The Château Martinat is comprised of 80% Merlot and 20% Malbec, fermented in thermoregulated concrete tanks, and matured for fourteen months in a mix of new and used barrels. In the glass, the wine has a glistening dark purple color, almost black in the center, with flashes of bright ruby at the edge. The classic Right Bank nose gradually unfurls with aromas of ripe black currants and griotte cherries, lightly seasoned with nutmeg, dark cocoa, and a fleeting suggestion of black licorice and roasted chestnuts. On entry the wine is earthy and rich, building to a meaty, lingering, rich mid-palate, loaded with a cornucopia of sinewy black and red fruit that echoes the nose; all seasoned with star anise, black tea, and bittersweet chocolate shavings, and framed in ripe, fine grained, velvety tannins. Almost Napa-like in concentration and texture, with dusty minerality and fresh Right Bank acidity that carries the flavors through a long, elegant finish. Drink now–2030.
About this wine producer: Château Martinat would almost certainly be just one more run-down, over-cropped vineyard with tremendous potential, had Stéphane and Lucie Donze not left their high-powered careers in Paris, and purchased the estate in 1991. There are ten hectares (about twenty-five acres) of forty to fifty-year-old vines, planted on a gentle, south-southwest facing slope of clay-limestone above the village of Lansac. Vineyard management is entirely natural, with manual de-leafing and green harvest. The grapes are fermented in thermoregulated concrete tanks, with malolactic fermentation and aging for fourteen months in one and two-year-old barrels.