It was a bittersweet end to our tour – when we woke up on our last day, it was rainy and gray, after a most glorious week of sun and unseasonable heat. The drizzle of rain was very reminiscent of home in Seattle, and we admit, we weren’t too excited to head back to that weather! But today we had something fun to look forward to – a tasting at the beautiful Chateau Soutard in St. Emilion, with a cooking class to follow which was booked at the recommendation of our tour operator.
Chateau Soutard is an impressive estate, quite large and imposing. It was one of the places that they said there were talks underway about opening the Chateau up as a hotel in the future, which seems it could be a good way to accommodate more tourism in these areas, while also better utilizing the estate properties that must be so expensive to keep up. Ch. Soutard was undergoing many renovations on the main estate while we were there, so we were not able to go inside the Chateau itself, which was a bit of a surprise and had us wondering – where exactly were we going to be cooking that day?
Our guide, Daniel, was very charming and enthusiastic, very much a student of wine making himself. Chateau Soutard began getting recognition for its St. Emilion wines in the middle of the 18th century. It was owned by the de Bogeron family from 1890 until 2006, which it was purchased by La Mondiale, the French insurance company, who also already owned Chateau Larmande and Chateau Grand Faurie. The new owners began renovations immediately to modernize the wine making facilities, constructing new gravity fed tanks and new cellers. Like many in the area, Chateau Soutard also employs Michel Rolland as a consulting winemaker.
Chateau Soutard’s vineyards are planted on limestone, clay and sand. Much of the limestone for building the estate was also taken from the surrounding areas. The vineyard has a typical blend for St. Emilion of 70% Merlot and 30% Cabernet Franc.
Here’s what we tasted:
2000 Laremande – Beautiful floral red fruit nose. Red fruit in the mouth, with some acidity and slightly dry tannins on a shorter finish. This wine was a little simple.
2010 Chateau Soutard – Darker, sweeter black fruit, good acidity and some fine tannins. Medium-full bodied, but with a surprisingly light fruity finish of medium length.
2006 La Grand Faurie La Rose – Dark, earthy, red-black fruit, rustic character, medium-bodied and medium length.
Following our tasting, we were ready to begin our cooking class at Chateau Soutard, which seemed a fitting way to wrap up our tour, since we started with a cooking class on our first day at Chateau Phelan Segur. Next up, Chef Philippe and his unconventional cooking methods…!