Bright red-garnet color with some translucence; cherry, plum, vanilla, cedar on the nose; red and black cherry, oak, pinch of pepper on the palate.
Dry, medium-full body, plush in the mouth, soft tannin, some tobacco and acidity come on during the finish. Very easy drinker with distinctive mellow merlot softness; 100% merlot.
Grande Sélection comes from a 40 acre plot of vines that are 30-plus years old; soil is gravel and pebbles. After crush, the must is cold-macerated on skins for five days. Fermentation occurs in temperature-controlled stainless steel tanks and lasts up to a month. In November, the wine is racked into Allier oak barriques, one-third new, remainder second and third use. Wine is in barrel for a year and held on the lees for the the first six months before racking. Micro-oxygenation smooths tannins and encourages richness of the cherry flavor.
The Château Penin estate has been family owned since 1854. For many years, production was both grapes and tree fruits. Sales of wine in bottle began with 1964 vintage. Fifth-generation owner Patrick Carteyron took over the estate in 1982 and set forth on effort to increase quality and turn production exclusively to grapes and wine. New vineyards were planted, new cellars were built, and general modernization has continued since, including adopting sustainable farming. The winery’s motto: “Working in accordance with the truths of our terroir while respecting our natural environment.”
Château Penin Grande Sélection Merlot 2012 is splendid value and superb example of Bordeaux merlot at this price point. $11
Other photos: Patrick Carteyron; Château Penin (2 views); Château Penin vineyard; Château Penin barrel room