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Beautiful dark plum/garnet color to the rim, with just a hint of lightening, a sensationally exotic nose of roasted coffee, melted chocolate, herbs, and sweet kirsch and plum. Even a hint of fig made it into the wine’s gorgeous aromatic display. In the mouth, the wine was full-bodied, powerful, rich, still showing some tannin to shed, but the sweetness, expansiveness, exuberance, and overall purity were stunning.
The name Tertre Roteboeuf of this small Saint-Emilion property loosely translates to 'hill of the belching bullock', which is believed to be a nod to the estate's cattle-grazing past. The property has existed since the mid-18th century, but it was just called Le Tertre until 1978, when François Mitjavile and his wife inherited it from his father-in-law. He changed the name to differentiate it from other right-bank properties with 'Tertre' in their name, wanting his property to be unique, which is fitting as François himself is a true original who makes wine like no other in the commune. He always picks his grapes, grown unusually here in low-cordon trained vines, late when fully ripe and sometimes seemingly fragile.
The vines lie on a steep slope to the southeast of Saint-Emilion - not far from Pavie and Larcis-Ducasse - and have an average age of 45 to 50 years. The cool clay and limestone soils are perfect for Merlot, which accounts for 85% of the 5.7-hectare vineyard, and Cabernet Franc, which makes up the remaining 15%.