Regarded as one of the true rising stars of Pomerol and the right bank, Charlotte Krajewski, daughter of owner Martin Krajewski, has overseen winemaking at the Chateau Seraphine property since 2017 as the Technical Director and Chief Wine Maker after previously travelling and working extensively in France, Australia, USA and more latterly New Zealand in Hawkes Bay.
Their vineyards have an overall surface of 2.2 hectares but is split into two parcels of vines. At Plince they have one hectare of vines situated on a well-draining slope of sandy topsoil over clay and deep gravels and 0.4ha of this plot was replanted with Cabernet Franc in April 2017 at 8000 vines per/ha. The second block at Mazeyres is 1.2ha and is also laid out in two distinct sections. The first part consists of a raised deposit of deep gravels on 0.6ha and is planted with old Merlot vines. The second part sits on a gently sloping 0.6ha and is a patchwork of shallow sandy soils over gravels and blue clay (smectite) and was replanted with Merlot in April 2017 at 8,000 plants per/h.
The growing year started slowly but was followed by a series of heat waves, a drought and heavy rain in late September although Seraphine also enjoyed an almost endless dry summer that led to a very fine harvest. During the 2019 growing year Seraphine decided to maintain a slightly higher density canopy and so did only a light leaf-thinning in the early season on the side of the rising sun. Then in early August they also did a green harvest to adjust the crop size and to take pressure off the vines after the long warm summer.
In the winery, the harvested fruit was carefully loaded from small baskets onto a first-sorting table and then de-stemmed using their precision CUBE system followed by a berry hand-sorting table and a gentle crushing before arriving in the fermentation tanks by gravity. The average yield was approximately 35hl/ha for the older vines although not all of the fruit went into the Grand Vin, and 25hl/ha for the younger vines, which was used exclusively for the ‘second’ wine.
Chateau Seraphine L’ Innocence de Seraphine 2019, Pomerol, 14% Abv.
Surely the expectations for a premium 100% Merlot Pomerol from a top vintage like 2019 will be high and this second wine certainly does not disappoint. The aromatics are accessible, rich, broad and expressive with high toned notes of violets and lilac over hints of tilled loamy earth, wet clay, earthy black plum, burnt wood embers, bitter black chocolate, dried coconut flakes and bruleed coffee beans. The palate is equally inviting with soft, spicy, pithy layers of chocolatey black berry fruits, dusty graphite, vanilla pod, black tea, stewed cherries and exotic baking spices. The tannins are classically mineral and piquant offering structural support to the supple dark berry fruits ensuring serious drinking pleasure for true Bordeaux connoisseurs. Drink this now or cellar comfortably for another 5 to 8+ years.
(Wine Safari Score: 93+/100 Greg Sherwood MW)
This wine is available in the UK at £59.99pb from Museum Wines.
4 thoughts on “Exploring Bordeaux Second Wines – Part 13: Chateau Seraphine L’ Innocence de Seraphine 2019 from Pomerol…”
Love to read of second wines when they are made to be equally as special. Here in SA, I think of Seriously Old Dirt, and Raats Red Blend, when they are not happy for it to be MR. In France, is there a better example of the “batard” than Les Fort de Latour, often, in my opinion, very nearly the first!
Indeed, France or more specifically Bordeaux, is a funny one because all sorts of top barrels and even Grand Vin can end up in second wines though mostly it’s less ideal plots, young vines or blend off cuts. Actually, as I learnt in my Petit Ducru write up, Forts de Latour, La Croix de Beaucaillou and Clos du Marquis are all specific single site wines, not blends or even second wines… coming from the same grapes / plots every year. But offer excellent value nevertheless and are certainly “second labels” if not technically second wines.
I enjoyed a tasting at Latour in the early 90s, with Frederic Engerer. This was before going to see my beloved Aston Villa play his Bordeaux team, of which he was a director. We were a party of five, hosted by John Armit, and it would be kind to say my palette was the least “uneducated”. I expressed a preference for the La Fort against the Latour to be accompanied by sniggers, however, off piste, Frederic said he thought it was one shared by many!
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The good old days when we could afford Latour! 😉