Chateau Fourcas Hosten 2005, Listrac, Medoc, Bordeaux

[dropcap]T[/dropcap]his Chateau is located to the west of Margaux where heavier soils predominate. An interesting history attaches itself to Chateau Fourcas Hosten – a recent predecessor was an astute French-American syndicate, whilst the latest acquisition in 2006 by Laurent and Renaud Momméja brings a high-end fashion background to the estate. The Momméja brothers however assert the Chateau is a private asset resisting influence from the international fashion house Hermès. Though I’m being presumptuous, having a successful duo funding the operation cannot be such a bad thing. Extensive renovations were carried out in 2008 alongside the purchase of modern winery equipment.

A total of 47 hectares comprise the vineyard property – 22% of which is planted with Merlot in the clay / limestone soils, while 23% Cabernet Sauvignon and 2% Cabernet Franc are embedded in a soil profile of clay, limestone and gravel. The grand vin is Chateau Fourcas-Hosten, and as I am a particular fan of Margaux it was with pleasure and interest that I appreciated the last vintage of Chateau Fourcas-Hosten led by Peter Sichel of the French-American syndicate at a restaurant in New York.

Chateau Fourcas Hosten 2005

20,000 cases produced on average with 12 months oak aging. The 2005 vintage was an exceptional one, excellent weather conditions and a warm, dry harvest. This is a 50/50 Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot split, and I’m struck instantly with beautiful plum characters and definite Cabernet fruit – particularly currant and blackberry. Some nice gamey Merlot aromas and appealing methoxy-pyrozines resound. I get the minutest touch of 4-eg Brett (in the form of clove), but because it is a blend of robust varieties (that is, Bordeaux varieties), the aroma profile is not detrimentally affected. Some lovely smokey, toasty notes from the oak – 33% of this is new.

Cabernet tannins predominate on the palate giving a firm, tight structure though the Merlot should manage the task of softening this out over time. This is a young wine, but it will inevitably age well. The length and balance is there and should remain so. A superb match with a decent quality cut of beef from your local butcher, cooked lovingly on the barbecue – the resting time (for both meat and wine) is essential!

Buon appetite!

89 points