The Tour Bayard was the favorite value-priced wine of the All French Tasting. Tom made a great call on showing this wine. It was outstanding.
Château Tour Bayard is a recent addition to the Milhade portfolio, coming into the family through marriage. This 25 acre property in the St.-Émilion Satellite Montagne-St.-Émilion has been run by the Richard family since 1956, and is now regarded as one of the top estates in the appellation.
The soils here are a mix of clay and limestone marl, and the vineyard is planted in a beautifully situated natural amphitheater with an ideal southerly exposure. Merlot is the predominant variety, accounting for 80% of the vignoble, complemented by Cabernet Franc and Malbec; the vines are about 40 years old on average. The Richard family works the soils organically, eschewing pesticides and other chemical treatments. The Malbec is generally bottled as a separate cuvée.
At harvest, the grapes are 100% destemmed and crushed before being placed in temperature controlled vats. Each parcel on the estate is vinified separately, and the wine is raised for 12 months in a combination of cement tanks (60%) and new and second fill barrels (20% each). The finished wine is supple and full-bodied, with excellent ripeness, and refined aromatics from the Cabernet Franc. The wine is then aged in a combination of cement vats and first and second use barriques for 12 months.
The nose is fruity, aromatic and offers complexity as well as concentration. It reveals notes of Boysenberry, bright blueberry and more lightly crushed wild strawberries associated with fine touches of paprika, tonka bean, Bourbon vanilla as well as a discreet hint of pepper.
The palate is fruity, balanced and offers juiciness, minerality, an acidulous frame, a certain gourmandize, suavity, a nice freshness as well as a small concentration. On the palate this wine expresses notes of bright blackberry, crushed blueberry and more slightly raspberry associated with small touches of blue berries, violets, chocolate as well as a hint of Bourbon vanilla and caramelization / toasted hazelnut. Tannins are elegant and well-rounded. Good length.