chateau tertre roteboeuf, saint-emilion grand cru 2020
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
Opaque purple-black in color, the 2020 Le Tertre Roteboeuf needs a little coaxing and patience to lure out captivating notes of wild blueberries, crushed black plums and juicy blackberries, followed by suggestions of red roses, dark chocolate, molten licorice and rich, red soil, with wafts of garrigue and cumin seed. The medium to full-bodied palate delivers decadently intense, exotic spice and mineral-accented black fruit flavors, supported by velvety tannins and seamless freshness, finishing very long and very perfumed. This is without doubt one of the most impactful, singular, nuanced 2020 barrel samples tasted.
This is a powerful, deeply focused and intense. Plenty of spice, cassis pastille, intense muscular tannins, fairly closed and austere right now, but a real sense of lift and juice becomes clear after 10 minutes of opening in the glass. Harvest began on September 21st, the earliest since Mitjavile arrived at the estate. Recently had the beautiful 1998 of Tertre Roteboeuf, and it is easy to see that this vintage also will allow the limestone terroir to become clearer with bottle age.
The 2020 Tertre-Rôteboeuf has exquisite purity on the nose, to the point where I could not decide whether the aromatics resembled a fine Romanée-Saint-Vivant or a Saint-Émilion. Maybe a mixture of the two? There are plush black cherries, cassis and vanilla, and creamy new oak but wonderfully integrated. The palate is medium-bodied with fine-grained tannins. This particular sample, from a half-bottle, did demonstrate quite a bit of wood tannin, especially on the finish, but that will be subsumed by the oak, and as my glass warmed up, it did become more enmeshed. I suspect this Tertre-Rôteboeuf will require more bottle aging than previous vintages.
One of the wines of the vintage will be the 2020 Château Tertre Roteboeuf, which has its classic exotic, boisterous, incredibly sexy personality front and center. Cassis, smoked meats, vanilla, graphite, white truffle, and a liqueur of rocks-like minerality are just some of the nuances here, and it hits the palate with full-bodied richness, incredibly purity, building tannins, and a blockbuster of a finish. I followed this barrel sample for just under a week and it never showed a hint of oxidation or fatigue. This cuvée always shows lots of oak (it’s brought up in 100% new barrels), especially in its youth, but it is incredibly well-integrated and largely disappears once at full maturity. Hide bottles for 7-8 years if you can, and it’s going to keep for 30 years or more.