organise the main En Primeur tasting each year. In each commune, one chateau has the honour of hosting the local tasting, with all the other producers attending with their samples. This year Chateau La Couspaude is hosting the Saint Emillion tasting Monday 8th – Thursday 11th April. These tastings are for the wine trade only but the UGC also hold tastings for wine enthusiasts not in the trade – Le Weekend des Grands Amateurs – normally held in June.
Owned by Jean-François and Veronique Julien, La Fleur Morange has only being producing wine for the past decade and has attracted high acclaim from wine critics across the globe. The 4 acre vineyard is also rather special as it lies on unique soil: a combination of sand, clay and chalk over an iron oxide sub soil (crasse de fer) which is 15.7 inches (40 cm) below the surface, resting on top of limestone bedrock – the only complex mixture known to exist in Saint Emilion. The little vineyard also has the added rarity of having 100 year old vines.
Located in easy walking distance from the main street of St.Emilion Chateau La Couspaude is also a Grand Cru Classé and the estate dates back to the Middle Ages. It’s thought that the chateau takes its name from ‘La Croix Paute’ which is a cross located at the crossroads of lanes bordering the western entrance of the estate that marked the pilgrim route to Santiago de Compostela. This pilgrimage was one of the most important Christian pilgrimages during medieval times and is also known as the “Way of Saint James”. The remains of the apostle Saint James are buried at the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela in Galicia in north western Spain.
The first written reference to a vineyard at La Couspaude was in 1739 and the Chartreuse style chateau building was constructed in the 18th century. In 1908 La Couspaude was purchased by Jean Prosper Robin, a wine merchant and owner of the neighbouring estate Chateau Sansonnet.
La Couspaude is still owned by his descendants, the Aubert family, who also own Chateaux Jean de Gue (Lalande de Pomerol), Messile Aubert and Saint Hubert (both Saint Emilion), Lagrave Aubert and Labesse (both Côtes de Castillon), Saint Antoine and Fleur Saint Antoine (both Bordeaux Superieur).
For those within the Wine Press and Trade who are attending this will probably be the first opportunity they would have had of tasting La Fleur Morange. I hope they take this opportunity to acquaint themselves with it as up until now very little has been written about this relatively unknown but exquisite wine.