If you’ve been watching my videos for long, you know that I like to mix things up! Along with little lessons on how to be a better wine-taster, I’ve also talked about my favorite wineries to visit, political issues like the recent French wine tariffs, and various other topics that I think all my wine-curious viewers would find interesting! Today I want to focus on a winemaker that I really respect in the hopes that you’ll try out some of their amazing wine.
If you haven’t heard about Mitjavile Estates, it’s because it’s a best-kept secret of the French! I guess that makes it a French-kept secret? Yes, let’s go with that! The winery is on the right bank of Bordeaux and, until about two years ago, their wines were mostly sold and kept in the cellars of French wine connoisseurs and rarely seen in the US market. Now, however, these wines are making big waves in the states and, if you like Bordeaux, you need to keep these guys on your radar!
Who’s Behind Mitjavile Estates?
Francois Mitjavile started the estates in 1961 and is now joined by his children Nina and Loulou. They now oversee a total of four estates on the right bank: Tertre Roteboeuf (Saint-Emilion Grand Cru), Roc de Cambes (Cotes de Bourg), Domaine de Cambes (Bordeaux Superieur) and the newest project, L’aurage (Castillon Cotes de Bordeaux).
In France, their flagship winery Tertre Roteboeuf is talked about in the same sentence as Cheval Blanc and Pavie and is often referred to as a value compatible choice to those highly sought-after wines.
What Makes Them Unique?
Terroir (the complete natural environment in which a particular wine is produced) definitely matters when it comes to the quality of wine and there’s no denying that Tertre Roteboeuf’s location on the right bank of Bordeaux is unique. The winery is located on a mere 5.7 hectares of vineyard and their total production is around 2000 cases per year. Out of this, only a tiny amount (400 bottles) are imported into the US, making this a total find if you can get your hands on a bottle!
I also love that Francois is outspoken about not following trends when it comes to winemaking. He scoffs at the fact that so many winemakers take their eye off the ball and switch to whatever wine-making trends are making headlines. He states that his team does their research and follows best practices and traditions rather than copying what everyone else is doing.
So what’s up with the name, you might ask? Tertre means small hill and Roteboeuf roughly translates to ‘beef’ or cow. The story goes that the slope of the hills on their property is so steep, even the cows have problems climbing it! Pretty cool, huh?
Let’s Get to the Wine!
Enough about the winery, let’s get to the wine! It’s made up of 85% Merlot and 15% Cabernet Franc and Francois states that the wine they produce is a true reflection of the vintage every year and that he’s committed to making a wine that can be enjoyed NOW. That’s my kind of guy!
The wine has aromas of black and red currant and, when sipped, delicately develops into a celebration of velvety tannins. This is a wine to be sipped and enjoyed. If you go after it too directly, you may find it a little overwhelming. But if you treat it with care, it will reward you with an amazingly well-rounded tasting experience.
Why Do I Love Them?
I am amazed by the attention to detail that is put into these wines. I had the honor of meeting Loulou over lunch during his most recent visit to the United States and tasting some of their recent wines and I just loved how passionate he was about the process. Though I’ve tasted (and loved) their wines before, I’ve hesitated in the past to promote them because of three (rather silly) reasons:
- The name is really hard to pronounce so I thought no one would want to buy it.
- It’s still too new for the US market.
- Nobody drinks Merlot thanks to that Sideways move (poor Merlot has been trying to recover from that blow for 15 years!).
This wine has been near and dear to my heart since I was in Bordeaux with 16 of my clients earlier this year. We were walking around in the town of St. Emilion, which is an incredibly tiny town with the most wine stores per capita. There were all these eager merchants offering us tastes of Bordeaux that were produced in small batches and only sold locally. Now, when I tasted them, I saw why they weren’t exported to the US. However, when I tasted the 2015 Chateau Martet Reserve de la Familie, Sainte-Foy-Bordeaux, it blew me away! It was so delicious and tasted like a $150 bottle of wine. After doing some investigating, I found out it was another project by Louis Mitjavile! This guy is truly amazing and I knew I had to get over my own limiting beliefs and promote these wines.
So there you have it! If you like Bordeaux, I highly recommend those from Louis Mitjavile and especially those from Tertre Roteboeuf. Have more questions about wines from their estates? Please leave it below and I’d love to continue the conversation! As always, if you liked this video, please hit that like button and share with all your friends who want to learn more about wine. Until next time, drink responsibly and enjoyable. Cheers!