The largest estate in St Emillion, Laroque has been in the Beaumartin family since 1935, but has been completely revitalised and garnered a cult following in the last decade.
The vineyards were originally put down in the 18th Century, with the current vines planted in the 1960s. David Suire has taken in the mantle of winemaker with aplomb - his most recent releases being consistently excellent. The property also produces fruit for wines sold as Chateau Peymouton and the estate’s second wine Les Tours de Laroque.
"Medium deep colour. An intensely aromatic wine with dark plum, elderberry liquorice aromas. A generous fleshy, yet vigorous palate with attractive juicy ripe fruits, firm touch bitter tannins and underlying savoury oak. Finishes chalky firm with inky notes. Everything seemingly in balance. David Suire is making impactful wine at this estate. Definitely worth seeking out. Tasted at Crus et Domaines."
94 points - Andrew Caillard MW
"A very long and intense red with blackberries, blueberries and blackcurrants on the nose. Medium to full body, firm and silky tannins and a long finish. Hard to see this being as superb as the 2015 but it’s all there."
93-94 points - James Suckling
"The 2016 Laroque offers attractive dark berry fruit on the nose, a hint of tea leaf infusing the blackberry and raspberry fruit. I admire the definition in situ - quite refined and certainly very focused. The palate is medium-bodied with a ripe black cherry and boysenberry driven entry. The warmth of the summer comes through towards its second half, whereupon it just loses a touch of precision, but otherwise this is a commendable Saint Emilion from the large estate towards St Christophe des Bardes."
90-92 points - Neal Martin
St.-Émilion is the star of Bordeaux’s Right Bank, north of the Dordogne River. The rich red wines produced in St.-Émilion, based on Merlot and Cabernet Franc, are less tannic and generally more fruit-driven in flavour than the Cabernet-based wines of Left Bank. Merlot thrives on the plateaus high above the Dordogne, where the soil is filled with sand and clay, a perfect medium for creating opulent, fruit-forward wines. With a typically savoury character, St.-Émilion wines are sometimes called the “Burgundies of Bordeaux.” These refined reds, with loads of finesse, are elegant companions to beef, chicken, pork and duck.
The wines of St.-Émilion were not included in the famous 1855 classification of Bordeaux, which ranked wines of the Left Bank. In 1955, St.-Émilion published its own classification, based on soil analysis, wine quality and reputation of the properties. Unlike the 1855 classification, St.-Emilion’s system requires properties to continuously prove themselves. The list is revised regularly, most recently in 2012. There are two tiers within the classification, Premier Grand Cru Classé and Grand Cru Classé. There are currently just 18 Premier Grand Cru properties and 64 Grand Cru Classé properties.
The St.-Émilion appellation is home to hundreds of individual producers, enhancing the variety of wines made there. Many of the properties remain small, family-run enterprises, unlike the large châteaux of the Left Bank. The area is also the base of France’s controversial micro-châteaux or garagiste wine movement; these innovative winemakers operate outside the traditional classification system, making very high quality (and very expensive) highly extracted wines.