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Château Talbot
There is much talk these days about the benefits of getting out of your comfort zone. Taking the plunge is great: it focuses the mind and sharpens the brain, stimulates creativity and ultimately makes you a better person. But there is much to be said for dependability too. Stability, tradition and reliability are all too often overlooked in our modern, mindful times. Which is why we love Chateau Talbot so much - it’s what we call in the industry a sure thing.
Four is the magic number
Chateau Talbot is a rarity in Bordeaux. Just four families have owned the behemoth 110-hectare estate since its inception in the mid-15th century. The name Talbot comes from English nobleman John Talbot, first Earl of Shrewsbury and Governor of Guyane who actually never lived on the property. Talbot fell at the battle of Castillon in 1453 which not only ended the English control of Aquitaine but propelled Chateau Talbot into the limelight. It was then sold to the Marquis of Auxunder, under whose streerage the wine appeared on the first Cocks & Féret lists in 1846. Fourth growth classification was granted in 1855. The estate was sold to Monsieur A. Claverie in 1899, before being acquired by Désiré Cordier in 1917. The Cordiers remain the current owners, having recently celebrated their centenary at the Talbot helm.
A sure thing
As one of Medoc’s oldest estates, Talbot is a benchmark. It is known throughout St. Julien as producing a consistent product that not only ages beautifully (their website refers to the first wine as being a “champion of longevity”) but gives a lot of bang for its buck. “For many, Talbot embodies the ideal Saint Julien, a generous bouquet, extremely stable and dependable during aging”, says Bettane and Desseauve in their Guide to French Wines.
Talbot in the 21st century
However, you would be a fool for thinking that the Cordiers rely on Chateau Talbot’s heritage. Au contraire, Talbot is very much a modern era wine. In 2006 they brought in the help of Jean-Pierre Marty as General Manager of the estate (replaced by Jean-Michel Laporte in 2018). Two consultants, Stephane Derenoncourt and Eric Boissenot, soon followed. The Derenoncourt / Boissenot pairing might seem unusual to some, however, there is no doubt that vintages have been getting much better since the atypical duo have been on board.
Notable facts and vintages
  • Unsurprisingly, Talbot wines have immense investable appeal. There is direct correlation between price and age, making even recent vintages look of good value for the long-term buyer. There has been increased growth over the past 24 months (Q4 2020).
  • 2017s vintage scored well - 91/100 on aggregate scoring, despite “only” getting 90/100 by Jane Anson of Decanter. 2016s offering scored higher - 93/100 on aggregate. Both have a whopping drinkability window of up to 2048 (2017) and 2035 (2016).
  • The vineyard also produces a superb second wine, Connetable Talbot, as well as a much lauded white, Caillou Blanc. The grapes for Caillou Blanc are planted to one of the oldest plots of white wine grapes in the Médoc.