Château Tour du Haut-Moulin, Cru Bourgeois

Haut-Médoc, Bordeaux, France 1999 (1.5L)

Character
Fruit
Earth
Body
Tannin
Acid
Alcohol
While we were all wondering if Y2K would end the world in 1999, today’s wine was just beginning its journey, and after nearly 20 years of maturation in barrels and magnum bottles, we are excitedly sharing a small batch. For those seeking the best in mature Bordeaux, this region-defining offer from Château Tour du Haut Moulin is a certified titan. The wine performs like a serious ‘classified growth’ and immediately enters the discussion of SommSelect’s greatest-ever magnum (1.5-liter) value.

This is a highly aromatic and layered ‘Left Bank’ red that will smoke Bordeaux costing twice the price—and the magnum format, along with its lifelong storage at the winery, has preserved its terroir and fruit purity to perfection. Wedged between Margaux and Saint-Julien, with sandy/gravel soils planted to old-vine Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, Château Tour du Haut Moulin enjoys prime terroir, Cru Bourgeois status, and belongs to a fifth-generation family that has fully dedicated itself to crafting über-classic examples of what Bordeaux should be! Even still, there is so much life brimming in these larger formats; purchase a handful and pull the cork on special occasions for years to come! You can’t go wrong. Just act quickly, we don’t think this will last long...

[*NOTE: Due to the large format, 'Build-a-Case' is not available.]

Though the Haut-Médoc encompasses most of the major communes (from Saint-Estèphe to Margaux and everything in-between), Tour du Haut Moulin is in the geographically-centralized town of Cussac; Saint-Julien lies directly north and Margaux to the south. There aren’t any classified growths in the Central Médoc, but this is largely considered the epicenter for ‘Cru Bourgeois’ estates (and value). You’ll find a great number of châteaux holding this quality designation here, which is reviewed annually by an overseeing board that puts each member through a three-stage evaluation process for them to maintain the title.

Since 1870, five successive generations of the Poitou family have run this estate and its respective vineyards, and their hard work paid off when they were awarded Cru Bourgeois status. Despite recent renovations, their philosophies and the wine itself remain classic Bordeaux. Their grapes come from quarter-century-old vines situated on gravelly ridges just a few miles inland from the Gironde estuary. The Poitous follow organic principles and their crop is thinned out by hand before a manual harvest. At their winery in Cussac Fort Médoc, the juice fermented in concrete tanks and aged in 30% new French oak barrels for approximately 15 months. It was shipped to us directly from Bordeaux in December of 2018. 

The 1999 release of Château Tour du Haut Moulin exhibits a deep, dark garnet core that moves to brick orange hues on the rim. As expected, there will be some sediment if you don’t prepare the wine properly, so stand the bottle upright several days prior to consumption. Though it is perfect moments after pouring directly out of the bottle, I would recommend decanting this slowly, carefully eyeing the mass of sediment that will be present in the last few ounces. If choosing to decant, do your best to consume this over a two hour period—which isn’t hard to do amongst good company. Alternatively, double decant the wine. To do this, simply 1) decant the wine for sediment, 2) dump out the last bit of wine/sediment in the bottle, 3) clean out the bottle with filtered water, and 4) pour the wine back into the bottle to minimize oxygen exposure. This will allow the wine to drink well for many more hours since older wine can break down rather quickly if sitting in a decanter for long periods of time. 

When finally sticking your nose in the glass, you’ll encounter aromas that are picture-perfect representations of mature ‘Left Bank’ Bordeaux. It erupts with high toned notes of dried plums, damp roses, vintage leather, red and black currants, dried black cherry, tobacco leaf, and wet gravel that are accented by light touches of baking spice. On the palate, the wine is medium-plus bodied with ultra-soft layers of red/black fruit and spice that seamlessly blend with pillowy soft tannins. This wine is showing zero signs of tiring and has years of life ahead of it. At $65, this magnum is everything you can get out of two-decade-old Bordeaux and it will keep providing this high-flying pleasure for the next 5-7 years or more if stored properly. Although this large format is a treat in and of itself, try recreating the attached duck breast with wild mushrooms and a port sauce. Then, invite a few friends over, reveal both surprises, and dive in!
Print Tasting Notes
Country
France
Region
Bordeaux
Sub-Region
Haut-Médoc
Variety
Mostly Cabernet Sauvignon & Merlot w/ Petit Verdot
Alcohol
12.5%
Oak
~30% New French
Soil
Gravelly Sand
Farming
Organic Practices
Service Temperature
65ºF
Glassware
Bordeaux Stem
Drinking Window
Now-2025+
Decanting
Optional Double Decant