Château La Fleur Morange
Classification: Grand Cru Classe
Château la Fleur Morange is a boutique wine in Saint-Pey-D'Armens made by Véronique and Jean-François Julien that is receiving high acclaim from wine critics across the globe. This chateau has recently been promoted to Grand Cru Classe status in the new Saint Emilion Classification of 2012 - a remarkable achievement for a small chateau that has only been producing wines for a decade and a half!
The vineyard is a 4 acre plot of unique soil with the added rarity of having100 year old vines. The soil is sand and clay layers over limestone and clinker sub soil – the only complex mixture known to exist in Saint Emilion – which Jean-François says contributes to the finesse of the tannins.
Jean-François has the reputation of being a perfectionist. He was a skilful cabinet maker by trade until he married Véronique, whose parents were wine makers. Jean-François became interested in wine making himself and painstakingly investigated the terroir around him, analysing those that he thought had great potential. There is an old carpenter's saying: “Measure twice and cut once” and this applies to Jean-François. His absolute attention to detail – no matter how small – has enabled him to make great wine.
The winery at Château la Fleur Morange has been designed specially with unique temperature controlled vats which eliminate cold spots. The barrels are installed on a balcony in the chai high above the ground where malo-lactic fermentation can take place naturally. Jean-François says that he did this as "we found that the heat was more favourable, more natural, and more consistent at this level of the chai.” The wine is aged for 18 months in the barrels which Jean-François takes a keen interest in. He believes that the skill of the coopers reflects the spirit of tradition and quality which are the hallmark of Château la Fleur Morange.
The chateau's vineyards are planted with 70% Merlot, 15% Cabernet Franc and 15% Cabernet Sauvignon grapes. This represents the same percentages in the grapes used to blend all the vintages with the exception of the 2001 where a blend of 50% Merlot and 50% Cabernet Franc were used. The Merlot and Cabernet Franc vines are 100 years old and the Cabernet Sauvignon vines are 75 years old.
Well aware that the little vineyard's vines would not live forever Jean-François has propagated descendants. Both Jean-François and Véronique spent months selecting shoots of the old vines which their local nursery transplanted to create new grape vines. This was done to preserve the heritage of the grapes – as Jean-François explains it "is to save and conserve a real plant and genetic heritage more than a century old. And to preserve the vineyard that has given so far the particular characteristics of my wine." This approach is shared by a few very large and prestigious winemakers (Châteaux Haut Brion, Ausone, Cheval Blanc and Yquem). The heirs of the merlots are now producing wine themselves.
The wines of Château la Fleur Morange are full bodied and fruit driven, impressively structured and sophisticated. They are a deep dark crimson purple with notes of raspberries, liquorice, blackcurrants, smoke and earth. They age well and should be cellared to allow the wine to develop further in the bottle.
Owner: Jean-François and Véronique Julien
Château Website: www.chateaulafleurmorange.com
Oenologist: Claude Gros / Jean-François Julien