Sometimes good things come out of nowhere when you least expect them. In 2005 I received a box from France with two sample bottles of wine and a letter from Valérie Féret. She gave a short description of Château Féret-Lambert. We tasted the wine and liked the whole concept of place, people and wine. The first order arrived that fall and Féret-Lambert has been a staple at ABC ever since. During my next visit to Bordeaux I went to see the family and the connection was instant. I was welcomed by Valérie, her husband, Henri, and her brother, Olivier Sulzer. They were and still are young and enthusiastic and eager to show what makes the property unique and exceptional. The vineyard is at the town of Grézillac just across the Dordogne River from St. Émilion, and the soil is the same as the soil on the côte of St. Émilion, a deep chalk and limestone deposit of former sea bed. This is the ideal terroir for Merlot and the 13-hectare vineyard is planted in 90% Merlot with 10% Cabernet Sauvignon.
We took a walk down to the cellar under the vineyard. It was carved out of the limestone for stone for the buildings of Bordeaux, Libourne and St. Émilion. The temperature is constant and cool and the wine ages in barrels in perfect conditions. The barrels are all French oak with 1/3 new each year.
This is one of the best values in Bordeaux. The vineyard is planted on a deep deposit of limestone like the one across the Dordogne River in St. Émilion. It’s 90% Merlot and 10% Cabernet Sauvignon. The 2012 opens with bright ruby color leading to notes of plum, currant and a hint of cedar carried on a medium framework. $18.99
Olivier and Henri are the winemakers at Féret-Lambert but on the first visit, Olivier told me he had a château of his own. Château La Bonnelle is in St. Émilion and is rated Grand Cru. I liked the wine right away and made the first buy in 2006. The vineyard is 13 hectares planted in 80% Merlot and 20% Cabernet Franc. 10 of the 13 hectares of vines are over 40 years of age. The wine is aged in French oak of which 1/3 is new each year. This has been a consistent favorite at ABC for a decade now and one of the best values in St. Émilion.
Amazingly, the great 2010 vintage is still in stock. The vineyard is 80% Merlot and 20% Cabernet Franc planted on clay and sandy soil. This wine always shows its richness with plum and currant notes and a hint of graphite. $24.99
Brad Lewis, Contributing Write & Wine Expert