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Château Fleur Cardinale 2018

Precision & Ambition

Un verre de Château Fleur Cardinale - © M. Johnson

IDENTITY

Blend :

  • 74% Merlot
  • 22% Cabernet Franc
  • 4% Cabernet Sauvignon

Alcoholic degree: 14,5°

La vigne - © C. Decoster, Château Fleur Cardinale

WEATHER CONDITIONS

The 2018 growing season was marked by excess rainfall up till the end of June, followed by hot weather at the end.

Favoured by ideal weather conditions at the end of the season, we were able to perform “haute-couture” harvesting work.

Le temps des vendanges - © J. Buchholtz

HARVEST

  • 27 September > 24 October 2018
  • Yields: 45 hl/ha
  • Production: 120 000 bottles of first wine
Ludovic carafant une bouteille de Château Fleur Cardinale - © M. Johnson

TASTING SUGGESTIONS

  • Optimal tasting period: 2022 – 2042.
  • Today: to be kept in the cellar.
  • Serving temperature: 17-18°C.
Une bouteille de Fleur Cardinale 2015 - © C. Decoster, Château Fleur Cardinale

PERSONALITY CHARACTERISTICS

The 2018 vintage is synonymous of:

  • Resurgence
  • Generosity
  • Precision
  • Ambition

Reviews for this vintage

ANTHOCYANES, YOHAN CASTAING

93-95
Nez frais, iris, mure et myrtille. Nez de terroir froid ce qui lui sied merveilleusement cette année. Velouté, satiné avec une grosse charge tannique, une densité sur la profondeur et une finale élégante et fruitée. Plein de mouvement. Un vrai changement de style. Avril 2019.

B MY BORDEAUX, CHRISTER BYKLUM

91-93
Ruby. Blueberries, anise, some scented notes, quite rich nose, dense. Fresh acidity, ripe tannins, anise, dark fruity, blackberries, structured, again dense, long. March 2019.

93
June 2021 Ruby. Dark fruits, blackberries and spices, some scented and floral high notes, chocolate notes, still quite tight nose. Fresh acidity, ripe tannins, dark fruits, anise, blackberries and spices, a more detailed palate like I remember it from primeur even if also rich and dense, and that was followed up even more in 2019. A new era of Fleur Cardinale starts here.

YVES BECK

94-95
Pourpre violacé. Bouquet intense marqué par son terroir avec des notes crayeuses. Ils révèlent également des notes de cerises et une touche confite. Au palais, le vin est crémeux, élégant et doté d’une structure rafraîchissante qui confère un peu de peps à l’ensemble du palais. Les tannins sont fins et se révèlent lentement en fin de bouche. Une belle réussite à Fleur Cardinale. 2024-2043 Avril 2019.

94
Le bouquet de Fleur Cardinale 2018 a le mérite d’immédiatement indiquer d’où il vient, respectivement il affiche un côté crayeux. Ça c’est le plateau calcaire de St-Emilion. Ensuite il y a le côté pruneaux, chocolats et épices…. Ça c’est Fleur Cardinale. Finalement, la complexité est complétée par des nuances de tourbe et de griotte. En bouche le vin se révèle sous différents angles. Oui, il y a le charme de 2018, mais il y a également la finesse, la délicatesse et des tannins qui assurent bien les arrières. Ils sont encore quelque peu accrocheurs, mais dans la configuration du millésime, c’est de bon augure. Finale sapide et persistante. October 2020

BETTANE & DESSEAUVE

94-95 // SUPER BORDEAUX
En bouche, le vin est d’une juste richesse et d’un style résolument hédoniste, avec une chair crémeuse imposante mais fraîche. Très belle réussite. Avril 2019.

BORDEAUX WINE BLOG, ALEX RYCHLEWSKI

N: Subtle cherry-vanilla aromatics I associate with this estate. Enticing, with just the right touch of oak. P: Big volume and seamless development on the palate with superb tannin. Elegant rather than powerful. The château is going from strength to strength. Long aftertaste with great tannic texture. Excellent. April 2019.

JEANNIE CHO LEE, MW

92
Sumptuous and velvety with ripe suave tannins and layers of dark berry fruit. Beautifully crafted and polished with no rough edges - the 14.5% alcohol is well integrated into the wine as is the oak. Lingering finish. January 2021

DECANTER, JANE ANSON

94
After a tough 2017 in terms of frost, Fleur Cardinale returns to a more normal blend this year and has produced a very beautiful wine. This is, as ever with this cooler terroir over to the west of St-Emilion, a little bigger than some, with well defined tannins and a fairly masculine feel. Give it time in the glass and the rich, ripe brambly fruits come spilling over, full of juice and promise. The tannins are equally full of life and overall this is extremely appealing. It has settled in already at this early stage, and will age well. April 2019.

94
An estate that is just doing such good work right now. This was delicious en primeur and for me a little better in bottle. Has that slow slate-textured finish that makes things inch along slowly, giving time to appreciate the rich berry fruits and floral edge to the aromatics. An interesting initiative in the packaging also, with a wooden cask that has instructions for being turned into a bird box afterwards, encouraging recycling. November 2020

MARKUS DEL MONEGO, MW

94
Dark purple red with violet hue and almost black core. Elegant nose with fine fruit, slightly closed character but opening up well. On the palate elegant and juicy fruit, sweet tannins, full-bodied with good length, multi-layered finish. A combinaison of elegance and structure Avril 2019

94
Dark purple colour with violet hue and almost black core. Fragrant nose with distinct fruit, reminiscent of dark berries and ripe cherries, hints of dark chocolate and mild spices. On the palate elegant and persistent with juicy fruit, ripe tannins, a well structured and full-bodied wine with convincing length and a multi-layered finish. Very promising. January 2021

JEB DUNNUCK

92-94+
The 2018 Château Fleur Cardinale shows the subtle change in style at this estate, offering slightly more elegance and finesse while still packing plenty of fruit and texture. Coming from a 23.5-hectare vineyard consisting mostly of older vines, the 2018 is currently a tentative blend of 70% Merlot, 25% Cabernet Franc and the rest Cabernet Sauvignon that was harvested starting on September 27th, which is a record early date for this estate. It hit 14.5% alcohol and will spend 12-14 months in new French oak. Perfumed notes of cassis, black raspberries, violets, and spring flowers all emerge from the glass, and it hits the palate with full-bodied richness, a layered, elegant texture, terrific ripeness, and sweet tannins. It’s an elegant yet still sexy wine that shows the vintage beautifully. April 2019.

94
The Grand Vin 2018 Château Fleur Cardinale checks in as a mix of 74% Merlot, 22% Cabernet Franc, and the rest Cabernet Sauvignon brought up in new French oak. It has integrated its oak elevage beautifully and while it has a kiss of modern character and polish, it still has loads of classic Saint-Emilion character, as well as minerality. Deep ruby/plum hued with a gorgeous bouquet of black cherries, white truffles, camphor, lead pencil, and exotic spices, it hits the palate with full-bodied richness, a beautifully balanced, layered texture, building, firm tannins, and a great finish. It's certainly in the same class as the 2015 and 2016, but the cellar is going to be your friend. Hide bottles for at least 4-6 years and it should cruise for 20 years or more. March 2021

FALSTAFF, PETER MOSER

92
Kräftiges Karmingranat, violette Reflexe, breitere Ockerrandaufhellung. Zart kräuterwürzig unterlegtes Brombeerkonfit, frische Herzkirschen, Orangenzesten, tabakige Nuancen. Mittlerer Körper, elegant, kirschig, feine Extraktsüße, runde Tannine, mineralisch-salzig im Abgang, hat sich gut entwickelt, einn vielseitiger Speisenbegleiter. Strong dark crimson, violet reflections, broader ochre rim lightening. Delicately herbaceous underlay of blackberry fruit, fresh heart cherries, orange zest, tobacco nuances. Medium-bodied, elegant, cherry-like, fine extract sweetness, round tannins, mineral-salty finish, has developed well, a versatile food companion. Janvier 2021

FORBES, TOM MULLEN

98
From the Decoster family comes this Grand Cru Classé that is a 74/22/4 blend of Merlot/Cabernet Franc/Cabernet Sauvignon. Deep purple and ruby colored with complex but lively aromas of black cherries, black pepper, orange peel and plums. In the mouth this is a voluptuous, gorgeous wine that balances well-structured tannins with dark fruit and generous, lively acidity. A three-course meal in the mouth, with flavors of plum, aniseed and raspberries mid palate, and a lingering cherry/eucalyptus finish. Pair with beef Bourguignon, crispy pork belly or a spicy Moroccan tajine. Bien fait! February 2021

GAULT & MILLAU

93-95
Nez frais, iris, mure et myrtille. Nez de terroir froid ce qui lui sied merveilleusement cette année. Velouté, satiné avec une grosse charge tannique, une densité sur la profondeur et une finale élégante et fruitée. Plein de mouvement. Un vrai changement de style. Juin 2019.

JANCIS ROBINSON

16.5
Black core with purple rim. Ripe blackcurrant and blackberry fruit, rich but not excessively sweet in aroma though there is a youthful oaky, charry sweetness that is not out of place in a barrel sample. A dark, oaky intensity on the palate packed with sweet black fruit. The deep-pile tannins are smooth and compact to begin and build to a more chewy finish. Attractively dry texture at the very end even though it is full in the mouth with lots of everything. Surprisingly juicy on the finish. Just enough freshness – typical for 2018. Chewy and full bodied with power but no aggression. The way the wine stayed fresh over several days after opening, even though it is a cask sample, suggests it will age well. May 2019.

16.5+
Deep and luscious dark crimson. Much less expressive nose at this point than the Croix Cardinale but ripe and round on the palate until it all tightens up on the finish with its ambitious tannic charge. Definitely not for now but it should make pretty delicious, quite savoury (not sweet) old bones. Quite persistent (not a quality I have remarked on for many of these Grand Cercle 2018s). Crisp and well defined. January 2021

JANCIS ROBINSON, TAMLYN CURRIN

17
Dark, intense nose – blackcurrants in black velvet. Blackberries and box leaf and some charred chocolate undertones. Dry, polished, disciplined tannins. Every flavour component is carried by and testament to balance of fruit concentration, tannic structure and freshness. Has a dark gleam and focus. January 2021

JAMES SUCKLING

94-95
This is really linear and tight for this winery and shows seriousness and polish. Medium-to full-bodied and a tight, compact palate. Very fresh and long, too. I can see a change to more linear and precise wines here. April 2019.

94
Blackcurrant, clove, walnut-husk, tobacco and pine-cone aromas. Dried flowers and mocha, too. It’s medium-to full-bodied with firm, tight-grained tannins. Polished layers of dark fruit and wood notes with a long, chewy finish. Focused. Very fine. Try from 2025. January 2021.

RODERICK SMITH MW

91
Very rich and concentrated nose of roasted coffee and damson. Intense and warmly inviting. Deep extract of layered fruit with luscious dark cherry and spices. Creaminess of texture, and well integrated spicy, charry oak. Deep fruit concentration and very ripe, plush tannins. Long and rich finish. Rich and deep. Very good. January 2021

THE DRINKS BUSINESS, COLIN HAY

Dark hued – purple/garnet core, hazy pink rim, quite extracted and almost opaque at the centre. A gorgeous dark-hued briary fruit nose with a mossy, herby, loamy earthiness and a twist or two of black pepper. Quite creamy with glossy gossamer chalky limestone tannins; very polished and suave. This has a lovely juiciness to it as it glides across the palate. Very elegant, very pure and another top St Emilion whose style has evolved in recent vintages towards something very precise, pure, focussed and with great finesse and balance. March 2021

TERRE DE VINS, MATHIEU DOUMENGE

96-97 // COUP DE COEUR
Millésime de renaissance pour Fleur Cardinale, qui a remis son vignoble en parfaite santé après un 2017 douloureux. On retrouve la signature maison : une approche parfumée, sensuelle, un superbe crémeux, un fruit dense et juteux, précis, qui se déploie avec grâce, mais avec un supplément d’énergie, de fraîcheur et de précision. La texture est veloutée et caressante, les arômes de fruits noirs laissent la place aux épices, à la girofle, à des notes presque orientales. L’ensemble est soutenu par une belle trame acide. Un modèle d’équilibre et d’élégance pour un vin qui gagne encore en précision. Une invitation au voyage. Avril 2019.

VERTDEVIN, JONATHAN CHOUKROUN CHICHEPORTICHE

17,5 // 95
Le nez est frais, fruité, élégant, complexe et offre de la puissance, de la générosité/gourmandise, une jolie finesse de la structure, une très belle finesse du grain (de la soie !), une très belle précision ainsi qu’une fine concentration. On y retrouve des notes de mûre, de fraise et plus légèrement de cassis associées à de fines touches de fleurs, de muscade/épices, à de fines pointes minérale ainsi qu’à de très fines pointes de violette/fleurs (en fond) et à de très discrètes pointes de toasté/épices. La bouche est joliment juteuse, gourmande, équilibrée, finement sur la retenue et offre une trame minérale, de la fraicheur, une très belle finesse, de la complexité, une très belle finesse du grain, un fruit frais/croquant/juteux ainsi que de la suavité. En bouche ce vin exprime des notes de cassis charnu/juteux, de mûre juteuse et plus légèrement de framboise juteuse/fraiche associées à de fines touches de toasté, de boisé caramélisé, d’amande toastée et à une très discrète pointe de fleurs. Les tannins sont fins, élégants et structurants. Belle persistance. Présence de fines pointes de chocolat, de boisé et de caramélisation sur la persistance apportent de la gourmandise. Un monstre de finesse ! Avril 2019.

17,5 // 95-96
The nose is elegant, fresh and offers a beautiful definition, a small bewitching side, deepness (full of finesse) as well as finesse of the grain and harmony of the structure. It reveals notes of bright Boysen berry, small black fruits, small notes of violet associated with small touches of small wild blue fruits, wild strawberry as well as fine hints of gray pepper, Cuben pepper, very fine hints of sense of the place and lily/iris. The palate is fruity, delicate, powerful, precise, well-balanced and offers an acidulous/juicy frame, a beautiful definition, a very fine bright fruit, a beautiful salinity as well as freshness, a beautiful guideline/tension and purity. On the palate this wine expresses notes of bright cassis, juicy/pulpy Boysen berry, small notes of small blue fruits associated with touches of graphite, Cuben pepper, small bright berries, cherry, sense of the place/green oak leaf, fresh lily as well as discreet hints of tobacco, sweet spices and very fine hints of caramelization. Very beautiful tannins’ grains. A subtle hint of grill on the persistence. September 2020

VINARIA, PETER SCHLEIMER

17 // ***
Tintenblei, dichte Fülle, ausgereift, tiefe Beerenfrucht, Schwarzkirschen und Brombeeren, sehr frisch, transparenter Ausdruck, sehr schöne Fülle, voll; saftig, einnehmende Frucht, lebhaft, sehr erfrischend, kernig, schöner Biss, Power lang. February 2021

VINOUS, ANTONIO GALLONI

91-94
The 2018 Fleur Cardinale is gorgeous. Supple, racy and wonderfully persistent, the 2018 is shaping up to be a jewel of a wine. Blackberry jam, cloves, chocolate, new leather, licorice and sweet spice all build in a sumptuous, voluptuous Saint-Émilion loaded with class and potential. The question now is really how the 2018 will develop in élevage. Past vintages have been impressive en primeur but then suffered from too much oak during aging. Hopefully that won't be the case here, as the 2018 is really terrific. In the early going, the 2018 does feel a bit less extracted than in the past, and that is certainly a positive development. The blend is 70% Merlot, 25% Cabernet Franc and 5% Cabernet Sauvignon. April 2019.

94
The 2018 Fleur Cardinale is bright and focused, yet has all of the raciness the estate's fans have come to expect. Inky red fruit, blood orange, spice, mint and rose petal develop with a bit of coaxing. Today the 2018 is a bit tightly wound, but that should serve it just fine as it ages in bottle. Pretty Cabernet Franc accents linger on the persistent finish. March 2021

VINOUS, NEAL MARTIN

90-92
The 2018 Fleur Cardinale has a tightly wound bouquet that is much more reserved than I expected. Blackberry, boysenberry and wild strawberry aromas laced with vanilla pod and iodine. The palate is ripe and rounded with good acidity, a little chewy in the mouth and then it just lacks a little definition and tension on the finish. Starts well, could have ended better, but overall it has an undercurrent of spiciness that I find appealing. One to watch once bottled. November 2019

91+
The 2018 Fleur Cardinale replicates the bouquet that I found out of barrel, offering copious and quite precocious black fruit and hints of iodine and vanilla (the latter receding with aeration). The cohesive palate is medium-bodied with sappy black fruit, touches of tar and cedar and sufficient freshness on the peppery finish. A composed Saint-Émilion that just needs to develop more personality with bottle age. January 2021

VINUM

16
Mai 2019 Von dichter, kompakter Art, gemeisterter Extrakt mit Tanninen, die Frische und Rasse vermitteln, der Alkohol perfekt eingebunden, die Eiche ebenfalls : durch und durch erfreulich !

VVWINE, ADRIAN VAN VELSEN

93-95 // 18.5+
Rubis sombre et profond. Le nez impressionnant, baies complexes, sombres, la fumée, la tourbe, les épices de Noël, sur les violettes. Semblant moderne mais très fascinant. Corsé dans l'ouverture, une bouche pleine de vin, le fruit est soutenu par une très bonne structure, l'acide conserve le fruit des grappes frais, malgré l'opulence, le vin est équilibré et agréablement frais, bien épicé, sombre et fruité avec une très, très bonne longueur. C'est année après année plus élégant. Bravo! 2025-2045 Avril 2019.

93
Rouge rubis brillant. Nez ouvert, encore souligné par le bois, beaucoup de mûres, de cerises, aussi quelques cassis, violettes et réglisse sur le dessus, un joli parfum. Prélude juteux en bouche, puissant mais pas surchargé, fruits et noyaux se serrent la main, le vin montre de la structure et de l'élégance, le bois est parfaitement intégré, bien sûr encore un peu sauvage et jeune, mais quelque chose de beau. Belle longtemps et avec de la saveur. Vinifié moderne, qualité supérieure. Qui ne peut pas aimer ça? Mars 2021

THE WINE ADVOCATE, LISA PERROTTI-BROWN

91 - 93
Deep garnet-purple colored, the 2018 Fleur Cardinale features pronounced baked blueberries, stewed black plums and blackberry preserves scents with touches of bay leaves, moss-covered bark and forest floor. Full-bodied and laden with black fruit preserves sparked by earth and dried herbs, it has a solid backbone of ripe, rounded tannins and just enough freshness, finishing long. Barrel aging is expected to be for 12-14 months in 100% new oak barrels. The tentative blend is 70% Merlot, 25% Cabernet Franc and 5% Cabernet Sauvignon. April 2019

94+
Deep garnet-purple in color, the 2018 Fleur Cardinale—composed of 74% Merlot, 22% Cabernet Franc and 4% Cabernet Sauvignon—leaps from the glass with vibrant notes of wild blueberries, crushed blackberries and ripe, juicy plums, plus hints of sandalwood, unsmoked cigars, menthol and licorice. Medium to full-bodied, the palate is chock-full of ripe black and blue fruits, framed by velvety tannins and beautiful freshness, finishing long with lots of mineral and exotic spice layers. A very stylish Saint-Émilion! April 2021

THE WINE CELLAR INSIDER, JEFF LEVE

94
Loaded with licorice, chocolate, coffee bean and black fruits, the wine is fleshy, round, fruit-filled and finishes with lusciously textured, espresso, dark plums, licorice and even darker cocoa. The wine is a blend of 70% Merlot, 25% Cabernet Franc and 5% Cabernet Sauvignon. The harvest took place September 27 - October 24. April 2019.

94
Full-bodied, round, lush and polished, this richly textured wine is filled with espresso, dark chocolate, licorice, and dark red fruits. The wine is round, full of flesh and flash with an endless supply of dark chocolate and ripe fruits. The wine is a blend of 70% Merlot, 25% Cabernet Franc and 5% Cabernet Sauvignon. March 2021

THE WINE DOCTOR, CHRIS KISSACK

93-95
The vineyard is planted to 76% Merlot, 20% Cabernet Franc and 4% Cabernet Sauvignon. The harvest was very relaxed, beginning September 27th, early for Fleur Cardinale, and not finishing until October 24th, implying a stop-start approach here. Some parcels were revisited, to pick in two tries. The yield was 45 hl/ha, and the sorting included a Tribaie machine. The alcohol in the finished blend is declared as 14.5%. This is dark and perfumed, with grilled black plums, spiced with black pepper and soot, although it all feels a little restrained right now. The palate shows a very broad, glossy and modern texture, with not a hair out of place, all glossy black plums, damsons, liquorice and currants with a very pretty bed of ripe and velvety tannins lying beneath, along with a nice acid freshness. A broad style, textured and velvety, with a long, tannin-infused grip. This has surprisingly good potential. A very strong vintage for Fleur Cardinale, again a more modern style excelling within the boundaries of this vintage. The élevage here will be in a robustly confident 100% new oak. April 2019.

93
This is another estate on the move, having made dramatic improvements over the last ten or fifteen years, although here with a slightly more modern twist to the house style. This is a blend dominated by 76% Merlot, and the élevage was in 100% new oak, which the wine seems to have coped with rather well. The fruit on the nose seems true to the style of the barrel sample presented during the primeurs, dark with black plum, liquorice, soot and violets, but with a sense of freshness to it as well. This translates nicely onto the palate which has a richly polished texture, with blackcurrant and plum fruits, laced heavily with scents of liquorice, tar and a touch of sage, all underpinned by a luscious layer of velvety tannins. The impact is firm and full of intent, with a modern style admittedly, but lifted by some floral freshness, and overall it seems to work. March 2021

THE WINE ENTHUSIAST, ROGER VOSS

92-94
Ripe and juicy, this is a delicious wine with its fine tannins and acidity already in harmony. The structure of the wine is powerful with a dry core that will broaden out as the wine matures. April 2019.

93
The Decoster family, formerly producers of porcelain in Limoges, have given this estate considerable luster. This latest release shows a solid character, powered by dark tannins, hints of licorice and rich fruit. Cabernet Franc aromas shine through the jammy Merlot. Drink from 2025. January 2021

WINE CHRONICLES, PANOS KAKAVIATOS

92-94+
Planted to 75% Merlot, 25% Cabernet Franc and 5% Cabernet Sauvignon, this wine comes from a vineyard of 23.5 hectares. Deep violet color, and the nose is also dark fruit, preceded by a smooth tannin palate, a bit of “gloss”, perhaps, but overall fitting into that warm and huggy (not fuzzy) Saint Emilion feeling in 2018! Nice job! April 2019.

94
What a wonderful experience to taste this blend of 74% Merlot, 22% Cabernet Franc and the rest Cabernet Sauvignon! It clocks in at 14.5% alcohol but exudes fresh floral and ripe red and dark fruit aromatics that precede a palate both suave and dense, leading to a long finish. Excellent integration of oak tannin, and a healthy yield of 45 hectoliters per hectare. And the price? About $40 a bottle. Bravo! January 2021.

WINE SPECTATOR, JAMES MOLESWORTH

93-96
Offers lovely fruit, with exotic plum and boysenberry notes gliding along, carried by a very velvety structure. The long finish has a nice flow, showing a latent anise echo. Seems to be holding back a bit, but there's some serious depth of fruit here. April 2019.

93
Ripe and focused, with tasty red and black currant fruit flavors that have a racy edge, mixed with hints of anise, bramble and steeped dark tea developing through the finish. Very solid. Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon. Best from 2022 through 2034. March 2021