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This beautiful wine from Fleur Cardinale performed great in its youth, both from barrel as well as post-bottling. A gorgeous blend of 70% Merlot, 20% Cabernet Franc and 10% Cabernet Sauvignon made by the Decoster family, the 2005 provides more evidence that this property is fully exploiting its tremendous potential. A few years away from reaching its plateau of maturity, its stunning nose of black cherry liqueur, cassis, licorice, earth and spice is followed by a full-bodied, concentrated and pure wine. Drink it over the next 15 or more years.Robert Parker | 94 RPThe 2005 Fleur Cardinale is packed with succulent red cherry, red plum, mint, blood orange, mocha and espresso. Sumptuous and bold, to the core, Fleur Cardinale is wonderfully immediate. Time in the glass really lets the wine shine. This is a rich, concentrated wine with a lot of oak, but one of the very best wines made in this style. It’s a terrific showing from the Decoster family.Vinous Media | 94 VMBeautiful aromas of black licorice, berry and vanilla follow through to a full body, with soft, velvety tannins and a long, caressing finish. Polished and very pretty. Incredibly well done for this estate. Best after 2016. 5,700 cases made.Wine Spectator | 93 WS
A blend of 75% Merlot and the balance Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon, this up-and-coming estate has fashioned an outstanding 2006. While not as prodigious as the 2005, it is an exceptional effort boasting a dense purple hue as well as sweet aromas of blueberries, dark raspberries, licorice, camphor, and pain grille. Full-bodied, powerful, and layered with impressive purity, texture, and length, this unfined and unfiltered wine should be at its finest between 2013-2022.Robert Parker | 91 RPFull ruby-red. High-pitched aromas of cassis, blackberry, violet, licorice and menthol. Intense, pure and sharply delineated, with a juicy, lively quality to the black fruit, violet and menthol flavors. Surprisingly dense and ripe for such a penetrating wine. Finishes with chewy, ripe tannins and lovely aromatic persistence. I’d give this three or four years in the cellar.Vinous Media | 91 VM
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!Robert Parker Wine Advocate | 94+ RPThe 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.Antonio Galloni | 94 AGThe 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.Jeb Dunnuck | 94 JDAn 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. A yield of 45l/ha. 100% new oak. (Drink between 2025-2045)Decanter | 94 DECBlackcurrant, 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.James Suckling | 94 JSRipe 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. 10,000 cases made, 2,500 cases imported.Wine Spectator | 93 WSThe 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.Wine Enthusiast | 93 WE
Really smoky, coffee bean aromas on the nose with ripe blackcurrants. Great texture and flavour here, it’s full of herbs and liquorice-tinged black fruits (cherries mainly) but really well integrated so that no one aspect sticks out. Tannins are super fine and smooth and the acidity is well balanced carrying the density of the fruit as well as the freshness. It’s a big shouldered wine there’s no question, power but also poise. Harmonious, charming and elegant. A very complete wine that is balanced with generous fruit, tannins, acidity and mineral freshness. Feels well handled and just excellently executed. Has a real purity to it with sculpting and refinement. Great stuff and still so juicy and appealing at the end. A top buy. (Drink between 2027-2045)Decanter | 95 DECBeautiful clarity of crushed red berries with dried flowers and sliced oyster mushrooms on the nose. Full-bodied with layers of ripe tannins and juicy fruit. Chocolate and walnut character comes through, together with hints of vanilla bean. Beautifully curated. 76% merlot, 20% cabernet franc and 4% cabernet sauvignon. Try after 2025.James Suckling | 95 JSThe 2019 Fleur Cardinale is a real head-turner. Lush and voluptuous in the glass, the 2019 offers up copious dark fruit, along with hints of chocolate, spice, new leather, menthol and licorice. There is no shortage or richness or lushness. While the 2019 is certainly a very, very good wine it is not quite as expressive as it was in barrel. Tasted two times.Antonio Galloni | 94 AGA consistently impressive Saint-Emilion, the 2019 Château Fleur Cardinale shows the vintage beautifully, with a medium to full-bodied, elegant style as well as classic darker cherry and mulberry fruits, notes of dried herbs, loamy earth, and incense, supple yet present tannins, and a great finish. It’s one classy, balanced 2019 to drink over the coming two decades.Jeb Dunnuck | 94 JDThe 2019 Fleur Cardinale derives from a late-ripening site on the north-facing side of Saint-Émilion’s limestone plateau. Revealing aromas of jammy cherries, spices, dark chocolate and mocha, it’s full-bodied, broad and velvety, with powdery tannins and a generous core of lively fruit, concluding with a chalky finish. This is a fleshy, front-loaded wine in a contemporary style that will please consumers who favor power and richness, but which will leave purists wondering if less might be more.Robert Parker Wine Advocate | 92 RPRichly textured, with currant and fig paste notes rolling through slowly, laced liberally with humus, alder and tobacco. A touch burly, but the fruit has an unctuous hint as a counterbalance. This is for fans of the bigger style. Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon. Best from 2024 through 2037. 8,750 cases made, 3,000 cases imported.Wine Spectator | 92 WSA rich and smoothly textured wine, this is juicy with black currant fruits and ripe tannins. It has weight and plenty of dense fruit flavors along with tannins that have a fine potential for softening. Wine Enthusiast | 91 WE
Attractive aromas of blueberries and mulberries with graphite, dark licorice and crushed stones. Dark chocolate, too. Full-bodied. Impressive quality to the tannin structure that starts gently and glossy and continues to build, gaining power throughout the palate. Deep and dense with a velvety dark-fruited core. Really long, tense and persistent. 77% merlot, 18% cabernet franc and 5% cabernet sauvignon. Try after 2026.James Suckling | 96 JSComposed of 77% Merlot, 18% Cabernet Franc and 5% Cabernet Sauvignon, with an alcohol of 14.5% and a pH of 3.57, the deep purple-black colored 2020 Fleur Cardinale bursts from the glass with powerful notes of crushed blackberries, stewed black plums and Morello cherries, plus suggestions of star anise, pencil shavings and black truffles. The medium to full-bodied palate is chock-full of softly textured, juicy black fruits, countered by fantastic tension, finishing with great length and loads of earthy layers.Robert Parker Wine Advocate | 93-95+ RPSupple and utterly charming, with a juicy core, fine tannins and chalky edges. This is quite reserved still, not showing its full width but I love the detail and precision of the elements. Feels sleek and well made, dark and brooding, concentrated and ripe, with liquorice and clove showing the oak but there’s a refinement in the texture and overall weight. It’s broad shouldered but with a charming core. Clean and confident. It’s potent with layers of flavour and texture, but structured and presented very well. Impressive.Decanter | 94 DECThe 2020 Fleur Cardinale is packed with dark fruit, chocolate, new leather, menthol and generous sweet oak. The 2020 has gained in body and complexity with élevage, exactly what is supposed to happen over time. Moreover, the 2020 has plenty of energy to balance its more exuberant leanings.Vinous Media | 93 VMA solid step up, the Grand Vin 2020 Château Fleur Cardinale checks in as 77% Merlot, 18% Cabernet Franc and 5% Cabernet Sauvignon. This 22.5-hectare estate has been in the Decoster family since 2000 and consists of mostly clay over limestone soils and is located in the Saint-Etienne de Lisse region of Saint-Emilion. From healthy yields of 43 hectoliters per hectare, with malolactic fermentation in tank followed by 13 months in 90% new French oak, it has a juicy, pure, medium to full-bodied style that shows the classic, elegant style of the vintage beautifully. Offering lots of cassis-like fruit, notes of truffly earth, spring flowers, and violets, well-integrated acidity and tannins, and just a beautifully balanced mouthfeel, it’s going to benefit from just 2-4 years of bottle age and will evolve nicely through 2040. It’s another beautiful wine from this estate.Jeb Dunnuck | 93 JD
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